Explore Dinosaur Tracks in Leander

1 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Brooke Simmons

Exploring these Tracks in Leader is a great family adventure with little-to-no crowds. Enjoy the beautiful scenery hiking the river bed.

About a half mile west from the Hwy 183 bridge that crosses the South Fork of the San Gabriel River lies approximately 12 dinosaur footprints embedded in the river bed. Not many people know about the dinosaur tracks just northwest of Austin in Leander, Texas. This is not a marked trail, there are no fences and no signs which makes the experience feel more magical.

To find the tracks, use GPS or a map and search for where the South San Gabriel River crosses Hwy 183 just north of Leander. The exact address, 601 S. Gabriel Dr, Leander, Texas 78641 will lead you the parking area but not the tracks. You will need to hike the river bed to find the tracks. We parked in a small grassy lot in front of a fenced off electrical maintenance area and followed a well beaten foot path down to the river and under the highway. Once you get to the riverbed, head west. The tracks are about half a mile west of Hwy 183. Tip: if you look back and can still see the bridge, you haven’t gone far enough. The tracks will be located on the left side of the river bank.

Scientist believe the 3 toed tracks belonged to a carnivorous dinosaur and the round circular tracks belonged to a large herbivore. Some of the more defined tracks have circles around them where people have tried to excavate the footprints.

The water levels vary depending on the time of year which means the best time to locate the tracks is when water levels are low. Keep in mind, this is not a maintained park. You will not find designated parking or restrooms so pack accordingly. Texas is prone to flash floods so if it starts to drizzle or rain, turn around, don’t drown.

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Tags

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Family Friendly
River
Scenic

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River info

I've been hiking this part of the river for almost 30 years. Kaylen White, sorry that it wasn't up to your standards but this is a river bed off of a highway, not established as a park. There is a trail but it's overgrown most of the time. This is not a place for folks that expect an easy trek, park benches, etc. I've been parking my car under the 183 overpass for years and years, never have had any problems. And as far as homeless people...Williamson County does not tolerate homeless and will remove them immediately. I have never seen a homeless person in all the years that I've hiked there. I have seen some drunk people but it's a river on the outskirts of the city and a lot of people do go down there to drink and hang out. I've always found that the earlier you go, the better. The dinosaur tracks are very cool. It is a hike to get there, they are not just right off of 183. You can always park in the subdivision off of Green Valley Dr. There is a cul-de-sac on Skyview Terr where you can park and then walk down some stairs to the river. They are kind of steep but I see people coming down from there quite often. I personally love it. There have been many changes in the course of the river over the years from flooding. The one thing that really annoys me is people trying to build dams. The only way this river will hold water is if you build a dam the entire width of the river and at least 5 feet high. It IS a river, not a lake. I've knocked down several dams to let the water flow because when it's not flowing, it becomes stagnant up stream. And the trash....humans just don't care about anything anymore. They bring all kinds of stuff down and then leave their crap, empty bottles, cans, food wrappers, baggies and the ultimate, dirty diapers. I carry a bunch of trash bags with me when my dog and I hike the river and always come back with at least 5 bags of trash. Seriously. It's absolutely disgusting that people don't appreciate the beauty of nature and feel the need to trash it up. I've been there when people have come to look at the tracks and will take them there because they thought the tracks were right off of 183. I have heard that Williamson County is considering a park that will create trails along the river, so maybe people who don't like to rough it will enjoy that when it's completed, if they do anything. :)

Awesome easy adventure!

I parked on the side of South Gabriel, near the electrical maintenance area, and the parking did feel a little weird, but I didn't get ticketed or anything there. The footpath is well worn, and the three-towed tracks are very well defined! The tracks are on the low level of rock on the south side of the river. You will walk past 4 houses up on top of the cliff, and see cement stairs along the left side of the bank when you get to the tracks. The tracks are amazing and well defined, I totally recommend checking this place out!

Not Worth It.

We drove an hour to get here and first off there’s no parking you’re just supposed to leave your car off the side of 183. Second, you have to go under the underpass where it’s clear people come to drink/homeless people live. Was excited to show my daughter the tracks but it was so sketchy we turned around after just getting to the bridge.

Fun, Easy, and Found the Tracks!

My son met us for family time together in May, after it had been raining quite a bit. The 3 toed tracks were easy to spot, although the deeper running water made the round ones disappear. It was a beautiful walk up the river and lots of fun to actually find the tracks. Then we headed for Leander and had a great lunch before parting ways. Loved the excuse to hav my son join us for an afternoon together.

Easiest To See When River Is Low

This is a really fun little hike. I have taken my four young children (7, 6, 3, 19 months) twice. Spring of 2015 was the best and we had no trouble finding the tracks. The water was still pretty low because of the drought. This year we went in April and the water was a lot higher, with more sediment from recent rain. It was deep enough that my toddlers couldn't go in the water unless they were swimming. We couldn't find the tracks that time. Just take note of the water level before you go - you'll have better luck finding them when it's low. But it's still a fun adventure, either way!

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