Explore Dinosaur Tracks in Leander
Texas › South Fork San Gabriel River
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.
- Water shoes
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Chillin, Hiking, Photography
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
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!
Awesome, But Wrong Place To Park
This was awesome but this was not really the best place to park. It was covered with no parking and no trespassing signs. On the north side of the river between the two freeway sides you can get under the freeway and park there. Then you can cross the river which seemed quite low when I was there.
More Adventures Nearby
Hike the Upper Sunset Trail at Franklin Mountains SP
Texas / Upper Sunset Trailhead
The trick to this view is that the park gate closes at 5 pm. Therefore you have two options: Park at the entrance of the park (outside of the gate) and hike into the park.
Hike to North Franklin Peak
Texas / Franklin Mountain Peak Trailhead
El Paso is a sprawling city that is remarkably split by the Franklin Mountains.