Date: January 6, 2018
Location: Dinosaur Valley State Park - Glen Rose, TX
Distance: 9.55 miles
Trails: Cedar Brake Outer Loop, Paluxy River
I arrived at the park early, before the staff arrived, and checked in. I left home in shorts, because it was nearly 40 degrees at home, but it was only 25 at the park so I had to change into the pants I brought along. I was the only car in the parking lot upon arrive, and was one of ten when I left. The crowds for this park don't usually show up until about 8-9 am, making early morning hikes fairly quiet and peaceful. I made it 7.5 miles in before seeing anyone, but then it was more people than I could count. For the first hike of the year, I wanted to "go big" with a longer hike. I visited this park four times last year and did the same few trails each visit so this hike was also about exploring a part of the park I hadn't hiked in 2017. Seeing new-to-me trails and the furthest corners of the park boundaries satisfied the need for a little adventure within.
I spent the majority of this hike reflecting on the hikes of 2017 and warming my hands. Like an idiot, I didn't really plan well for the temperatures, despite my constant preaching of preparedness. Halfway through the hike, I remembered having gloves in my pack and that was a great relief. As I warmed my hands, I pondered what worked well last year and what I need to adjust to make the 2018 hikes even better. Dinosaur Valley is becoming my new go-to park simply because I love the terrain and proximity to my family's home - can accomplish a visit and get a hike in. All in all, it was a challenging and robust start to my hikes for 2018.
Dinosaur Valley State Park Tidbits:
- almost all trails require crossing the Paluxy River - always check trail conditions on the park's Facebook page before heading out
- the park has varied terrain - be sure to check out the trail map for more information
- many trails are shaded, thought plenty have sunny portions so always bring enough water and wear sun protection
- tourist attractions such as dinosaur track viewing areas and other dinosaur related businesses outside park boundaries exist for family fun before or after your hike
- crowds are limited in cooler months, and earlier in the morning - I always try to get there around 7 am to enjoy some solitude
Here are some photos from the hike, enjoy and happy hiking!