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Right on Track

See 110-million-year-old dino tracks at Government Canyon
Written by , published September 29, 2014 Photographs by Witte Museum

Government Canyon State Natural Area in Bexar County has more than natural beauty on its side, it has natural history, too. In an area that was once the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks, possibly the only known dinosaur footprints on public land, have been discovered.

Getting There

If going to see the dinosaur tracks, Government Canyon State Natural Area Superintendent Chris Holm recommends:

Head along the Joe Johnston Route for about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. The 5-mile round-trip trek will take about 4 hours for an average family to complete.

Dress appropriately, wear proper shoes and pack plenty of water. Some of the pathways can be rocky, and heat exhaustion can be an issue.

Visitors are not allowed to walk directly over or next to the tracks, but they will still be able to see beyond the roped off area. Rain can affect visibility (cover tracks) or accessibility of the trail system. Trails are closed when they are muddy in order to prevent trail rutting, erosion and widening. 

The tracks, possibly left by Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon dinosaurs, are open to the public.

Texas Parks & Wildlife and the Witte Museum are working together to document and research the prints. Together, they will develop and provide interpretation, tours and exhibits about the tracks, as well as devise methods of conservation and protection for them.

“Hundreds of dinosaur tracks represent a time when the San Antonio area was on the shore of the ancient Gulf of Mexico,” says Witte Museum curator of Paleontology and Geology Thomas Adams, Ph.D. “Discovering that dinosaurs once lived in what is now Bexar County contributes significantly to the area’s natural history.”

Chris Holm, superintendent of Government Canyon State Natural Area, adds, “This exciting partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Witte Museum brings in-depth scientific study and interpretation that will help us protect the tracks and educate generations of visitors about this area and the creatures that roamed here millions of years ago.”

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