North Shore Dinosaur Loop

I sighted my first Horned Toad of 2014 while on Dinosaur Trail. PLEASE be aware of the park's small residents! It would be very easy to accidentally step on, or roll your bike's tire over, one of these guys and if you did, you know how you'd feel :-(
User: MikeHikes - 4/21/2014

Location: San Angelo State Park

Rating:
Difficulty:  Solitude:
Miles Hiked: 6.40 Miles  Elapsed Time: 4 hours

Comments:

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill Trail > Dinosaur Trail > North Slick Rock Trail > Lower Ghost Camp Trail   3.7 miles

Return  Service Road (West) > River Bend Trail > Badlands Trail> Service Road > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead      2.7 miles

This route will take you in a loop along the upper 1/3 of the North Shore portion of the park.

Starting at Bell's Trailhead, you will walk along a dirt road for 50 meters or so until you come up to the beginning of the Dinosaur Trail which heads West.  The trail goes through open areas, somewhat rolling terrain and a few places where there are mesquite trees.  As you follow the trail, you'll cross a dry creekbed and on the other side, an info kiosk, water and shade is available.  It is also where you will see the dinosaur tracks.

Leaving this area, you will go from single track trail to a dirt road with lots of shade from the mesquites.  After a short distance, Dinosaur Trail will appear on the left and reverts back to a single track trail.  Continue to hike the trail as it meanders SE and South.  You'll begin climbing, not severe, and will eventually head downhill before coming to a junction where you will see a signpost for "Upper Big Hill" - take it and climb the steep rocky road.  When you crest the hill, you are on a dirt road on the plateau.  Recent construction on the right has nothing to do with the state park.

Anyway, continue on the dirt road and you will come to a cattle gate, go through it and look to your left, you'll see Dinosaur Trail once again.  Continue on this trail to the end and you will reach a junction where you'll see the signpost for North Slick Rock and South Slick Rock trails.  Take the North Slick Rock trail.  Follow the trail as it goes up and down along rocky terrain - easy to see.  The trail ends at a cattle gate and you are now at the River Bend Campground where an info kiosk, lots of covered tables, a dry toilet and water for human and horses is available.  Suggest you fill your water containers!!

Looking East, you'll see the river and a rocky trail; this is the Lower Ghost Camp Trail.  It will take you along the edge of the camp and down alongside an abandoned concrete boat ramp.  The trail goes along the boat ramp and then goes to the right which goes up hill into another ghost camp.  Another cattle gate you'll go through and stop.  You are at the end of the "Out" portion of this hike.

At this point, you are on an old service\asphalt\dirt road that goes West.  Take this road and on the right hand side (North) of the road near the end, you'll see the signs for River Bend Trail - I suggest you take the Biker and Hiker trail.  This trail goes for a relatively short distance before connecting to the Badlands Trail which you will follow to the end.  As always, I suggest you stay on the hiker/biker trail.  At the end of this trail you come to a service road at the top of a plateau.  Look slightly to your right and follow the service road down.  At the base of the hill, you' re at the same spot you were earlier when you went on the North Slick Rock Trail.  

OK, you will turn left on the service road and follow it to the cattle gate which you'll cross. There are a few benches under the pecan trees if you need a break - no water available.  You will stay on the road by going right and continue until the road makes a sharp left turn; instead of going on the road, look directly ahead to the trail.  Go down the side of a dried creekbed and up the other side where you'll look to the right for the Shady Trail signpost.  

Shady Trail has shade and is a pleasant dirt trail to walk.  Follow it to the end at you are back at Bell's Trailhead.

 



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