If you’re planning a visit to Glen Rose Texas either for a vacation or a long weekend, the information here should be helpful. This article spotlights attractions in Glen Rose and provides a little history and background information for the area.
Glen Rose History
Around 1860 Charles and Juana Barnard built a three story stone gristmill along the Paluxy River. The town that eventually grew around the mill was called Barnard’s Mill. The town square, which is just a block form the original mill, was developed several years later. The first courthouse on the square was completed around 1892 and burned down in 1893. Second courthouse on the square, the present day structure, was ordered built by the commissioners’ court in 1893 and completed late in the same year for a cost of $13,500.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Located just northwest of Glen Rose, Dinosaur Valley State Park is a 1500-acre scenic park. Although the key attraction at this park is the dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River, there are many other ways to enjoy a day here. Other activities include camping, hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding, river swimming and fishing.
For 22 years, The Promise, a live performance depicting the life of Jesus Christ has been performed in the Texas Amphitheater in Glen Rose Texas. This artful, one of a kind, reenactment of the life and time of Jesus Christ is a key attraction of the Glen Rose area.
Barnard’s Mill and Historic Downtown
Early Texas gristmill, constructed in 1860 by Charles Barnard, a block off the historic town square. The first permanent structure in this area, the original mill was a three story building constructed of stone and built like a fort to withstand Indian attacks. For years, town social events were held on the third floor
Today, the three story mill building and cotton gin annex are open for tours. The hospital wing added in the 1940’s today houses the Barnard’s Mill Art Museum.
The Somervell County Courthouse was constructed in 1894. The courthouse, located just a block from Barnard’s Mill, is a simple two story structure featuring elements of Romanesque Revival and General Grant architectural styles.
The Somervell County Historical Museum is also located on the square. This is a great place to go see a dinosaur track.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants on the square, if antique shopping is your thing. And, they have benches and pecan trees, if sitting is your thing. The Historical Commission has an office in the courthouse, so you can stop in for area information.
Big Rocks Park in Glen Rose Texas
Big Rocks Park in Glen Rose Texas has been a popular hangout for a long time. As the name says, there are big rocks, result of some geologic event thousands of years ago that I completely don’t understand. What makes it interesting is that the Paluxy River flows by the rocks and the river bed is rock. The unusual rock forms and the river make for an interesting place to hang out for a little bit. Wading in the water is a popular pastime here in the early summer when there’s still water in the Paluxy.
A big plus for this place is that Oakdale Park is right across the street. For a few dollars you can swim in the pool at Oakdale Park and also hang out at Big Rocks.
Oakdale Park has a long history in Glen Rose Texas. Even before the park was built, the land and the water wells attracted people to stay here. The history of Oakdale is interesting. Everyone calls this place Oakdale Park, but the sign out front of the park tells a slightly different story. It says, Oakdale Park, Motor Inn, Camping. Oakdale Park is, among other things, a surviving 1930′s Motor Court.
They rent trailer spaces and cabins, but swimming is a popular reason to stop here. The swimming pool, built in 1925, is enormous, even by today’s standards. The pool and the abundant shade around the pool make it one of the best places to swim in Glen Rose.
Paluxy Heritage Park in Glen Rose Texas
Paluxy Heritage Park is across the river from the town square in Glen Rose. The park contains several historic dwellings from an earlier time in Somervell County. Here you will find a log home, an early stone home, an early school house, and several other historic structures. Paluxy Heritage Park is a great place to relax, or to freshen up. There’s a also a pavilion for picnicking and parties, and a playground for the kids.
This park is just up the path from Big Rocks Park which is just across the street from Oakdale Park. There’s a nice walkway that runs along the Paluxy River and there’s a dock and an overlook along the way. This walkway terminates at the dam just before Big Rocks Park. You can walk across the dam and be in Big Rocks in no time. This is probably about a quarter-mile walk.
These three parks make for a great low cost day in Glen Rose. Want to swim in a huge man-made pool filled with crystal clear well water: Oakdale Park. Wade in the Paluxy River, work on your tan, and hang out with friends: Big Rocks Park. Sit in the shade while your kids play in the playground, or walk the path to see some historic houses: Paluxy Heritage Park.
Hammonds and Loco Coyote
Two barbecue places that are as different as they are great. Hammond’s is right on the main drag (67) in town, between the Galvanized Palace and the pawn shop. Loco Coyote, on the other hand is way out there. Out of town, that is. This is definately not your typical city barbecue place. No, it’s more like a down-a-country-road barbecue place in rural Somervell County. From Glen Rose it’s 7.2 miles West on Highway 67. Turn right on County Road 1004. Call ahead to verify hours of operation.
Somervell County Picnic Area Number 50
This roadside park is west from Glen Rose Texas on US Highway 67. There’s really nothing there except the view and usually a cool breeze. It’s an odd thing to include, but it’s a popular place to stop. These parks dot the landscape all across Texas. Located eight or nine miles west of Glen Rose Texas on Highway 67.
Ruins and Buildings Constructed of Petrified Wood
Petrified wood, a form of fossilized wood, is used in older buildings throughout the Glen Rose area. The gazebo and star fountain on the town square incorporate this stone. A little further up Barnard street there’s an old building built from petrified wood that today houses an art gallery. As you travel the Glen Rose area, watch for this unusual building material in older buildings.
Glen Rose Texas Short Stays
A couple years back I wrote a guide to Glen Rose for people just passing through. Some of the information is already covered here, but if you’re just passing through, you might want to take a look at this drive by destination article for the Glen Rose area.
What’s Close By
The Windmill Farm in Tolar Texas is as uncomplicated as it could be. No entry fee, more than 40 windmills on 26 acres. They’re not really selling anything. It’s more like an open invitation to view a private collection of vintage windmills. They also have several cabins you can rent.
Rough Creek Lodge is near Glen Rose. If you want to stay at a world class resort while visiting the Glen Rose area, this may be for you. Also a very classy place for a wedding, by the way.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is in reality another key attraction of the Glen Rose area. Certainly not for everybody. The place is an exotic wildlife ranch, lodge, summer camp, and a not-for-profit 501(c)3 entity specializing in captive breeding for indigenous and exotic endangered and threatened species. If you want to know more about exotic animals, this is for you. Great for kids!
For some a vacation isn’t complete without a round or two of golf. Squaw Valley Golf Course is the golf course in Glen Rose.
If the trip isn’t complete unless you went fishing at least once then Squaw Creek Park may be for you.
If your aware of attractions in the Glen Rose that should be included here or if you own an attraction and would like to be included in this guide, please contact us.