Passionate About San Antonio
and the Moms Who Live Here

Family-Friendly Local(ish) Hikes

Boulder Hopping, Enchanted RockEvery year I forget that summer in South Texas can easily extend into October. I know the calendar says it is fall, but so far I haven’t seen much evidence of it. Last week the temps were still in the mid-90s!

Thankfully, cold fronts are plentiful and the temperatures have started creeping down. I say “thankfully” because our family loves spending time outside, and while swimming is awesome, we miss the cool weather and family hikes out of town on Saturday mornings.

Our family has a few favorite hiking spots. I imagine yours does, too. So in preparation for cooler weather ahead, here are the trails we’ll be hitting this fall.

 

San Antonio Missions Hike & Bike Trail

While not an obvious choice for the avid hiker, the paved paths and access to the historic San Antonio Missions can make for a phenomenal urban hike (see map). You can customize your journey: from a 20-mile round trip that starts at the Alamo and goes all the way to Mission Espada and back, to something simpler, like a four-mile round trip between Acequia Park and Mission San Juan. The trail is also great for cycling (check out the B Cycle Rentals on the trail) and kayaking. With abundant picnic areas, it’s a great way to spend a cool fall day taking in the urban scenery and historic landmarks.

  • Easy walk. Good for running, biking, and kayaking.
  • Dogs allowed.
  • Stroller and wheelchair accessible.
  • Suitable for young children.
  • No entrance fee.

Hardberger Park

Hardberger ParkNestled in the middle of suburban San Antonio (near Wurzbach Parkway and NW Military), Hardberger Park offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The flat, well-maintained trails are great for walking, running, and biking and are suitable for young children. Trail lengths range from less than one mile to just under three miles (see map). It is a great place to see deer without having to leave the city, and the Urban Ecology Center hosts educational events for kids every week. Make sure to visit one of the playgrounds with your kids while you are there.

  • Easy walk. Good for running and biking.
  • Dogs allowed.
  • Stroller and wheelchair accessible.
  • Suitable for young children.
  • No entrance fee. 

Friedrich Wilderness Area

If you want to get out of the city but don’t have much time, check out Friedrich Wilderness Park. Located on I-10 just past The Rim and Fiesta Texas, it’s a quick drive for a half-day hike. The trails range from easy to moderate and offer hikes from half a mile to five-and-a-half miles (see map). The maximum elevation change is 300 ft., but only if you take the moderately challenging Vista Loop. The Forest Range Loop is paved and accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Friedrich is a nesting site for two federally protected endangered bird species: the black-capped vireo, and the golden-cheeked warbler. It’s internationally known as a great place for bird-watching, so don’t forget your camera when you visit this park!

  • Easy to moderate hike. Good for trail running.
  • No dogs allowed.
  • Stroller and wheelchair accessible on the Forest Range Loop.
  • Suitable for young children.
  • No entrance fee.

Government Canyon State Natural Area

Government CanyonLocated about six miles from the intersection of Loop 1604 and Culebra Rd., Government Canyon offers more than 40 miles of hiking. The trails range from easy to moderately strenuous and from grasslands to rugged canyons (see map). If you want a challenge, head to the Back Country and explore the canyons—just don’t bring your dog, as four-legged friends are only welcome in the Front Country. These trails are great for either a half-day or full-day hike. Trails close after hard rains, though, so check the Government Canyon Facebook Page for closures before you leave.

Don’t forget to take your dinosaur-loving kids out to see the newly discovered dinosaur tracks! It’s about a two-mile hike over rough terrain, but it is open to the public, weather permitting.

  • Easy to moderate/difficult hike.
  • Dogs allowed only in the Front Country.
  • Neither stroller nor wheelchair accessible.
  • Suitable for older children.
  • Walk-in camping requires reservations.
  • $6 entrance fee per each adults; children are free.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

If you love the Texas Hill Country, you really shouldn’t miss making the trip up Enchanted Rock. The 425-foot climb to the top offers incredible views of the area surrounding FredericksbuEnchanted Rock Friendsrg. It’s a steep climb, but totally worth it! Once you get to the top, head around back for some easy boulder-hopping and spelunking. If you want a longer, albeit easier hike, check out the four-mile Loop Trail (see map). You can also access some fun free climbing spots on the backside of the summit. Enchanted Rock makes for a long day trip or a fun jaunt during a weekend getaway to the Fredericksburg area.

  • Moderate to difficult hike.
  • Climbing—easy boulder-hopping to more difficult free climbing.
  • Dogs allowed.
  • Neither stroller nor wheelchair accessible.
  • Suitable for older children.
  • Walk-in camping requires reservations.
  • $7 entrance fee per each adult; children are free.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost MaplesIf you are from the North and really missing the changing fall foliage, you’ll want to hit Lost Maples near the end of October. (Check the Foliage Report.) This beautiful park offers trails ranging from easy one-mile to more strenuous five-mile hikes. You can combine trails if you want something closer to 12 miles (see map). The view on top of the ridge offers a great look back at the valley where you started—it’s beautiful any time of year, but especially so when the leaves are changing. Be aware, however, that visiting Lost Maples will take an entire day, since it is a two-hour drive from San Antonio.

  • Moderate hike.
  • Dogs allowed.
  • Neither stroller nor wheelchair accessible.
  • Suitable for older children.
  • Walk-in camping requires reservations.
  • $6 entrance fee per each adult; children are free.

Wherever you end up hiking this fall, make sure you practice the Seven Leave No Trace Principles.

What are your family-favorite local hiking spots?

, , , ,

Comments are closed.