There are a variety of different trails for everyone: from beginner to experienced hikers looking for a new challenge. The list below begins with parks featuring easier trails and works up to more difficult trails that may require a combination of experience, stamina, and good sense of direction. Remember, always stay hydrated and keep an eye on the time so you can get back to your starting point before it gets too dark! So lets begin our park tour at our first and easiest trail!
Nani Falcone Park kicks off our list with a simple paved trail that is great for a sunset stroll. The entire trail loops around the parks perimeter and features benches, a pavilion, and shaded areas to stop and clear your head. Nani Falcone Park also offers a playground, baseball field, skate park nearby, and even a 9 hole disc golf course which the trail encompasses.
With its paved concrete paths, open areas and looping length this trail gives very little room to get lost, which is why it’s perfect for beginners. During my walk, I saw San Antonians from every age group: Kids riding their bikes, an older couple walking their dog, and a twenty something going for an evening jog.
Next is Brackenridge Park, located near the Zoo, Witte Museum, and Japanese Tea Gardens it offers a soothing break from the busy streets of downtown San Antonio. Brackenridge is a beautiful gem that is usually overlooked by it’s popular attractions along it’s border. The older trees throughout the park are a marvel and offer prominent shade throughout the trails.
Maps of the park are located throughout the main trails, but be careful if you decide to stray off onto the smaller wooded paths. Don’t worry too much, these smaller wooden paths are often shortcuts to other trails which range in distance from .75 to 1.5 miles, others lead to beautiful open areas like the one above.
Phil Hardberger Park is a beautifully constructed park for everyone. There are separate paths for bikes, walkers and runners so traffic on single paths don’t get too congested. Pictured above is part of the Water Loop, which is a little more over a mile in length and was surprised at how relaxing it was. The loop offers plenty of stops where you can pull over and relax with a book or even a picnic with some friends. With every intersection there were signs pointing to other gravel trails, which is perfect for anyone beginning to hike and explore parks. The Water Loop was almost entirely shaded which helped keep me out of the Texas Sun.
Hardberger Park is also working on San Antonio’s first land bridge connecting the park which is separated by Wurzbach Rd. The land bridge will be built to offer a more natural connection allowing people and animals to cross over. We will make sure to keep you updated on any efforts on opening the land bridge.
These next two parks are equal in difficulty but for different reasons. First is OP Schnabel, a massive park located on the Northwest side of San Antonio that offers hundreds of trails for explorers from beginner to experienced. OP Schnabel has paved, gravel, dirt, manmade, and bike paths that weave in and out of its borders. Many of these paths lead to beautiful areas where you may be able to spot a family of deer grazing or a clearing with impressive scenery. Exploring OP over the years I have found some gorgeous spots to sit, soak it all in, and clear my head. With the recent heavy rain fall, some of the creeks throughout the park have filled up and offer an ambient sound to add to clearing your head.
Sticking to the paved paths and veering off onto other trails is very fun, but I recommend a strong sense of direction before doing so. Some of these trails branch off into other directions where beginners could become confused and get lost, especially if they’re exploring new territory. After 10 years of running and exploring through OP, I still have not managed to cover and map out the entire park, so be mindful!
This next park offers trails of the hardest caliber for this list. Most of them gravel and rocky paths leading into the Northside hills of San Antonio. Friedrich Park is located at 21395 Milsa Rd near I-10 and Dominion Ridge. There are a number of different trails expanding 10 miles of wilderness. I had never been to this park before and I was pleasantly surprised for what it had to offer. At every intersection there are markers and a map of the entire park showing your location, the distance to the next intersection, markers back to the entrance of the park, and other trails in comparison to you. All this was very helpful, but what makes these trails difficult is the climbing of it’s hilly terrain.
Hiking these steep hills can be challenging, but the reward is worth it. If you’re able to, try to find a suitable walking stick to aid you in your adventures and balance. The view of the hill country is a spectacle once you reach the top. One thing to note, Friedrich Park does not allow pets, but for good reason. There are no paths veering off from the main trails and if pets become unleashed, they can easily run off into these brushy areas where their owners may not be able to reach them.
Many of the parks mentioned above host events free to the public. Geared towards all ages from workouts, exercises, bug collecting, nature walks, and more! What are some of your favorite parks around San Antonio? Which trails should we explore next?