Let’s Explore: Best Places to Hike in San Antonio

Known for its scorching heat and vast plains, Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hiking adventures. Yet, here in San Antonio, a city that defies expectations, you will discover a thriving outdoor scene that’s as diverse as it is surprising. Come with me as we venture into the stunning trails of San Antonio, where preconceived ideas are put to the test.

Government Canyon State Natural Area:

Located on the North-west side of San Antonio, Government Canyon offers 12,000 acres of wilderness and over 40 miles of trails to explore, with something to offer all skill levels. The trails cross gently rolling grass­lands and remote, rugged can­yon-lands. Explore by hiking, moun­tain biking, or even trail running. Although some trails are designated for hiking only, so check the trail maps and pay attention to the marked signs. For those wanting to extend the adventure, there are also tent camping sites available for reservations. And for you budding paleontologists out there, Government Canyon boasts the only known dinosaur footprints on public land in Bexar County, solidifying its spot on best places to hike in San Antonio.

Friedrich Wilderness Park

Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, Friedrich Wilderness Park is a local favorite. The 10 miles of trails wind through oak groves, offering stunning views of the city. It’s a fantastic escape without venturing too far from the city limits. Friedrich Wilderness Park is known not just for its diverse trails and terrestrial orchids, but is also internationally known for bird watching. The park is a nesting site for two federally listed endangered species of birds: the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler.

Garner State Park

If I had to offer just one recommendation for the best places to hike in San Antonio, Garner State Park would be the clear choice. It is a genuine Texas gem that truly offers something for everyone. One of the park’s main attractions is the Frio River, inviting visitors to enjoy tubing, swimming, and canoeing. Hiking enthusiasts can explore over 16 miles of trails, including the popular Old Baldy Trail, which rewards hikers with a stunning view at the top. The park also features designated areas for birdwatching. Camping options accommodate all preferences, from tent and RV sites to modern cabins. Garner is a very popular destination on the weekends and holidays, so make sure to snag your reservations early. If you’re like me a prefer a quieter, less crowded scene, weekday visits are perfection.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Prepare to be enchanted at Enchanted Rock! Located just outside of the charming town of Fredericksburg, it is another destination with so much to do. You can hike, backpack, rock climb, bird watch, geocache, and star gaze. The most popular trail, the Enchanted Rock Summit, provides a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding area. If hiking up the massive pink granite dome isn’t your thing, no worries! Enchanted Rock offers 11 miles of hiking trails with something for everyone.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost Maples Natural Area is a stunner that offers a variety of outdoor activities. With over 10 miles of trails, hikers can explore diverse landscapes, including woodlands, canyons, and streams. Popular trails like the East and West Trails showcase the area’s beauty. Birdwatchers will find over 200 species, and the Sabinal River provides opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and swimming. Not leaving camping enthusiasts out, there are 30 campsites equipped with water and electricity. The fall foliage, especially in November, is a highlight, attracting visitors to witness the vibrant colors of the Uvalde bigtooth maples. You can time your visit just right with the Fall Foliage Color Report, although the park is stunning year round. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an active adventure, Lost Maples Natural Area provides a memorable experience in Texas’ natural beauty.

Inks Lake State Park

At Inks Lake, you can dive into the heart of Texas Hill Country with a range of outdoor activities. Hike along scenic trails, enjoy water fun like swimming or kayaking in the crystal-clear lake, and try your hand at fishing for bass and catfish. Birdwatchers will find plenty to see, and families can unwind with picnics in designated areas. Inks Lake State Park is a natural haven offering diverse recreation in a stunning setting. Inks Lake is a wonderful destination year round for a day trip or a weekend getaway, with 200 campsites and 22 cabins. It’s a perfect addition to round out the best places to hike in San Antonio list.

Hit the Trails!

Get ready to explore the best hiking spots in San Antonio, where nature and history meet for unforgettable outdoor adventures. Remember to pack snacks and water, especially under the blazing Texas sun! Lace up and hit the trails — here’s to happy hiking!

By: Jennifer Welch