Grab some fresh air and enjoy that Texas weather with some of the best hiking trails in San Antonio
In a city as large as San Antonio, many would expect it to look like an urban landscape; lots of concrete,
sky-high buildings and the constant bustle of traffic. But, if you ask any local, they will tell you that San
Antonio has some of the best hiking areas around.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there are hundreds of miles of trails and green
spaces to explore with plenty of parks and natural areas to suit anyone’s needs. From gorgeous views to
muscle-pumping hikes, San Antonio has got it all.
Hiking around San Antonio is one of my favorite things to do and there are so many different places to
explore so that no matter what side of town you are on, you can easily access a set of trails.
If you are looking for an excuse to get some of that Texas air in your lungs, here are some of the best
parks in the area.
Best place to see wildlife: Phil Hardberger Park
Coined an urban oasis, Phil Hardberger Park is a great place to see all sorts of creatures and critters
milling about. Run by the park’s conservancy, Hardberger is a nature area park meaning that about 75
percent of the park is left in its natural state for the wildlife habitat.
Located about 12 miles from downtown San Antonio, the 7.5 miles of trails are connected by the city’s
only land bridge—a natural habitat atop a 165-foot-wide bridge that provides a safe pathway for people
and wildlife alike. Hardberger Park is split in two by a six-lane highway, so the land bridge creates an
easy way for everyone with two (or four) legs to reach both sides of the park.
Many species of animal have been spotted on the bridge since it opened in 2020, including opossums,
rabbits, deer and even the occasional coyote and bobcat. Park surveillance cameras even captured
footage of the rare Ringtail Cat on the bridge.
Best hike for beginners: Eisenhower Park
Eisenhower Park is great for anyone who may be new to the hiking world or want an easy hike. With six
miles of paved and unpaved trails, there are plenty of options with varying levels of difficulty. There
some steep incline hills along with leveled paths to offer a great workout, even if you are taking a
leisurely stroll. And Eisenhower offers a nice reward during the hike: gorgeous views of the area from
the observation tower located in the middle of the park that you can climb to get a 360-degree view of
Eisenhower is less than 25 miles from downtown, right next to Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis.
Fan favorite hike: Government Canyon or OP Schnabel
Ask any local and they will tell you that Government Canyon Natural Area is a favorite because of its
rough yet rewarding trails. With over 40 miles of trails through the rugged canyon, the spectacular views
make up for the tough hike.
Government Canyon sits about 27 miles from downtown San Antonio, on the Northwest Side near
Helotes. It is also a great place for families because one of the the trails will take you past 100 million-
year-old dinosaur footprints that were left in the area.
Not far from Government Canyon, another favorite park is OP Schnabel. It is only 16 miles from
downtown, near Leon Valley, and great for any skill level. The 8.5 miles of trails are paved, but just
because the paths are made of asphalt, doesn’t mitigate the natural appeal. OP Schnabel is known for its
sprawling trails of oak trees, mountain laurels and other native vegetation and hikers say there is always
an abundance of deer around OP.
Not only is the park a fan-favorite, but it also has some history behind it. The park was named after a
famous local businessman with the same moniker who was known for his efforts of keep San Antonio
clean and beautiful—two qualities that the park still embodies.
Best day trip hike: Enchanted rock or Guadalupe River State Park
A warning to hikers, this park isn’t for the faint of heart, but Enchanted Rock is always raved about by
the locals. The massive pink granite dome of Enchanted Rock offers a steep summit to tackle for hikers
and rock climbers alike with gorgeous views at the top and lots to explore. One of the most popular
trails is a strenuous 8.4-mile hike with a 3,000 feet elevation gain.
Plan for a day trip to Enchanted Rock, it is about 90 miles from downtown San Antonio and the hikes
generally take several hours to complete.
For a more chill day hike near San Antonio, many enjoy the views in Guadalupe River State Park. Located
near Canyon Lake, about 40 miles from downtown, Guadalupe is popular for the 13 miles of river trails
that allow hikers to reward their hard work with a dip in the river or a fishing break. Or hikers can try out
the Bauer Unit trails that offers a 6-mile primitive trail for those wanting more of a challenge.
Guadalupe isn’t just good for hiking; visitors can extend their stay and camp out in the park too.
Best historical hike: Mission Trails
If you want a hike with some unique views, take a trip to the South Side to get a slice of history with
your workout. The trails allow visitors to explore the city’s four Spanish colonial missions: Mission
Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Espada. Each historical site is
separated by 2.5 miles of trails winding through various scenery so it is a great combination of a workout
and a history lesson.
Though there are 15 miles of trails, it is considered an easy hike and the missions offer a one-of-a-kind
rest stop during your journey.
Most beautiful hike: Friedrich Wilderness Park
With over 10 miles of hiking trails, Friedrich is known as one of the most beautiful views with plenty of
flora, fauna and wildlife to gaze upon during your hike. Only about 20 miles north of downtown, it is
internationally known for bird watching. Friedrich is home to two federally listed endangered species:
the Black-capped vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler. Even if birds aren’t your thing, there are lots
of vegetation and deep canyons that offer beautiful views.
The varying degrees of difficulty means it is good for beginners or those looking for challenging trails
with both paved and unpaved options. The only downside is that pets aren’t allowed on the trails in
order to protect the endangered species that live in the park.
Best short hike: Comanche Lookout Park
This hike is the definition of short and sweet with less than 5 miles of trails to explore. Not only is the
park home to tons of native vegetation, but it also offers amazing views of San Antonio. Comanche is the
4 th highest point in Bexar County with an elevation of 1,340 feet and the four-story limestone lookout
tower gives visitors a spectacular reward for their hike.
Comanche is located less than 20 miles from downtown on the Northeast Side.
For more information on great hikes, and homes around these spots, contact your local Realtor, Kelley Martin, at Ascend Elite Realty.