Where To Go Hiking In San Antonio?

bandera creek trail

The Lone Star state is well-known for its stunning scenery and sprawling cities, and San Antonio is no exception.

The city is massive, offering residents an incredible selection of food, entertainment, job opportunities.

However, if you’re like me, you need to get out of the city every now and then. 

If you’re interested in exploring the greater San Antonio and Hill Country area, then these hikes are some of the best ways to do it.

No matter if you’re a beginner hiker or a veteran, there is a trail out there waiting for you to discover. 

Read on to find where to go hiking in San Antonio if you’re a resident or just visiting and looking for some excitement. 

Easy/Beginner Hikes

If you’re new to hiking and outdoor treks, then these hikes in the San Antonio area are perfect for you.

They are not too challenging but still provide stunning scenery that you can do within a few hours or a single day. 

San Antonio Riverwalk

If you’re looking to stick to the city, then the San Antonio Riverwalk could be the perfect hike for you.

Although the trail has been commercialized to a significant degree, featuring many shops and restaurants along the way, certain sections are quite beautiful.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of nature that can be found along the Riverwalk without even having to leave the city.

In particular, one of the best sections is called Mission Reach.

It’s almost entirely devoid of the normal riff-raff of vendors and street performers and filled with stunning trees and plant life in an otherwise concrete jungle. 

The Riverwalk is essentially flat the entire way, with little to no elevation climb at all.

For beginning hikers, children, the elderly, and the differently-abled, this is an amazing way to get in touch with the nature San Antonio has to offer. 

Salado Creek Greenway 

Featuring paved hiking trails that reach 20 miles into San Antonio, Salado Creek Greenway is an awesome way to experience a different side of the city.

You can jump into the creek at almost any point along the trail.

If you have a favorite spot, you can set up a picnic or a BBQ and spend the whole day swimming and relaxing. 

East Trail

Located in the Los Mapes State Natural Area, hikers of the East Trail have spoken of magnificent autumn colors throughout October and November.

A contributing factor to the scenery are the unique Uvalde bigtooth maples which display an incredible array of reds, yellows, and greens in the fall season. 

However, many people prefer springtime on the East Trail.

There are a wide variety of songbirds and wildflowers that call the area home, and you’ll be able to spot a fair few at any time of the day.

Monkey Rock is the sight many advanced hikers come to see.

It’s a standalone limestone outcropping that juts out of the horizon.

The steep climb to the base is as challenging as it gets, and an astonishing array of plant life rewards hikers who reach the end. 

Tinaja & Dogleg Canyon Loop

Despite the fact that the Tinaja & Dogleg Canyon Loop is farther from San Antonio than any other hike on this list, it deserves a spot because of the intense beauty it offers those willing to make the trek. 

Part of Colorado Bend State Park, this hike will press hikers for all they’re worth.

The rocky hills are often steep and require near-constant climbs and descents, giving experienced trekkers the variation many often crave. 

Not only that, but views of the Colorado River will blow your mind.

The waters rage beneath you at some parts, while at others, it’s as tranquil as can be.

However, the descent might be too difficult for some to muster, so you might have to settle with enjoying the view from up top. 

Different types of people can enjoy the trail as it winds through different parks, each with its own distinct vibe.

It’s a great place for families and friends to take a leisurely stroll, run, or bicycle ride to enjoy the surprisingly tranquil nature of the trail. 

Fox Park

For those of you looking for a good starting point to explore different areas of San Antonio, Fox Park is a fantastic trail that is forgiving to novice hikers and families with small children. 

Fox Park connects to several other hiking trails that lead in different directions around the city.

It’s a great spot to get a feel for the areas you prefer and give you a taste of other trails you want to explore.

The paved hiking trail connects to the Leon Creek Greenway and runs along a creek that feeds the several varieties of flowers and animal life that populate the region. 

Cibolo Nature Center

Cibolo Nature Center is a unique trail in Hill Country that surprises many of its year-round visitors.

While most trails are examples of a single ecosystem, Cibolo Nature Center features four different biomes.

You can explore a prairie, forests, savannas, and marsh areas all in one day.

This is a great spot for families and education-oriented hikers who wish to learn more about different environments and ways of living.

Cibolo has several trails that add up to only three miles, allowing you to get a feel for every available biome without devoting your whole weekend to the task. 

Tower Loop

The Tower Loop is one of the most popular hikes available in the San Antonio area, offering a huge park for families and friends to chill out and go for a trek to the famous lookout point.

The trail is in the Comanche Lookout Park in Northeast San Antonio, so it’s a super easy drive to get there. 

While the Tower Loop trail has different terrain, from rocks and gravel to dust and grass, it’s still a great hike for beginners.

There are rolling green hills that are an incredible backdrop for photos, and the lookout point is a spectacular view of the surrounding area. 

Moderate/Experienced Hikes

For those hikers with experience who need something a bit more strenuous, these treks are your best bet.

They provide the challenge some of you might need to get the satisfaction you’re looking for out of a hike. 

Hillview Trail – Eisenhower Park

Popular with military service members, the Hillview Trail in Eisenhower Park is a hike that ramps up the difficulty a notch.

Although it isn’t that long, only around three miles, it’s very steep.

There are only a few sections that have stairs, which can often make the hike more difficult depending on who you ask. 

However, the steep climb rewards those who make the effort.

There is a spectacular view of San Antonio once you reach the summit, and there is even a viewing tower to climb as well.

Although the view is the main attraction of this hike, there is also plenty of interesting plant and animal life to take in, including armadillos, lizards, and cacti.   

Old Tunnel Nature Trail

Compared to other hikes we’ve included in this list, I believe this one to be one of the most interesting trails San Antonio has to offer.

Why, you ask? Bats.

Lots of them.

There is a large bat colony that calls the Old Tunnel home, and every sunset, they migrate out to find food, hundreds and thousands at a time. 

If you’re a little squeamish when it comes to flying mammals, then this might not be the best hike for you to take.

But if you aren’t, then you’ll find that the Old Tunnel Nature Trail has a lot to offer. 

Although the hike is only one mile long, the trek is very steep and strenuous at certain points.

However, there’s plenty of interesting history you can learn about the railroad area along the way, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a break if you need to. 

Crystal Cave Trail & Bridges Trail

Located in the immensely popular Garner State Park in Concan, the Crystal Cave Trail is an excellent hike for those of you who fancy yourselves intrepid explorers discovering untouched for centuries. 

The steep Crystal Cave Trail is only 0.6 miles long, with a single track that could increase the time it takes to get down.

Once you reach the end, you’ll find a 30-foot wide cave that is surprisingly cool year-round.  

After you’ve spent enough time in the cave, continue onward down the trail to Painted Rock Overlook.

An amazing view of Old Baldy and the Frio River greets you at the end.

After that, the 0.5 mile-long  Bridges Trail will take you back to the starting point and a perfect spot to jump in the river to cool off after the long day. 

Bandera Creek Trail

Hiking the Badera Creek Trail, you’ll encounter a number of other trekkers who are exploring the natural beauty of the limestone hills in the area.

Not only that, but riders on horseback might gallop past you occasionally, taking advantage of their ability to traverse the sometimes steep trails with ease. 

If you’re looking for even more of a challenge, climb up to the West Peak Overlook, which gives you an unbeatable view of the surrounding Hill Country.

There’s a plethora of wildlife, with the unique Texas oak adding even more beauty to the already stunning area. 

Hard/Veteran Hikes

These hikes are only for those of you with extensive trekking experience and the need to push your limits to their breaking point.

Not only are the landscapes incredible, but you’ll work up enough of a sweat to fill a small swimming pool.

Only attempt these if you are comfortable with physical activity for hours on end. 

Far Reaches Trail & Twin Oaks Loop

There are many spots you can hike in the Government Canyon State Natural Area, but none come close to the remote and rugged feel of the Far Reaches Trail.

You have the freedom to explore the 9.5-mile loop made up of the Far Reaches, Joe Johnstone Route, and Twin Oaks Trail. 

Unless you prepare for a huge elevation gain and some light bouldering, don’t try to attempt this trail without a guide or some experienced friends.

This is an immense challenge that will push your physical limits, so come prepared with plenty of water and some food for the road.

Also, if you like photography, there isn’t a more idyllic spot to flex your photo chops.

The animal life is diverse enough that you’ll see different markings from various species along the trail.

If you follow them, you might end up finding something pretty special to focus your camera on. 

Enchanted Rock Loop Trail

Although the Enchanted Rock Loop Trail is fairly accessible to any level of hiker, advanced trekkers will find immense pleasure in the more difficult offshoot trails in the area.

They often get quite steep in some parts, so be prepared to be surprised when a trail turns from unbearably easy to hard in a matter of minutes. 

Not only that, but you can challenge yourself even more by bouldering some of the big rocks located along the way to the giant Enchanted Rock itself.

Once you hit the top, enchanted is what you’ll be by the spectacular views of San Antonio and Hill Country surrounding the park. 

This hike is fairly close to San Antonio, so you can go out for a half-day without much difficulty.

I love this loop because I can bring both my experienced climbing and hiking buddies as well as my beginner friends and have a great time either way!

Conclusion

No matter what hiking level you and your friends are, there’s a trail somewhere in or outside San Antonio that will excite you.

If you’re a nature buff who loves natural scenery, head off to the Enchanted Rock Loop, or if you’re more into wildlife, check out the bats at the Old Tunnel.

Let us know which is your favorite down below!

15 easy ways to get active now

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top