san antonio northeast trails

San Antonio Trails: Northern Trails

If you’re like everybody else at the start of the year, you more than likely made a bet with yourself to start working out or being more active just so you can fit into your Covid sweat pants. But for some inexplicable reason, they are definitely tighter than they were back when you replaced the ones from 2020. It doesn’t make sense. You’re only working from home, working later than normal, and being stressed/overwhelmed beyond comprehension. For those of you that opted for no-pants, I’ll salute you here since you haven’t been feeling the strain of the elastic competing with your belly. But here you are. Okay, here WE are. No mater what the weather is in San Antonio, there is no better time than to relieve the stress of your days and elastic than getting outdoors. And here in the Alamo city, there is no shortage of San Antonio trails, parks, and greenways to get you going. Let’s start with my favorites: Eisenhower Park, Salado Creek Greenbelt, and Leon Creek Greenbelt.

Leon Creek Trail

Eisenhower Park Trails

Eisenhower Park or Natural area has one of the best views of the surrounding Hill Country and a great view of the San Antonio skyline just outside the 1604 Loop. The park is right next to the Camp Bullis military training which the park was once a part of. But now it’s a hilly, natural area with rocky slopes, and limestone outcroppings, with trails cutting through cedar, oaks, and cactus. I love getting there super early because it gets crowded…fast! With good reason though! The park has picnic areas and a large pavilion for any parties (of up to 400!) you might want to have after a good hike. If you got kiddos tagging along, there is a rock wall and a lookout tower that’s at the end of one of the short easy paved trails. But if you’re looking for something to really wear them and yourself out, take the Hillview Natural Trail with the Red Oak Trail chaser routes.

Start at the Hillview southern access point going clock-wise to get the uphill leg work action all around the park. If non-stop uphill is a bit too much, do the trail counter-clockwise for the same distance with less effort. If this 3-mile option is still not enough for you, then you can easily criss-cross the park within the Yucca Natural Trail to get more mileage. In total, there are approximately 5 miles of trails. And it’s for hiking only…sorry mountain bikers! Because it’s also designated as a natural area, you may run into some critters and native vegetation. Take your time and peer into the woods or better yet go off trail a bit and stare at the ground and you might run into a cute dung beetle just doing its job! Whenever you go and whichever trail you take, don’t forget to hit the tower to get that awesome view of downtown, and then finish up your hike at the Freetail Brewing Company that’s just around the corner. A well-deserved pint will be waiting for you.

Hillview Tower

Salado Creek Greenway

Here’s the thing, the City of San Antonio Parks and Department is killing it with its Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System. They are building an impressive greenbelt system, a series of San Antonio trails that will practically encircle and bisect the city for over 100 miles. One of these systems is the Salado Creek Greenway. You can access from Eisenhower Park now since they just finished the connection to the park in 2021. But my favorite access is right smack-dab in the middle of Huebner Road. I used to live in this neighborhood so finding this access point was major highlight. I wasn’t too close, but a sort drive would get me to some parking across the street that is basically the middle of the trail between Loop 1603 and Blanco Road / Wurzbach Parkway. But continue south it can get you to Loop 410. Yes it’s that long! From this point you can take it north towards Loop 1604 for about 1.84 miles.

Or you can head south towards Phill Hardberger Park (northern section with access to the land bridge) at Blanco Road / Wurzbach Parkway which is also just short of two miles. If you need some marathon training miles, you can pull a Forest Gump and keep running to US 281. And if you’re one of those psycho ultra-marathon runners (mad respect) keep on going for around 7.6 miles until you get to Loop 410 / Tobin Park Trailhead. Bikes are allowed so it’s a bit easier. Plus you can stop off at the Los Patios and get some grub at Naco 210’s new brick-n-mortar place within the beautiful creekside setting. The trail is also a favorite with the mountain bike crowd and off-road trails criss-cross it at several intervals along the way. The Huebner Road access point is within the perfectly named Deerfield neighborhood. Because deer you will see! Just peer into the wood and you’ll likely find Bambi’s whole family staring right back at you. Going off-trail gets you really up-close an personal, but be aware of surroundings. Make sure your ear pods are set to low or have one of them out since the mountain bikers can come behind you pretty fast.

Salado Creek Greenway

Leon Creek Greenway

Now Leon Creek Greenway is another one of those San Antonio trails you can access from Eisenhower, but from its western end. This is finishing up construction at this access so if you can start here and get you all the way to The Rim shopping center along IH-10. Yes, that is one way out there. But there’s another access just off of access off of UTSA Blvd. It was easier back when I worked right alongside it, but now there are only a few parking spaces at the apartment building. Now, I access it from the trailhead behind the Drury Inn or the Valero Trail Access. It’s right at the intersection of Loop 1604 and IH-10. It’s a bit of a hot mess for traffic but if you happen to be stuck, just get off the road and take yourself on a little hike. From the Valero access point, going north you’ll go underneath the overpasses of both highways before you get to The Rim. Before that, in-between the two overpasses crossing Old Fredericksburg Road (more on that later) is a cool wedding venue called the Tuscany Wedding Venue. I’m so glad they repurposed the historic stone building on the property. This whole area was rural grazeland with farmsteads and outbuildings. I’ll have to do more digging to figure out the history of it but the setting is gorgeous if you wanna get hitched.

If you’re not getting married, move along on to get your mileage. This segment isn’t particularly quiet but it’s usually less crowded. Don’t let the drone of the cars above deter from winding back and forth between the roadways above. You still get an opportunity to enjoy some naytch along the creek. If you don’t mind a crowd, and what I mean by crowd is seeing a person every few minutes, take the trail south for a mile towards UTSA Blvd. You’ll be in between Valero and the Security Service Federal Union Campus, hence the ‘crowd.’ However, it’s a great segment and there are some nice mountain bike routes. The routes weave in and out of the main paved trail all the way down to Hausman Road which is another mile past UTSA Blvd. If you keep going past that, you can make your way to Babcock. Biking? Keep going till you get to Prue Road or even OP Schnabel Park.

Leon Creek Greenway

So many trails so little time

These three recommendations are only teeny-tiny segments of the entirely of the full Howard Peak Trail System. So the opportunity to get your outdoor exercise in is likely at a greenbelt near you. Get yourself out there and join me in exploring teeny-tiny portions of this glorious network of San Antonio trails. One mile at a time.

When’s your favorite time to visit the San Antonio Trails?

graphic of northeast trails

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. So many trails so little time is so true! I feel like Spring or Fall would be the time I’d want to visit just to check out the foliage plus get a good workout in 😂

Leave a Reply

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