I know that most people love to explore Colorado, Utah, and other obvious areas for the best hiking ....but as a Texas native, I’ve had to make do with what I’ve got here in this state! And it turns out that there’s actually some really great hiking in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. (Look for the map below of all of these hiking trails!)
No, there aren’t any mountains in SA. But there are some areas with a slight elevation gain where you can get in a good hill workout. San Antonio is also near several excellent state parks that have cold rivers, big trees, and lots of hiking trail options. And there are lots of hiking trails that are great for kids and pets (on a leash.)
Of course, you could stay within the San Antonio city limits for hiking, too. I’ll include a few fun options for hiking in the city of San Antonio in case you just need a quick morning workout and a change of scenery.
When you’re hiking in Texas, be sure to always bring plenty of water so you stay hydrated, and pack bug spray and sunscreen. Oh, and look out for snakes during hikes; they’re plentiful here in South Texas. You might also see some cute wildlife, like deer and armadillos.
Grab your hiking shoes, pack some water and a snack, and get ready to hit the trail!
13 Best Hiking Trails in San Antonio
1. Eisenhower Park
Eisenhower Park is a beautiful recreational area nestled in the Texas Hill Country outside San Antonio, just about 15 miles from downtown. Located in the northwest part of the city, this park offers a serene and picturesque escape from the urban bustle.
Eisenhower boasts a network of well-maintained hiking trails, providing outdoor enthusiasts with lots of opportunities to explore nature in Texas!
Visitors can choose from 15 trails, each offering a unique experience, allowing hikers to tailor their adventure to their desired length and difficulty level.
The trails within Eisenhower Park vary in length, ranging from short loops of half miles to more extensive paths for full day hikes. This diversity caters to hikers of all ages and fitness levels, making it an ideal destination for both seasoned trekkers and casual walkers.
Eisenhower Park really has a nice mix of terrains, blending gentle slopes with moderate inclines. Nothing too strenuous here…after all, this IS Texas!
Photo Credit: Lara L, Yelp
2. Rio Medina Trail
The Rio Medina Trail offers a lovely escape into nature! It’s conveniently located just 25 miles southwest of downtown San Antonio. This hidden gem is on the outskirts of the city, giving hikers with a serene and scenic environment to explore.
The trail is just a single hiking route, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings. It offers a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for both avid hikers and those seeking a more casual walk. The terrain presents a mix of gentle slopes and occasional hills, providing a satisfying challenge without being overly strenuous.
The length of the Rio Medina Trail out-and-back trail is approximately 13.7 miles, so it’s pretty long. If you’re not wanting a full-day hike, you could easily cut it short by heading back before you reach the end. I will say that this trail is an excellent one for diverse landscapes, including woodlands and open meadows.
Along the Rio Medina Trail, hikers will encounter several notable landmarks that enhance the overall experience. The trail follows the banks of the scenic Rio Medina, offering picturesque views of the tranquil river. This serene waterway provides a peaceful ambiance and serves as a refreshing backdrop during the hike.
Photo Credit: Emily A, Yelp
3. Brackenridge Wilderness and Wildlife Loop
The Brackenridge Wilderness and Wildlife Loop is great for hiking right in the middle of SA! A natural oasis situated within the heart of San Antonio, Brackenridge is just a few miles north of downtown. This expansive park offers a tranquil atmosphere away from the bustling city, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.
The park features a 1.4-mile loop trail, which has an average completion time at just 35 minutes. It’s perfect for walking, biking, running, and hiking. In fact, this trail can typically accommodate most ADA wheelchairs/mobility equipment or stroller users.
The hiking trails within the park meander through the trees and near the river. The Brackenridge Wilderness and Wildlife Loop is paved.
4. Comanche Lookout Park
Comanche Lookout Park is a great little trail on the northside of San Antonio. It’s a 96-acre park with 4.55 miles of trails.
This place is an excellent spot for pet walkers (especially little dogs!) and hikers who are looking for a gentle form of exercise because almost all of the trails at Comanche Lookout Park are paved. Sure, there are a few dirt hiking paths sprinkled into the park, but the majority of the trails are more like walking on a sidewalk. It’s also a great option if it rained and you want to avoid any muddy paths.
There are three different levels of difficulty within the park’s trail system: level 1 is paved trails with gentle slopes, level 2 is slightly more difficult paved trails (not more than 8.3% incline), and level 3 trails exceed the 8.3% incline for those who want a good hill workout. And then, of course, you can go “off-roading” and find some of the dirt paths in the middle of the trail. There's so much shade in this little park and it's honestly very enjoyable on a summer morning.
One of the coolest landmarks on this trail is the lookout point. It’s the 4th highest point in the city of San Antonio at 1,340 feet! It’s likely that Comanche Native Americans used this hill as a lookout point, hence the name of the park.
Comanche Lookout Park has its own dedicated parking lot at the trailhead.
5. The Mission Trail
The San Antonio Mission Trail is a historical and cultural gem located within the city of San Antonio, Texas. It is situated just a few miles south of downtown, making it easily accessible to both locals and tourists.
The trail consists of walking paths that allow visitors to explore the rich history of San Antonio's five Spanish colonial missions: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada, and the Alamo. These aren’t standard hiking trails through Texas greenbelts….these trails offer an enriching walking experience, immersing visitors in the heritage and architecture of these iconic landmarks.
The length of each trail or loop within the Mission Trail varies, providing visitors with different options for exploration. Visitors can try a full Mission Trail hike, covering an approximately 13.9-mile loop encompassing all five missions. (Psst: it’s best to bike this one - see details here!)
Alternatively, hikers can choose to explore shorter segments of the trail, ranging from 1 to 3 miles, depending on their time and interest.
Along the Mission Trail, hikers will encounter significant landmarks such as the missions themselves, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These architectural marvels showcase the colonial history and cultural significance of the region. Additionally, the trail weaves through beautiful landscapes, including the lush banks of the San Antonio River and picturesque stretches of San Antonio.
The most accessible part of the Mission Trail is the paved western side offering a 6.9 mile loop going counterclockwise. There are also some relatively flat terrains, making it more of a casual walk than a rigorous climb. The focus here is on leisurely exploration and appreciating the historical sites rather than conquering challenging hills or rugged landscapes.
6. McAllister Park
McAllister Park is a sprawling urban park located in northeast San Antonio, just 12 miles from downtown. It provides a quick escape from the city's hustle and bustle while remaining conveniently located in SA.
The park boasts an extensive trail system, offering a diverse range of hiking options for outdoor enthusiasts. With a total of 4 major trails, McAllister Park caters to individuals of all skill levels.
The various trails within McAllister Park also vary in length, ranging from shorter loops of around half a mile to longer routes extending up to 5 miles. This allows hikers to customize their experience based on their preferences and time constraints.
While McAllister Park doesn't feature natural bodies of water like lakes or rivers, it offers scenic beauty with its lush greenery and mature trees.
The hiking experience in McAllister Park is generally more of a casual walk rather than a rigorous climb. Grab your airpods and a podcast and enjoy the walk!
While some trails may feature gentle slopes and minor elevation changes, they’re suitable for hikers of varying fitness levels. Families, kids, simple walkers, and joggers can all appreciate the park's trails without encountering significant challenges.
Photo Credit: Marcos D, Yelp
7. Garner State Park
Garner State Park is such a gem! It’s located approximately 90 miles west of downtown San Antonio, and it’s well worth the drive. Situated in the Texas Hill Country, this popular park is nestled along the scenic Frio River.
The park features a total of 10 major hiking trails that gives enough opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore its natural wonders. From leisurely walks to more challenging treks, there is something for everyone.
The lengths of the trails within Garner State Park vary, ranging from shorter loops of half a mile to longer routes spanning up to 3 miles. Hikers can choose the trails that best suit their preferences and desired level of difficulty.
One of the standout features of Garner State Park is its access to the crystal-clear Frio River. Hikers can take a refreshing dip in the river or simply enjoy the scenic beauty as they explore the trails. The park's hiking paths also offer breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and Frio canyons.
The terrain in Garner State Park includes both moderate inclines and rugged sections, making it a mix of both a casual walk and a moderate climb. While there are hills, the trails are generally accessible to diverse hikers.
To enter Garner State Park, there is an admission fee of $8 per adult (age 13 and above), and free for children 12 and under. This fee allows visitors to access and enjoy the park's hiking trails, picnic areas, and other recreational amenities.
Photo Credit: Lorijo E, Yelp
8. Friedrich Wilderness Park
Friedrich Wilderness Park is nestled in the city of San Antonio, providing a serene escape from the city's urban landscape. Located just 15 miles northwest of downtown, this natural oasis offers an excellent experience for nature trail enthusiasts.
The park boasts a total of 13 hiking trails that cater to a range of preferences and skill levels. From shorter loops to longer routes, visitors can choose the trail that suits their desired length and difficulty. Trails can range from approximately half a mile to 2 miles in length.
While there are no significant bodies of water within Friedrich Wilderness Park, the trails offer tranquil beauty with their scenic woods and green space.
The park offers a mix of terrains, including gentle slopes and moderately hilly sections. While there are some challenging portions, the overall hiking experience is more of a moderate climb rather than an arduous ascent. It’s great for both casual walkers.
9. Crownridge Canyon Park
Crownridge Canyon Park is situated in the hills of northwest San Antonio, offering a great hiking option just 18 miles from downtown.
The park offers three main hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts, so whether you're seeking a relaxing stroll or a more challenging hike, there's a trail to suit your preferences. Trails can range from approximately half a mile to 2 miles in length, accommodating visitors with varying time constraints and levels.
Crownridge Canyon Park offers a mix of terrains, with some trails featuring gentle slopes and others incorporating more challenging inclines. While there are some small hills, the trails generally provide a moderate level of difficulty, making them suitable for casual walkers and those looking for a slightly harder workout.
Photo Credit: Blessing B, Yelp
10. Government Canyon State Natural Area
Government Canyon State Natural Area is great for a little hill country climb! This expansive natural area provides a stunning escape into the rugged beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
The park offers over 15 major trails ranging in trail lengths and difficulty levels, from shorter loops of around 1 mile to longer routes extending up to 13 miles. Whether you're seeking a quick hike or a full-day excursion, Government Canyon State Natural Area has trails to meet your preferences.
The trail system also offers breathtaking views of striking geological features and landmarks of this park, including unique rock formations and canyons. This is one of the prettiest hikes near San Antonio.
Government Canyon State Natural Area provides a diverse terrain with a mix of challenging hills and more relaxed pathways. Some trails feature steep climbs and rocky terrain, providing a more adventurous hiking experience, while others offer a more casual walk through picturesque landscapes. There are options for both seasoned hikers and casual walkers.
To enter Government Canyon State Natural Area, there is an admission fee of $6 per person aged 13 and older. Children 12 and under can enter for free. This fee covers the park's trails, picnic areas, and other amenities.
Photo Credit: Christine M, Yelp
11. Guadalupe River State Park
Guadalupe River State Park is located approximately 30 miles north of downtown San Antonio, offering a scenic retreat on the outskirts of the city. Nestled along the banks of the Guadalupe River, this park provides a tranquil escape into nature.
Hikers can enjoy 13 hiking trails in the park with diverse trail lengths and difficulty levels. Trails can range from shorter loops of around half a mile to longer routes extending up to 5 miles.
One of the main attractions of Guadalupe River State Park is its namesake river. The hiking trails offer scenic views of the Guadalupe River, where visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, and tubing during the summer months. It also features picturesque limestone cliffs and lush vegetation.
The terrain in Guadalupe River State Park offers a mix of moderate inclines and relatively flat sections, making it suitable for both casual walks and moderate hikes. While there are some hills to climb, the trails are generally accessible to all types of hikers.
Guadalupe River State Park has an admission fee of $7 per person aged 13 and older while 12-year-old children and under can enter for free.
Photo Credit: Jessie W, Yelp
12. Lost Maples State Natural Area
Situated in the Sabinal River Canyon, Lost Maples State Natural Area offers rich biodiversity. It’s about 80 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio…so it’s a bit of a drive. But this one makes for a fun day of hiking!
The park is home to 5 hiking trails so hikers can explore trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels, catering to different preferences and abilities. Hikers can choose from shorter loops of around half a mile to longer routes extending up to 3 miles. Each trail showcases different aspects of the natural area, from towering limestone cliffs to scenic overlooks.
One of the notable features of Lost Maples State Natural Area is the Sabinal River. Hikers can enjoy the peaceful sounds of the river and encounter several small streams and cascades along the trails. It is also renowned for its maple trees, which turn vibrant shades of red and orange during the fall foliage season.
The hiking trails in Lost Maples State Natural Area offer a mix of terrains. While some trails involve hard climbs and steep inclines, others provide a more casual walking experience. Hikers should be prepared for uneven surfaces and potentially challenging sections, especially on the more demanding trails.
There is an admission fee of $6 per person aged 13 and older to enter the area but children 12 and under can enter for free.
Photo Credit: Kay J, Yelp
13. Castroville Regional Park
Located in the charming town of Castroville, Castroville Regional Park offers a peaceful retreat not too far from SA. It’s about 20 miles west of downtown San Antonio.
The park has 4 major hiking trails that offer several paths for visitors to explore. The various trails and loops within the park also vary in length, providing options for hikers of different preferences. It has shorter loops of around half a mile and longer routes extending up to a couple of miles.
Castroville Regional Park boasts scenic views of the Medina River natural area so hikers can enjoy glimpses of the river as they explore the trails, adding to the tranquil ambiance of the park.
The hiking trails in Castroville Regional Park generally offer a more casual walking experience with gentle terrain. While there may be some slight inclines and uneven surfaces, the trails are just ideal for all types of hikers.
Photo Credit: Shohana B, Yelp
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