South Texas Parks
Written by Randy Watson
San Antonio is home to some of the best weather in the country, and since spring is in full bloom, now is the best time of the year to get outside and enjoy the sun! In and around the city, there are numerous parks where one can enjoy him or herself for a day, a weekend, or even longer.
Texas Hill Country offers many prime locations for camping, hiking, rafting, biking, or just lazing about outside the hustle and bustle of the city. The following parks are just some of areas that can be easily accessed for a day trip outside of San Antonio and can provide a welcome reprieve from the atmosphere of the city.
· Eisenhower Park—Just a few minutes north of San Antonio, this big space is maintained in its impeccable condition by the Harmony Hills Optimist Club. Offering visitors six different hiking trails totaling three miles, the park also offers an observation tower with a breathtaking 360 degree view of the city and surrounding land. Picnic facilities, camping sites, and educational programs are also available.
Address: 19399 NW Military Hwy
Hours: 6 AM-Dark
· Freidrich Wilderness Park—Also north of the city lies this well-named park. Although only a short drive out of San Antonio, upon entering this park one feels transported worlds away from anything resembling the city. Although there is no camping allowed, there are many trails varying from the wheelchair accessible Grade 1s to the Vista Loop Trail, which leads into the forested hills and provides quite a endurance challenge, as well as a great view.
Address: 21395 Milsa St
Hours: Summer 8AM-5PM, Winter 8AM-8PM
· Hill Country State Natural Area—Located in Bandera, about an hour’s drive from San Antonio, this monster of a park offers 36 miles of trails that are open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, and a vast and varied terrain. The park used to be a ranch, but now the bubbling springs, canyons, and 1,900 foot elevations are open to the public. Also offered are equestrian camping sites, primitive camping sites, lodges, and swimming and fishing in the West Verde Creek.
Address: RR 1 Box 601, Bandera, TX
· Lost Maples Natural Area—Covering 2,000 acres and located less than two hours from San Antonio, Lost Maples invites guests to hike along its 11 miles of trails and take in the surrounding maple forest. Also available are picnic facilities, primitive and RV camping, fishing, swimming, and educational programs. Although the best time of the year is in the fall when the maples are changing, the park is a wonder any time of the year.
Address: 37221 FM 187, Vanderpool, TX
· Seminole Canyon State Historical Park—Located 4 ½ hours away, just north of the Mexican border lies this precious historic area. Native Americans used this land for hunting, and left behind many beautiful and breathtaking wall paintings behind. The park contains an interpretive center, historical exhibits, and educational programs. Although hiking in the canyon is dangerous (and not allowed), there are picnic areas, campsites, and RV camping. Animals abound here, so don’t be surprised to see deer, armadillos, raccoons, and many species of birds.
Address: Comstock, TX
Texas is full of outdoors activities, and the season for enjoying nature is here!