Though San Antonio may be best known for its iconic Texan landmarks like the Alamo and the Riverwalk, the city is also a picture-perfect place to go for a hike.
If you’re in San Antonio, you don’t have to travel far to experience gorgeous natural scenery and mild to challenging day hikes. Or, if you don’t mind traveling an hour or two outside city limits, you could be in some of the prettiest parks in the state.
Friedrich Wilderness Park
Offering 10 miles of hiking trails, all with varying degrees of difficulty, Friedrich Wilderness Park is full of diverse habitats and lush scenery. This 230-acre City of San Antonio Natural Area has forested canyons, restored grasslands, and hillside vistas. Follow the Water Trail (take the Main Loop through the juniper forest to get to the trailhead) to get a good hike in and do some bird-watching. Birders should be on the lookout for the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo, both of which are federally listed endangered species.
Medina River Natural Area
A relatively unknown natural oasis on San Antonio’s South Side, the 511-acre Medina River Natural Area offers a truly stunning diversity of plants and animals. There are birds like the green kingfisher and painted bunting, along with pecan and bald cypress trees, and cactus and honey mesquite shrubs. Combine the 2.2-mile Rio Medina Trail with the 6.5-mile Chaparral Trail to get good look into what the area has to offer.
Guadalupe River State Park
Guadalupe River State Park, in nearby Spring Branch, is one of the prettiest parks in the state. Though most come here to float, swim, and fish, there are 13 hiking trails that will lead you to picturesque views of the valley and the pristine, rushing river, lined with towering bald cypress trees along the bank.
One of San Antonio’s most popular parks, Eisenhower Park offers a variety of hiking options. The Hillview Trail boasts incredible views—the vantage point is such an attraction that the city built a viewing tower. It’s a steep climb, so come prepared for a workout, and to enjoy the rugged, shady terrain and glimpses of cool wildlife along the way.
This paved section of the River Walk trail connects Brackenridge Park, the Pearl District, and three museums: the San Antonio Museum of Art, The Witte, and The DoSeum. Think of Museum Reach Trail as an urban hike—plus, with all those museums you’ll be perusing, you’re sure to get plenty of steps in.
Tower Loop (Comanche Lookout Park)
Historic Comanche Lookout Park is a 96-acre public park that has the fourth-highest point in Bexar County. Native Americans used that hill as a vantage point, and it was also a prominent landmark for travelers in the 18th and 19th centuries. At less than 100 acres, Comanche Lookout is a small park, but the 4.5-mile hiking trail here, the Tower Loop, is one of the best in the city.
Far Reaches Trail & Twin Oaks Loop (Government Canyon State Natural Area)
With over 40 miles of scenic trails that crisscross over rugged canyonlands and gently rolling grasslands, Government Canyon State Natural Area provides a peaceful respite from the chaos of the city. If you’re up for a long hike, do the Far Reaches Trail and Twin Oaks Loops—this 9.5-mile trail showcases many of the features that make this natural area so special, including diverse flora and fauna (watch out for roadrunner, fox, wild hog, and bobcat), deep canyons, creeks, and ridges offering lovely views.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Located just a couple hours from San Antonio, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area makes for the perfect weekend hiking excursion. There’s something otherworldly about Enchanted Rock: a giant pink granite dome jutting out of the earth, with panoramic views of the Hill Country stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s a Texas bucket-list item for any hiker.
Full Trail Circle (Cibolo Nature Center)
The Cibolo Nature Center, in nearby Boerne, is home to a network of four trails that give hikers a look at the rich ecological diversity that comprises so much of the state: think woods, marshes, and a native Texas prairie. Take your time as you wind along the bluff overlooking Cibolo Creek, enjoy the dense shade of the oak and juniper trees overhead, and peer into the crystal-clear creek waters to spot turtles, catfish, bass, and perch.
The 8-mile Mission Reach trail connects the five sites of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park: Concepcion, San Juan, San Jose, and Espada (plus the Alamo). Not only is it a treat to get to see these beautifully preserved 18th-century Spanish colonial missions, but hiking along the Mission Reach trail—with its 400 acres of restored ecosystem, public art installations, and unique city views—is a thoroughly fun urban adventure.