The River Walk and the Alamo are popular tourist sites for a reason, but hiking in San Antonio provides a beautiful respite from the throng and a unique perspective of central Texas that is well worth seeing.
We’re letting you in on the natural wonders buried away not too far from downtown San Antonio pathways that don’t make it into tourist itineraries nearly as often as some of the city’s other attractions.
With 14 fantastic hikes on our list, there’s something for everyone, so you’ll be able to choose one that suits your age and skill. Local wildlife, wildflowers, and panoramic views are all on the itinerary.
Continue reading for essential information on how to get to each location, route lengths and obstacles, must-see lookouts, species to avoid, and more!
Tips and Advice for Hiking in San Antonio
Dump your trash: People are increasingly leaving trash, dog poop, and other items on trails around the United States. Leave no sign of your presence.
Start looking for wildlife: Some animals may feel threatened or anxious when they come into contact with humans. Wild animals should not be startled, disturbed, approached, or fed.
Don’t squander the past: Instead, contribute to the preservation of America’s rich heritage. Leave all artifacts precisely where you discover them and notify a ranger of their location.
Campfire only in fire ring: To avoid ground scarring and wildfires, only have a campfire in a fire ring when permitted.
Recognize your limitations: We give trail information, such as distance and elevation gain, so you can plan ahead of time based on your physical condition. Wear sunscreen, insect repellant, and suitable clothing/hiking shoes at all times. These trail runners, for example, strike the ideal blend of breathability and terrain traction.
Tell us about your plans: Because some paths are more difficult and located in remote areas, it’s always a good idea to let others know where you’ll be.
Finally, but certainly not least, drink plenty of water. Bring adequate drinking water with you. This high-quality Camelbak holds 70 ounces of water.
Best San Antonio Hiking Trails
People usually go on major city excursions or more nature-focused adventures, but what about the abundance of natural regions that aren’t too far away from urban comforts?
That’s precisely what this list is about, and it’s all centered on one of our best cities in the United States: San Antonio!
Easy San Antonio Hikes
Rio Medina Trail
This path, which is part of the Medina River Natural Area, is well-marked, easily accessible, and full of wildlife.
The out-and-back trail’s winding switchbacks and rolling hills make it demanding for experienced hikers, but the primarily paved roads keep it beginner-friendly as well.
The sections of the trail that meander along the river are shady and picturesque, while other sections take you through farms and sunny meadows.
The Rio Medina Trail’s richness of vegetation and fauna is perhaps its most notable feature. Wild boar, deer, armadillos, and other species have been seen by hikers. A few lucky people have even seen bald eagles soar overhead.
Wilderness and Wildlife Trails
Just 10 minutes from Downtown, the Wilderness and Wildlife Trails at Brackenridge, one of San Antonio’s premier parks, provide for a terrific morning or evening getaway.
The smooth, paved loop is ideal for family vacations, dog walks, and simple jogs, but it is not suitable for tough hikers or adrenaline addicts. Since much of the trail is shady and some stretches run beside streams and rivers, you’ll most likely be joined by ducks and geese rather than other people. The park is adjacent to the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden. Check it out if you’re seeking some peace after your run or walk.
Library and Comanche Loop Trail
This short and pleasant loop in Comanche Lookout Park (Nacogdoches Road) is accessible from downtown San Antonio and suitable for all skill levels.
If you’re looking for a simple walk or a light workout, this is an excellent choice. You are welcome to bring your four-legged companions as long as they are on a leash.
However, as with other famous hiking trails near San Antonio, this one may get quite crowded during peak hours, so prepare ahead because parking is limited.
It’s worth braving the crowds to get to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city below.
Prairie, Painted Bunting, Barred Owl, and Live Oak Trail Loop
This loop replaces heart-pumping aerobics with strolls through broad meadows, prairies, and tall oak trees for individuals who don’t enjoy climbing and scrambling over rocky terrain.
Of course, that means the Texas sun will be shining brightly, so we recommend going early in the morning or late in the evening, and bringing lots of water and sunscreen with you.
There’s a good chance you’ll see some wildlife on your hike. There have been reports of deer, hawks, armadillos, lizards, and snakes in the area.
Guadalupe River State Park, where this path is located, has some of the state’s most rugged and stunning scenery, and it’s only 45 minutes outside of San Antonio!
Bamberger Trail, Curry Creek Overlook Trail, and Golden-cheeked Warbler Loop
The Goldilocks of hiking paths, this pleasant, woodland circle in Guadalupe River State Park is just right–not too short, not too lengthy, and with a good mix of shaded and sunny sections.
The walk will be easy for both children and dogs, while adults will appreciate the peaceful surroundings.
The hike’s highlight is a part that goes beside the oh-so-refreshing Guadalupe River, where you may relax on the rocks along the bank or wade in the clear, shallow water.
The region isn’t particularly crowded, but if you want to hit the trails before they become too packed, go early in the morning.
San Antonio Mission Trail
Without mentioning the Mission Trail, this would not be a piece about hiking in San Antonio.
This is one of the must-see attractions in San Antonio; it allows you to get up and personal with one of Texas’ only 16 national parks and the state’s sole UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Espada are four Spanish colonial missions in the city with fascinating histories and architecture.
Each site is connected by a 2.5-mile trail that winds through farmland, tiny homes, and municipal parks, with plenty of rest points along the way to grab a bite to eat or rehydrate. If walking the entire distance seems too time-consuming, biking is a good option.
San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach Trail
Multitaskers, this one is for you! San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach Trail The River Walk Mission Reach Trail is a must-see for everyone who wishes to go trekking in San Antonio while visiting the sights.
This is more of a stroll than a hike, but it’s an excellent way to see a lot of San Antonio on foot. The path leads you through the city’s heart, with stops at some of the city’s most popular sites.
Check out the historic Bexar County Courthouse’s striking architecture, the ultra-artsy La Villita district, and (for added walking fuel) some of the great restaurants that line the river’s bank.
Moderate San Antonio Hikes
Hill view Nature Trail Loop
With its rocky terrain and steep slopes, this fairly difficult hike is located in Eisenhower Park, about 25 minutes from downtown San Antonio.
The wildflowers that bloom in the springtime color the hills, and an observatory with a sweeping bird’s eye view of the trees, are two of the trek’s highlights.
Keep in mind that this is a popular hiking spot for both residents and tourists, so expect the routes to be packed at times.
On your way there or back, swing at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which is just next door to the park, to make it a full-day trip outside of downtown.
Main Loop to Vista Loop to Fern Del Trail
The Friedrich Wilderness Park has ten miles of trails and some of the best bird-watching in the country.
With drop-offs and dramatic canyons that offer excellent vistas of the Hill Country, this loop is one of the most attractive spots to hike in San Antonio.
It boasts a variety of terrain, with some locations that will make you work up a sweat and others that are suitable for people of all levels.
Keep an eye out for rare bird species like the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler, as well as wildflowers.
During the rainier seasons, some paths are blocked, so check the weather forecast before you travel.
Mount Ol’ Baldy
Mount Ol’ Baldy is the location to go if you want to go beyond San Antonio’s hiking trails and explore more of Texas Hill Country.
The 1.5-2 hour trip from downtown to Garner State Park provides stunning vistas of attractive small towns and rolling hills. It’s also a great way to stretch your legs both before and after the hike.
This out-and-back climb features rock scrambles to keep your pulse flowing and breathtaking panoramic vistas once you reach the summit.
Young children can do it, but the entire family will be sweating by the end.
Cougar Canyon to Hermit’s Trace Loop
This loop in the beautiful Hill Country State Natural Area is one of San Antonio’s lesser-known treks, so you’ll probably have the route to yourself for the majority of the time.
You’ll have to drive about 1.5 hours outside of downtown to get away from the crowds, but there are spots to camp in the park if you want to stay overnight.
The trail includes a wide range of terrains, including severe climbs and descents as well as flat, shady sections. As you climb, the views spread to the horizon, giving you a true sense of being immersed in the Texas wilderness.
Keep a watch out for deer, armadillos, and a plethora of wildflowers, as well as the horses that frequently transport riders along the path.
Your pets are welcome as well, as long as they’re kept on a leash.
Crystal Cave via Horseshoe Canyon and Bridges Trail Loop
This loop is just one of many hidden wonders at Garner State Park. Hikers will enjoy the panoramic vistas of the rugged flora and crystal clear rivers of the Hill Country.
There are areas of the trail that are difficult to navigate, such as loose pebbles and uphill scrambles. Overall, it’s a fun exercise for the whole family with plenty of natural surroundings.
At sunset, the Painted Rock Overlook is stunning, and Crystal Cave is a nice pit stop along the road. You can even climb through the tunnel in pursuit of the grotto’s resident bats–just remember to bring your flashlight!
McAllister Park Blue Loop Trail
This renowned loop is only 30 minutes from downtown but seems like a world away.
While hiking, you’re likely to come close to a few friendly deer and armadillos, and the big Texas oaks and wildflower meadows are well worth appreciating.
You’re in luck if you’re traveling with a canine buddy. McAllister Park also has a 1.5-acre enclosed dog park, as if the paths weren’t enough to keep your dog busy.
Mountain bikers prefer to dominate the Blue Loop Trail, so keep that in mind when walking the narrower sections of the hike/bike routes.
Since this trek has little shade, it’s advisable to avoid hiking during the warm months and bring plenty of water.
Challenging San Antonio Trail
McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is a fantastic place to go hiking in San Antonio and the surrounding areas if you want to get away from the city and into a more tranquil setting. The Homestead Trail, known for its gorgeous streams and tree-lined pathways, is a great place to start for hikers of all levels. This 3.1-mile walk leads you past beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, and rocky outcroppings.
Tower Loop Trail
The Tower Loop Trail is a nice, short trek found in Comanche Lookout Park that is accessible to all levels of hikers ready to do some hiking across different types of terrain and rolling hills.
It is one of San Antonio’s most popular hikes. The walk ends in an abandoned historic tower, which was completed in 1948 but abandoned after the builder died.
What is left today is the stone structure and the gorgeous land that surrounds it – ideal for photos or admiring this eerie tower.