Most university campuses have opted to cancel Spring Break due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Here at Texas A&M-San Antonio, it is no different. We have just gone through a year of a pandemic and a winter storm like no other due to our power grid failure. We are in desperate need to blow off some steam and put down our books and laptops. Although we may not have a full week off, we still have our weekends to enjoy some free time and unwind through this hectic semester. A good way to have some fun while following CDC guidelines is to go on an outdoor adventure! I enjoy taking in some sun and exploring nature in my spare time when I’m not sitting in front of my zoom classes or trying to catch up on some studying. I’ve listed some local spots and some short road trips to take from campus for hikes, bike trails and nature walks. They are listed below by their distance from campus, enjoy!
1. Medina River Natural Area
This is the best place to enjoy nature and the closest to campus! A short 5 miles away from campus and you’ll be able to walk along the beautiful Medina River or choose a more rigorous hike with hills and an off-the-beaten-path feel. Make sure to get there with enough time because they do close at sunset. I enjoy taking my bike and riding through some of the trails and if you love taking pictures make sure your camera is charged up because there are some beautiful spots for some nature pictures. There’s also accessibility to fishing if you’d like to just sit down and relax for the day and they are dog friendly with water fountains that are accessible for your fur babies. Click the link below for a map of their trails.
2. Espada Park
The next park is 8 miles away from campus. This park is a part of the riverwalk expansion and you can go through several parks while biking and eventually hit downtown if you’re up for the challenge. These trails are very popular with cyclists and there are also some gravel trails if you have a mountain bike! On weekends, they have kayak rentals at the main entrance so you can kayak down the river. There’s also fishing accessibility as well as some hidden gems down some of the trails. One of those hidden gems is the restored ruins of the Hot Wells Bathhouse and hotel and you have to check it out. I think it’s one of the most random and coolest things to see hidden behind the trees. https://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/SABikes/BikeRoutes/SABikeRides_WEB%206.pdf
3. McCallister Park
McCallister park is across town and takes about a 35-minute drive from campus. The park has some cool bike trails, and a beautiful dog park so your pup can get out and get some exercise too! They just installed a new pump park as well as a small mountain bike course which is lots of fun and the regulars who use the pump park are easy-going and are patient with beginners who’ve never been to one! It’s the only pump park in San Antonio so it’s definitely worth checking out! Plan accordingly because they are only open from sunrise to sunset. https://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/Parks/pdf/McAllister_Overall.pdf
4. Government Canyon State Natural Area
This 12,000-acre wilderness area is a 35-minute drive away from campus. No reservation is required; however, their hours vary due to the ongoing pandemic. Check their website and hours before heading out! There is also a $6 entrance fee since this is a state park. They have 40 miles of trails, and 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks!!! Click the link below to plan your next trip! Please remember to leave no trace when exploring these natural areas.
5. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
The last park on our list but one of the most popular is Enchanted Rock, located 20 minutes past Fredericksburg, Tx. It’s about a 1 hour and a 45-minute road trip from campus. The most popular route at the park includes the hike up the pink granite mountain, enchanted rock. It is roughly 1800 ft. high in elevation but not too difficult, you’ll see many children taking on the climb very easily. You must make a reservation online in order to enter the park. It’s $8 to enter, check it out now, reservations are filling up fast!
You can take an early morning hike and relax at the park before heading back into town and grabbing some food, shopping at the cutest boutiques in downtown Fredericksburg or check out some wineries while you’re there. We advise leaving early in the morning and doing a little of each.