Eisenhower Park combo hike

I am now back from a spring break sojourn to the Lone Star State, and I did get out and walk around a bit.

San Antonio Riverwalk

Riverwalk tourist boats are actually a great deal

After a few days of touristing, I really wanted to get out of the city and go for a hike.  A web search or two later, and I found two likely spots north and west of the city in Government Canyon State Natural Area and Eisenhower Park.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the temperature was only in the high sixties, and no rain was expected, so I needed little gear.   I dropped our pup off at doggie day care (Lucy’s) as I wasn’t sure if it’d be acceptable to have him on these trails.  Jackie likes to hike, but he loves time with his canine peers even more, so it was an easy choice.

I had a slightly disastrous start to the outing.  After taking an overly long route to the area courtesy of phone mapping, I arrived at the park only to find it was closed. It is only open Friday through Monday.  Oh well.  There went some gas.  So I headed east to Eisenhower Park, a smaller park adjacent to an army base north of the city.

IMG_5858 IMG_5857

As soon as I found the trails, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.   Prickly pear cacti and immaculate signage lurked in strange corners.   The map showed a collection of trails that could be connected.   I set out to link up the Hillview, Yucca, Cedar Flats, and Red Oak Trails.  Sound confusing?  It wasn’t too bad. I just kept strolling along, enjoying a Texas Hill Country environment very different than the Cascadian climes to which I am so accustomed.

I kept trying to figure out which tree was mesquite (don’t know) and what was that cool spikey plant (yucca)  I also kept flashing on snippets of western films.  Josey Wales, for example.   I could see Clint riding through this terrain, looking cool as hell.   Then there were the bat houses built on poles in a clearing. That was unique.

. IMG_5862 IMG_5869

I continued to a high point where there was a an observation tower. I was slightly disappointed to find a parks worker able to drive all the way up on a paved path.  Planes flying over every five minutes or so had already clued me in that this was not a wilderness experience.  The view from the top was decent, if not amazing, but the best was yet to come.

IMG_5871 IMG_5872

Dropping off the backside of the hills, the trail got decidedly rockier, and quieter.  No more paved path.  I opted for the Red Oak Trail as loop.  The woods were lovely with more unique features.

IMG_5876 IMG_5880

At one point the trail got fairly steep, and I actually had to be careful as I walked down some patches of limestone. Mostly I cruised along and enjoyed a peaceful hike.

IMG_5882 IMG_5885

There was a lot of descending, but this was a loop, so guess what, I had to climb back up to the top of the ridge and rejoin the Hillview trail, where I got views again, and also spied the serious fence separating the park from the adjoining military base.

IMG_5889 IMG_5886

After I started heading down again, I started passing other hikers.  Some seemed very out of shape and ill prepared, but others seemed like they were ready for anything.  Eisenhower Park certainly has a range of terrain and trail types.  If I lived in the San Antonio area, I am sure I would visit it regularly.  For now, this would have to do.  All told, I hiked just over an hour, but I could have stretched it out to twice that time quite happily.   There were a number of different ecosystems, with wide open clearings, relatively dense deciduous woods, and rocky gullies.  I’d recommend the area to any hiker who can deal with an occasional steep spot.  If you aren’t ready for that, stay on the Cedar Flats trail.

IMG_5863

If you want more information, some of the signs give a ridiculous amount of info on the trails.   Somebody has too much time on their hands, and it isn’t me.  Hey, I’m probably just jealous that I hadn’t thought to analyze the trail’s average cross slope.  Silly me.

About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on March 30, 2013, in Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Outdoors, Solo Hiking, Travel, Uncategorized, vacations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Glad you got out of the city. Did you see the Alamo?

  2. Looks like Jackie could have gone with you after all.
    I will soon be looking for outings in Atlanta. Finding a good hike right near the city can be challenging – you get an A 😉

  3. Really like your blog Josh 🙂 You should get out to Australia and do a spot of hiking around the Blue Mountains. You’d love it.

  4. Cool blog! Our homebase is Austin, one of the best things about the city is all of the trails around and within the greenbelts. I haven’t hiked this one in SA, but will make sure to!

    • Austin looks very cool. There is definitely some nice hiking down there, and I imagine the weather is fairly cooperative most of the year, unlike Oregon. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: