I was in San Antonio for a meeting at the beginning of this week. When I got there Monday, I drove out to a big state park to try hiking, but the place was closed. So after the meeting Tuesday, there was not enough time to drive out that far, so I picked Eisenhower Park. It was about a 10-min drive from my hotel. Tuesday was unique in that San Antonio set a record high of 103F for that day. There was an occasional breeze, but the humidity was in the 90%+ range, so by the end of the day I was soaked! Shorts, socks, shirt, pretty sweaty. The good news: there was an Academy at the turnoff for the park, and they had boots on sale! So I bought a new pair and broke them in on this hike. I hope they last as long as the Cherokees I bought in 1992.
There were water fountains in the park, but I didn’t see any faucets, so you might want to fill up your water bottle before coming out.
I got there around 1400 and hiked until 1700. There were thunderstorms brewing the entire time I was there, but I didn’t get any rain. The clouds did block some of the sun, making it slightly less relentless. There were maybe three cars in the parking area when I got there. There are a lot of pavilions and picnic tables around the parking area.
First of all, this is pretty much desert.
A significant part of the trails are paved, so part of it is accessible. I chose to take the Hillview trail, which essentially goes around the perimeter of the park. It starts off as a road, but then quickly changes to a path.
Note the little thunderstorm in the distance. That puppy kept the park shaded for the first part of the hike, very nice.
In several places, they have this sign.
I looked the entire hike, but no cougars (darn it). In fact, there was little wildlife. Some birds and a couple squirrels was about it.
This is typical of the trails. Nice and wide.
The first part of the trail (the southeast part) is next to a quarry. There are several signs on the fence that say “Quarry, Danger, Keep Out”. One of the signs is next to a park with kids toys to play on, on the quarry grounds, so I thought that kind of amusing.
While I have always thought of San Antonio as flat, it is in close proximity to the Texas Hill Country, and as such Eisenhower Park has some elevation changes. You can see the trail is uphill a bit farther on from where this picture was taken.
On the west side of the park, but not on the highest point, is a nice observation tower. You can see a quarry and downtown from there pretty well.
A little later, a thunderstorm that had brewed up north of San Antonio moved into view. There was some wind damage from the storm, and I think it came from a microburst. In this picture, you can see the characteristic “backsplash” of the microburst downdraft.
I took a detour off the Hillview trail on to the Red Oak trail. It goes a bit down and back up, and is a lot rockier. You get to do some stairstepping along here was well.
Coming down the northeast part of the Hillview trail, I started seeing more thunderstorms to the northwest of me, headed generally my direction. I had intended to take another trail, but decided against it since I was hearing more and more thunder.
This was a nice park, and a nice way to spend a couple San Antonio hours not in a hotel room. I logged 3.9 miles per the GPS. The sweating part was not so much fun, but it was a pretty area, you couldn’t hear much in the way of traffic or machinery, and it was close to the metro area.
This is the GPS track map overlayed on Google Maps.
And this is the altitude plot. It looks seriously hilly until you look at the scale – about 200 feet total.
Fun hike, recommended. One thing I noticed was there there have been a number of Eagle Scout service projects at the park, including some of the trail signs, the maps, etc. I think that is great!