Though the city of San Antonio offers plenty of things to do and sights to see, sometimes you just need to get away from the city for a little bit and explore some of nature’s best attractions. Fortunately for residents of San Antonio, the perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle is located only 16 miles away at Government Canyon State Natural Area.
Government Canyon State Natural Area is a 12,047-acre ecosystem created during the 1980s to preserve the water supply of the Edwards Aquifer – a main water supply in San Antonio and south central Texas. In 2005, the park was finally opened to the public, giving visitors a chance to camp, hike, and explore the rugged canyon lands and gently rolling grasslands of the area. Here are just a few of the things you can do while visiting Government Canyon State Natural:
For those interested in making a camping trip, the Natural Area offers 25 different campsites for various group sizes, including two group sites that allow up to 16 people/site. Parking, water, and toilets are all located near each site as well, allowing you to “rough it” without getting too roughed up. Overnight camping is limited to Fridays and Saturdays, however, so plan for a weekend trip.
Hiking, Biking, and Trail Running
The Natural Area provides visitors with access to more than 40 miles of hiking and biking trails that cover almost every corner of the area. Whether you’re looking to go on an overlook hike of the canyon, a bird watching expedition, or you just want to take a stroll through some Texas hill country, the trails of the Natural Area offer a little bit of everything for those with a sense of adventure.
For those interested in learning more about the Natural Area as they explore, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) offers a variety of educational opportunities for visitors. Activities can include guided hikes from park rangers, canyon explorations, and stargazing trips to name a few, but you should check out their upcoming calendar of events to find a schedule of what’s happening soon. For families with children, don’t forget to ask about the freeJunior Ranger Explorer Pack, which comes equipped with a pair of binoculars, magnifying glass, sketchbook, nature guides, and more!
Plants and Animals
Because the ecosystem at the Natural Area is so well preserved, it is home to numerous and diverse species of plants of wildlife, including two endangered species: the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo. For visitors interested in doing some nature watching, they can see a variety of native plants and animals, including wild turkeys, armadillos, white-tailed deer, opossums, porcupines, ringtailed cats, and more!
For San Antonio residents looking to get away from the city for a little bit, Government Canyon State Natural Area is the perfect outdoor escape for all ages. Daily entrance fees are only $6 for adults, and is free for children ages 12 and under, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank, either. For more information about the Natural Area and its current openings and conditions, please their website and Facebook page.