The Feed: Not in My Back Yard

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If you like zigging and zagging, this is the place for you.

tom trevino headshotThe continued growth along the Broadway corridor, the emergence of Southtown, and the offering of sights and sounds in our historically significant downtown area mean it’s pretty easy to find places to go and things to do. Add in Alamo Heights and the Museum and Mission Reach, and it’s pretty easy to get locked into a relatively small geographical bubble within a large, diverse city.

If only there was some type of guide or reference material that could show us what lies beyond Loop 410; especially when it comes to wellness related points of interest and outdoor activities. Some kind of ‘fit map’ to show us what we might be missing…

You’re in luck, because here it is.

The San Antonio FitMap is available at area YMCAs, local libraries, and parks and recreation community centers.

The San Antonio FitMap is available at area YMCAs, local libraries, and parks and recreation community centers.

Thanks to FitCitySA, we how have this handy guide of farmer’s markets, parks, B-Cycle stations, and other fitness opportunities throughout San Antonio.

Even if you grew up in the city like I did, what you might find is that there are certain pockets of our home town with parks and recreational areas you never knew existed – or places that you may have been in the past that have now been redeveloped to encourage activity and wellness.

There are now more places than ever to safely hike and bike in our city.

There are now more places than ever to safely hike and bike in our city.

Fitness classes at Pearsall Park, the Medina River Greenway, the farmer’s market at Jack White Park – these are all signs that our city is morphing into something new, and giving more and more of it’s citizens the opportunity and ability to live a little healthier. It’s also a sign that there’s still plenty to explore even if you’ve been plugged into the active community for years.

Game for something new, I picked out the Leon Creek Greenway for a little adventure. I’d ridden the Mission Reach and Salado Creek paths almost exclusively for the last couple years and while I enjoyed all they had to offer, I was in need of some novelty.

A detailed map of the Leon Creek Greenway.

A detailed map of the Leon Creek Greenway.

Years ago, I actually lived on the north west side of town near O.P. Schnabel Park where I started my ride, but that was before the Greenway was constructed and updated in December of last year.

I was curious to see the improvements, and how this set of biking and walking paths compared to the others in the city.

If I was smart, I would have studied up a bit and entered the greenway neat the Valero trailhead at 1604 and I-10, where I could have cruised almost 15 miles north to south unencumbered.

That would have been the smart thing to do…

Instead, I opted to start out from the park, where finding the entrance to the bike trail was a little challenging, and included a small stretch down a somewhat beaten blacktop. But once I found the main path, things looked promising; there were plenty of folks out walking, jogging and riding, on the fresh, smooth concrete, and I passed several serious cyclist clad in lycra taking full advantage of the car free roadway.

The trailhead near Ingram Park mall is conveniently located next to a Via bus depot.

The trailhead near Ingram Park mall is conveniently located next to a Via bus depot.

A little unsure of exactly where I was going, I ended up exploring the entire southern half of the trail and its offshoots, from Braun Road down to the Via Park and Ride station near Ingram mall, a stretch of about 6.5 miles.

Along the way, the most notable difference between this greenway and the Mission Reach were the trees, which seemed to canopy and surround certain parts of the trail.

Tree covered paths along the Leon Creek Greenway.

Tree covered paths along the Leon Creek Greenway.

And the biggest difference between Salado and Leon was this: curves. Lots and lots of twists and turns throughout, including a terribly fun downhill cloverleaf that tucks under Grissom Road.

If you like zigging and zagging, this is the place for you.

If you like zigging and zagging, this is the place for you.

The curves are a nice break from the long monotonous stretches on some of the other paths, but do make it feel as if you’re eternally lost, and can rack your sense of direction if it isn’t keen to begin with.

On the other hand, if you’re on skates or a longboard, I imagine the experience is hard to beat.

You do kind of miss those wide open vistas the Mission Reach offers, along with the companionship of the San Antonio River itself, and the rest areas and finish out seem to be lacking a bit (plus there’s no B-Cycle stations), but just having a new place to trek through seems its own reward and reason enough to give it a try.

And when the leaves change color a bit more more, it’s bound to add even more character to the trail.

A colorful bridge along the Leon Creek Greenway.

A colorful bridge along the Leon Creek Greenway.

Overall, it was good to get out and try something new, and the 25 minute drive was easily forgotten within the experience. As to what lies on the northern end of the Leon Creek Greenway? I don’t know yet, but I’m looking forward to heading that way soon and finding out.

 

Tom Trevino is a writer and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. His weekly column covers anything and everything related to health and wellness. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with certification and training from the Cooper Institute. He has a fondness for dogs, NPR, the New York Times, and anything on two wheels. When he’s not writing, training, or cooking, you can find him wandering the aisles of Central Market.

 

See All in This Series: The Feed

The Feed: Sweat Equity and the Philanthropic Workout

The Feed: Disorder in the Food Court

The Feed: The Future of Cycling in San Antonio

The Feed: It’s Okay to 5K

The Feed: Innovation and Wellness at the Witte

The Feed: Siclovia – It’s a Party and You’re Invited

The Feed: Tuned In and Tuned Out

The Feed: Healthy Challenge Champs Defend Title

The Feed: Salud America Weighs in on Latino Childhood Obesity

The Feed: Keeping Your Cool Amid the August Heat

The Feed: Diet Disasters and Diet Masters

The Feed: If The Shoe Fits…

The Feed: Kitchen Tips from a Kitchen Pro

The Feed: Free Summer Fun, Updates, and Inspiration

The Feed: Sharing My Big Fat Secrets to Inspire Others

The Feed: Healthy Holiday Grilling

The Feed: Two Guys Aim for Downtown Grocery Stores

 

4 thoughts on “The Feed: Not in My Back Yard

  1. Great article about Fit City and the greenways!

    We recently moved back to San Antonio after living just north of SA in a small town for about 12 years and we are really enjoying all the new trails and greenbelts. Leon Creek Greenway is our new go-to spot for a fantastic bike ride!

    The northern portion is very nice; it is uphill most of the way, but the ride back down is fun. There are tons of off-trail mountain bike trails too, around Bamberger Park. The wildlife is so pretty with abundant wildflower fields in the Spring, plus birds, snakes, rabbits, coyotes, deer, etc. I do agree that there should be more water fountains and rest areas, but it’s a little more wild than the Mission Reach.

    We visited the Mission Reach recently and it is gorgeous! Looking forward to biking there occasionally as well.

    I’m so glad that San Antonio now has fantastic greenbelts and trails ~ it makes exercising a lot more enjoyable and seem less like work!

  2. I’ve ridden the Leon Creek & Salado Creek Greenbelt trails many times. They leave me hungry for more. Unfortunately Salado Creek’s trail peters out into a wilderness of abandoned construction projects. COSA & my city council rep. tell me the process is bogged down working out how to transit Fort Sam Houston.

    Does anyone have a suggestion how to move forward with this? Can we recommend some quiet surface streets to bypass the Ft Sam area and get back to the existing creek Greenbelt at Jack White Park?

    The Leon Creek Greenbelt is wonderful. But leaving the Ingram Road Transit Center on a bicycle is a challenge for the best cyclist. This too needs work.

    We have a world-class set of facilities coming together. It could be even better!

    • I’m curious if anyone has any ideas for this yet. I love biking the North and South parts of this trail, but have yet to attempt going around or through Ft Sam.

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