The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.