Medina River Trail

Texas

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Medina River Trail Facts

States: Texas
Counties: Bexar
Length: 7 miles
Trail end points: Medina River Natural Area and Mission Grande (Jim Mattox Park)
Trail surfaces: Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6560824
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Medina River Trail Description

Part of San Antonio's fantastic Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System, which provides dozens of miles of multi-use trails throughout some of San Antonio's most beautiful natural spaces, the Medina River Greenway trail is a real gem in the south side of the city. The trail runs through the wooded land alongside the Medina River - a waterway that provides area plant and animal life with a thriving ecosystem as it runs east to join the San Antonio River. A variety of gorgeous trees including Cypress, Oak, and Pecan line the trail, and it's far from rare to see various forms of local wildlife out on the trail. The river also serves as a popular fishing spot, with many locations accessible right on the trail.

As of 2019, the trail is currently open in two segments. The main section of trail begins at the Medina River Natural Area, where the concrete path heads east along the course of the river, with some occasional switchbacks to help give you a workout. Currently coming to a halt east of Applewhite Road, the city is actively building additional trail to connect to the trailhead at Pleasanton Road, which swaps the river banks for the shore of Mitchell Lake, following the tree-lined perimeter of the lake north to the Mission del Lago subdivision and golf course. From there, the city hopes to one day connect it to the nearby San Antonio River Walk Hike & Bike Path, meaning you could take the trail from the remote natural preserves of the Medina River all the way to the heart of San Antonio. For now, though, the trail serves as an excellent spot for a variety of outdoor recreation and exercise.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at any of the five trailheads along the route: at the Medina River Natural Area off of State Route 16, at the Applewhite Road trailhead, at the Pleasanton Road trailhead, at the Mitchell Lake trailhead just west of U.S. Highway 281, and at the Mission del Lago trailhead at Jim Mattox Park on Mission Grande. To reach the western end of the trail from San Antonio, simply follow State Route 16 south from the city; the trailhead is on the road just south of the intersection with Watson Road.

Medina River Trail Reviews

I grew up in this area I grew up fishing on the river, my wife and I take our three dogs they love the hike so do we

THIS TRAIL IS SOMEWHAT ISOLATED BUT VERY QUIET AND SERENE. THERE ARE TWO STEEP DECLINES AND INCLINES NEAR THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL THAT YOU HAVE TO WALK BECAUSE OF THE EXTREME ZIG ZAG PATTERN BUT AFTER THAT THE TRAIL IS VERY EASY. AT THE END THE LAST 3/4 MILE IS DIRT. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO EXTEND IT A COUPLE OF MILES IN THE NEAR FUTURE. I SAW TWO PEOPLE WALKING AND THREE TRAIL STEWARDS ON MY VISIT. THE ONLY DRAWBACK IS THAT THE RIVER IS NOT EASILY VISIBLE FROM THE TRAIL. YOU HAVE TO STOP AT A REST POINT TO ENJOY THE RIVER SCENERY. I ALSO SAW A WILD PIG AND FIVE LITTLE ONES FOLLOWING MAMA. THERE IS A WARNING SIGN FOR SNAKES BUT I DID NOT SEE ANY. I DID SEE A ROADRUNNER.

I decided to make the trip to this trail instead of my regular Leon Creek ride. I suspected few people would be out there and I was correct. Just 3 other cars when I arrived around 8:00 am. Nice and cool, but getting a little humid on Sunday morning. I have a fixed-speed road bike that is fine for Leon Creek, Salado and the Mission trails. But it was quite a challenge on those switchbacks! I could ride some, but admit I had to walk my bike up 3 of them. There are signs posted stating to walk your bike, so I will be more observant of these when I go again. Also, there was some leftover silt from the recent rains, which slowed me down, but nothing dangerous. Nonetheless, it was a great ride and extremely peaceful out there! I stopped a few times to rest, walk my bike or just take in the scenery. I could only hear birds, the water from the flowing river, the breeze through the tall trees and best of all - no noise from cars! I saw just 3 other bikers and they all had mountain bikes (duh). Next time I will take my mountain bike so I can explore a bit more and make those switchbacks without stopping. If you're getting bored with Leon Creek or the other trails and need a challenge, then check out this trail.

Accordion

While the trail, as it is currently, is only about 14 miles(ish) round trip, it's a beautiful & challenging ride. (I recommend a Mountain Bike as some of the trails are natural, cracked or covered with debris) The Switchbacks are FUN & give riders a great work out. If it's too hard for you to ride, you need to work on your cardio & your skills.
It is out of the way & that could explain why there are fewer people out there. Once it is connected with the more popular Mission Trail (as I understand is in the works) it will be much more occupied. For now, I love riding in a less crowded area that gives you more of an opportunity to see wildlife. Riding by the old Apple White Ranch is also a treat & a look back in time. On my last visit on 8/30/15 I saw about a dozen people & that's up from our visit last spring. I suspect this jewel is currently being discovered.

The Medina River Trail was a disappointment. The scenery was gorgeous and the trail surface was good, however, the layout of the trail made it exhausting. It continually dipped into the river bottom via difficult switchbacks and then immediately back up the other bank using the same kind of switchbacks. I'm no engineer but I'm pretty sure I could design a more enjoyable route. Evidently, I am not alone in my assessment. I was the only person on the trail when I did my out and back!!

If they had engineered this trail like the Leon and Salado Creek trails, perhaps people would use the Medina River Trail.

Although there are some steep slopes, it provides a beautiful ride through the trees in a rural area. We saw a group of 3 wild hogs-too fast to get a picture.

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