"After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value." — G.M. Trevelyan
Hiking trails can be found throughout Texas, whether in our state parks or in our communities. We want to focus on the great trails in Comal County. Some are easy. Some are more difficult. But, they are a great way to get out of the house and enjoy nature while improving your health.
We've listed below a number of trails with links that you might consider for a day hike or a weekend camping trip. There are so many wonderful trails that you will find several to fit your plans. Always remember to wear appropriate shoes and clothing, and a hat. Also, don't forget to bring plenty of water.
Trails and green spaces also offer significant economic benefit to communities. People want to live near open areas and places to take their kids and pets for a walk.
City Council adopts updated hike and bike plan for New Braunfels
By Steve Knight | The Herald-Zeitung
Jan 12, 2021
New Braunfels City Council members on Monday voted 6-1 adopting an update to the city’s 2010 hike and bike trail plan, which the city will use as a trail and greenway planning tool to enhance its transportation and park network. Council member Harry Bowers cast the sole no vote on the item.
City leaders adopted a hike and bike trail plan in 2010, which identified existing and proposed on- and off-street park connections to neighborhood/community parks, schools, and commerce.
That effort was later incorporated in the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan to identify transit and bike/pedestrian needs, alternative transportation networks and connections.
However, the city’s population has continued to grow since the adoption, prompting an updated plan to address population growth and the increasing interest in hike and bike trails.
“We were trying to refresh that old 10-year outdated map,” said Ylda Capriccioso, the city’s park development manager. “We wanted to make sure that the city’s inventory (of completed trail projects) was reflective of many of the changes that have happened in the last 10 years.”
Capriccioso also told council members, the plan update also incorporates newly adopted planning studies, creates a reference guide for standards in New Braunfels based on nationally recognized trail and greenway standards and identifies new trail opportunities.
According to the adopted plan, those new trail opportunities include:
Mikala Compton, Herald Zeitung
Mikala Compton, Herald Zeitung
“We did not modify this list (from 2010),” she said. “ We went back through this list with the consultant and internally to say, ‘what kind of information can we provide to make these particular trails more relevant.’”
Bowers, who represents District 3 on the city’s northwest side, said he was voting no on the measure because none of the proposed trail opportunities are located in that district.
“It’s nothing to do with the work that the (parks and recreation) staff has done or what the consultant has done — I want to make that abundantly clear,” Bowers said. “My vote is not against what the staff is doing, but in good faith, I’m not a fan of excluding a single district from opportunities.”
Bowers added that he did not believe the exclusion of projects on the opportunity list was intentional.
The update also gives city staff, elected officials, development and residents current information on trail corridor planning efforts and will be a planning tool to assist the city in acquiring land for hike and bike trail corridors.
Council members said they would like to revisit city ordinances that prohibit vehicular use, such as ATVs, golf carts or the use of non-maintenance vehicles on hike and bike trails in the near future to determine if stronger language is needed.
The plan and interactive maps are available online at www.nbtexas.org/parks.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommended approval of the plan at their meeting on July 21. The Planning Commission approved the plan at their meeting on Sept. 2.
Trails & Economic Development
Trails and green space are important community amenities that help to spur economic development. From home owners choosing to live along a park-like trail to bicycle tourists making their way from small town to small town, trails are important community facilities that attract people and dollars.
The relationship between well-designed green spaces and trails and economic development has long been understood. Fredrick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect, conducted the first economic impact analysis of urban parks on Central Park, finding a strong positive relationship between this new amenity and property values. The evidence of the positive impact of green space on adjacent land values became “conventional wisdom” (Crompton 2001, p. 9) for park planners and was used to fuel the early park movement in communities around the country. But with increasing competition for scarce resources, this conventional wisdom on the value of parks for economic development was supplanted by wariness to invest in purely recreational resources.
James Curry Nature Center
Over the last decade, however, community leaders and planners, buoyed by sophisticated new economic studies, have once again begun to use greenways, urban parks and trails as economic engines for community revitalization. Mounting new evidence shows an almost universal positive connection between well-designed open spaces and trails and important economic development indicators. As Donna Erickson, author of MetroGreen: Connecting Open Space in North America (2006), recently pointed out, trails and greenways are helping “shape urban growth, contribute [to] critical environmental values, and, indeed, place economic development and neighborhood revitalization”
Great Springs Project Envisions a Network of Trails From Austin to San Antonio
June 28, 2020
Twenty-seven years ago, Deborah Morin watched as the hills, streams, caves, and springs of the Hill Country outside of Austin were being gobbled up by construction.
At the time, Morin was serving on the board of the Hill Country Foundation, where she was involved with efforts to map the watershed for the Barton Springs portion of the Edwards Aquifer outside of Austin.
The vast majority of that land is in private hands, meaning the health of the aquifer and Barton Springs was mostly dependent upon the decisions of private landowners. In Morin’s view, government regulation alone wouldn’t protect these sensitive waterways or preserve the land for generations.
“It doesn’t matter how many laws, how many rules you have,” Morin told the Rivard Report earlier this month. “You have to buy it.”
Read the rest of the story below.
Cyclists ride north on the Salado Creek Greenway Trail near Loop 1604 and Shavano Park. The trail and others could one day connect to a larger regional system between Austin and San Antonio. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report
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Hiking Trails in Comal County
County Line Memorial Trail — Easy
County Line Memorial Trail is a 3.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce
Park at the Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce and enjoy a nice .3 mile stroll just behind the main building.
Madrone Trail — Difficult
Canyon Lake, TX
Nice and rocky 7.6 mile trail that winds it’s way through a peninsula on Canyon Lake. This is a popular mountain biking trail as there are lot of rocky challenges. Cool off in the lake after a hike or ride. Park fee may apply.
Madrone Trail Loop — Easy
The Madrone Trail Loop is a 1 mile loop in a great forest setting. The trail is good for all skill levels, although it is pretty rocky in sections. Dogs are permitted on this trail.
Canyon Lake Gorge — Easy
Canyon Lake Gorge is a guided 2.6 mile out and back trail offering scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.
James Curry Nature Center — Easy
Canyon Lake (1889 Skyline Drive)
James C. Curry Nature Loop is a beautiful 0.9 mile walking trail located on a 52 acre valley near Canyon Lake, Texas that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. It's open from sunrise to sunset. No motor vehicles are allowed, and please clean up any pet messes.
Overlook Park (Canyon Lake Dam Loop) — Easy
Overlook Park trail is a .6 mile loop that encompasses a swimming area and a dam. It's good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September
Old Hancock Trail — Easy
Great trail for hiking and horseback riding. Trail follows the lake line and has very little elevation gain. The trail is a good spot for beginner bicyclists who want to try going off-road for the first time.
Guadalupe River South Nature Trail — Moderate
Guadalupe Park is located below Canyon Dam along the first mile of the Guadalupe River. It features an ADA-accessible parking lot and trailway with fishing pier on the north side. A foot trail is available along the river on the south side of the park. The river can be accessed from the trails for fishing. Please have a state fishing license.
No restroom, camping or picnic facilities are available in the park. Sometimes a portable toilet is provided. The nearest restroom facility is located at nearby Overlook Park near the southern end of Canyon Dam. Overlook Park closes at sunset daily.
Guadalupe River State Park
There are many different trails in this wonderful park: hiking trails, walking trails, dogs leash trails and more. Just looking to take a quick stroll? There are nine easy trails in Guadalupe River State Park ranging from 0.7 to 5.1 miles and from 1,062 to 1,233 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Entrance Fees Adult: $7 Daily Child 12 Years and Under: Free
Kleck Park — Easy
Kleck Park was donated by the Helena Kleck Vivian Living Trust to Comal County on March 6, 2014. The trails are covered with native mulch and provide a stunning view of the natural hill country beauty. Drinking water is not available, so be sure to bring plenty of water as you enjoy this beautiful gift. Kleck Park is located on Stahl Ln, between FM 1863 & Hwy 46.
Honey Creek State Natural Area — Moderate
Entry into Honey Creek is by guided tours only. The diverse geology, flora and fauna make Honey Creek a special place for all visitors using two miles of nature/interpretive trails. No pets are allowed in this State Natural Area.
Panther Canyon Nature Trail — Easy
Panther Canyon Nature Trail is a 1.7 mile out and back trail featuring a lake. It's good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, nature trips, and bird watching. Dogs on leash are permitted.
Dry Comal Creek — Easy
Dry Comal Creek is a 2.3 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Landa Park Loop — Easy
Landa Park Loop is a 1.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Fischer Park Loop — Easy
Fischer Park Loop is a 1.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Heritage Museum of Texas Hill Country — Easy
The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country is a multi-acre layout located midway between Startzville and Sattler on FM 2673. While the museum has over 200 dinosaur tracks and 28 separate trackways made approximately 110 million years ago and is a must see, there is also a lovely hiking trail near the museum. Address: 4831 FM 2673, Canyon Lake, Texas 78133 Phone number: 830-899-4542.
Hiking Trails Questionnaire Report
TRY A TRAIL, OR TWO OR THREE......!
By Frank Dietz
Some friends and colleagues have mentioned their frustration in seeking away from home options while remaining distanced and quarantined in this "selah season." They've mentioned their appreciation for my/our circumstances living as we do with wild and pasture life as our primary neighbors. My suggestions have included, "why not try a trail suited for your interest, ability and purposes!"
We in New Braunfels and Comal County are blessed with local trail options as well as a broader Hill Country context which multiplies the options exponentially both for hiking and biking. There are some excellent resources to pursue. Most local would be the Comal Trails Alliance (comaltrails.org). They identify some nearby options and invite participation in trail development and maintenance as well. Find your comfort zone and head on out!
When I inquired of a small select group of family, friends and colleagues about favorites all of the listings with Comal Trails were on the list. In addition, I was pointed to the rich offerings identified on the All Trails apps for sophisticated phones. Note the options carry with them "degrees of challenge."
Nothing is better food for the soul and one's mental health than a stroll under the canopy of a wooded area or alongside a fascinating creek bed. With "our Canyon Lake" so much more begins to open wide. Be sure to prepare for any stroll with a good walking stick and sufficient hydration, especially in our summer months. Use hardy shoes and take your best sunscreen and repellents as well.
When I asked my circle for some input about "favorites" I also asked for the modest to wildest dreams of additional options. It doesn't take much to surface bold, reasonable, desirable
options. Some suggestions seem doable in the short term; others will take long lead in planning and strategy. Among the suggestions that were coming included, "add a wilderness parcel to Fischer Park in New Braunfels." Some are working on that! Two former Boy Scout campers who grew up in the greater Houston area mentioned "our old camp by the 'Backbone'
known as El Rancho Cima." One was aware the property was for sale but wasn't aware it is being offered in several parcels. The other wondered if anyone(s) would consider trails and camping for the public. Again, I said some of us seek to address this creatively with the County to help a big dream bloom. Are there readers who'd help? Come aboard via our website! Dry Comal Creek which continues to expand and seeks volunteers got mentioned as well. Possibilities abound! Resources are a tougher challenge. Strong energetic involvement is a current invitation by groups working in the County and City!
Some of this reflection comes as our national summer holiday approaches. The traditional gatherings for many of us will be curtailed or impossible. As an alternative, consider a walk beneath the canopy and absorb the gifts of shade and wonders of frequently ignored gifts in the natural involvement. For me that'll include whistling as I go some of the traditional favorite music for the day such as "America, America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "This Land is..." along the way. To be sure, this year will include in the repertoire the timely "We Shall Overcome." The songs in the wooded trail will not mend all that challenges but will lift sights and hopes as the journey continues. Carry a flag if you wish. Join in a safe and distanced way the hikers and bikers this year! Savor the beauty and wonder of this land that is our land!
If you have favorite trails in Comal County, modest or bold dreams of additions, take them to our website at comalconservation.org. We'd love to hear from you this way and begin a conversation/discussion. Such dialogue is welcome and encouraged.
A just published updated, comprehensive guide on how to choose the best hiking GPS the site, Sport Fitness Advisor. It is completely free.
For more information: https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/best-hiking-gps.html
For more information: https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/best-hiking-gps.html
AllTrails app is available for your iPhone or Apple Watch at the Apple store and is also available in the Google Play store for android devices. It can be a convenient guide to the outdoors! With over 100,000+ hand-curated trail maps plus reviews and photos crowdsourced from millions of hikers, find that dog-friendly or kid-friendly trail near you.
Download this app from: apps.apple.com/us/app/alltrails-hike-bike-run/id405075943