Sunday, July 12, 2009

Government Canyon State Natural Area. San Antonio's hidden gem.

Hidden deep in northwest San Antonio is a secret gem that not too many people know about. A gem so rare that many locals are too busy to take the time to search for it. And yet it is right under their nose. It will relieve stress from a tough day at the office. It will let your kids blow off some steam. Government Canyon State Natural Area is located on 12861 Galm road just outside of loop 1604. The park offers several hiking, biking and running trails. According to the web site Government Canyon is located on 88% of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. The park is also a habitat for the Golden Cheeked Warbler and Karst invertebrates. There are several hiking trails for all kinds of people. For the casual hiker the front country of the park offers Savannah Loop as well as Lytle loop. If you are an advanced hiker, mountain biker or runner Wildcat Canyon, Sendero Balcones or the Joe Johnston route is for you.

Savannah Loop is a family friendly trail that offers hiking, biking, and running for all ages. This trail is 2.3 miles of Spanish moss and native Texas plants and trees such as Mountain Laurel, Ashe Juniper, Mesquite and Live Oak. If you look hard enough you might see a fossil or two located on these winding trails and dry creek beds. I recently took my kids on this trail and the kids had a blast. With my walking stick in hand and plenty of water we navigated our way through the winding trails occasionally stopping to gaze at the majestic Spanish moss trees. On this trail we ran into some people walking their dogs and some people choosing to mountain bike instead of hike. There is a bathroom located next to the parking lot right at the beginning of the trail in case the kids need to go before the hike. Don’t forget to put your trail permit in the drop box located at the trail head so the park staff can be aware of who is hiking.

The Wildcat Canyon trail is located in the back country of the park. This trail is 1.67 miles. This is the more difficult terrain which would be ideal for the more advanced hiking enthusiast. According to the Texas Hill Country Magazine (Summer 06 issue), the Wildcat Canyon trail takes the hiker or biker on a twisting trail that meanders down through the Wildcat Canyon Creek. On the other side, the grade steepens and you are taken up out of the canyon into the hills on the eastern side of the park. The other trails are more difficult and longer such as Sendero Balcones 4.5 miles and Joe Johnston 3.9 miles.

If you are tired out from your hike you can go into to the Recharge Park Store and relax and take in some of the items for sale. T-Shirts, biking accessories, caps, hiking sticks, educational books as well as energy bars and drinks are for sale. There are also vending machines on the property. Cost per person is $6.00 for 13 years and older. Kids are free. The park is open to the public Friday through Monday 7am-10pm. The park is currently under a burn ban. Visitors must bring their own self contained propane unit.

Government Canyon would also be a great resource for different businesses. It would be great for companies looking for team building exercises such as hiking. Businesses can meet at the pavilion or the exhibit hall. Just to get away from the office for a day and escape the stress would be beneficial for all employees especially during the tough economic times. We all can use a little escape.

For additional information please contract Government Canyon at 210-688-9055

P.S There are other hidden secrets out there. You will have to twist a employee's arm to find out the rest.

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