Driving between Austin and San Antonio we needed something to break up the day a little and chose to do a hike in the afternoon. Government Canyon looked interesting and the family was up for a small stop. For some reason no matter what our plan is hiking always takes us longer in Texas. This was no exception….
Government Canyon has over 40 miles of hiking trails according to their website, this place is huge! They offer camping and we would like to try staying there in the future. Camp sites are only $18. Over the Christmas holiday the park is open more days than the usual weekends. We hiked on a Tuesday and still encountered a dozen people over our trek. The cost to use the park is $6 an adult. Kids under 12 are free.
IF it has been raining the trails will be closed. I would not want to be stuck out hiking in a heavy rain event, you could visibly see where deep flooding has occurred. So please check the Facebook page before heading out. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Government-Canyon-State-Natural-Area-Texas-Parks-and-Wildlife/305329736542
We parked and paid at the nature center with ample bathrooms. Those are the only bathrooms we saw so I would recommend you use them before setting out on your hike. Going in I knew it was 3 miles one way to our destination. No big deal!
But this was much more hiking than walking. The trail is very uneven and rock covered in several areas. I was too busy looking at my footing to take many pictures.
There were cute little signs like IF you do not have water at this point turn back. And part mile markers either direction to remind you how far you really did not walk the last fifteen minutes.
The rattlesnake sign was at the almost halfway point.
We chose to walk up to the overlook as suggested by the park employee to get a better view of the dinosaur tracks. Where I come from scenic overlook is a deck or some sort of fenced in area that you cannot fall from. Not so in Texas!
My vertigo self had to walk away and not imagine my child falling several stories off the cliff. We made the choice to finish the over look trail to view the ZIZELMANN HOUSE. Not really worth making the extra mile trip for our family. It is an odd story about the house being built way out there by a family who lived in San Antonio.
We looped back around to the river and got closer to the dinosaur tracks.
The spring water covers the more defined tracks. And they are fenced to keep you from climbing all over them.
Now for fun lets look at this cliff that Daughter is standing in front of. That is the cliff that overlooks the dino tracks in the water. Not a short fall so keep an eye on small kids if you walk the overlook.
We were hiking the in park for almost three hours traveling over 7 miles. Take water with you, all three of us had finished our water by the time we got to the car. Our weather was perfect in the low 70’s. You know your family but high 90s with humidity I think would keep us away from trying this one.
Two families we saw had packed full lunches and were enjoying sandwiches by the river before walking back. If you are spending the day a couple of miles before the park on 1604 is a new Walmart and CVS for picking up snacks or lunch if you wish.
The Government Canyon park is an hour and a half from Austin. And forty minutes from the San Antonio Riverwalk.
Here is a link to a PDF of the park trails. http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/park_maps/pwd_mp_p4505_0165e.pdf
More information here: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/government-canyon
12861 Galm Rd
San Antonio, TX 78254
Hours :Open Friday through Monday; Closed Tuesday through Thursday Gate is open from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. On major holidays, Government Canyon will open for additional dates for day use visitation.