When Fairweather Steve suggested Castroville Regional Park as a trail run, I was doubtful. It looks flat. “What are we going to do, run in circles by the river” I thought? But, having faith in FWS to not guide me wrong, we met at the dirt parking lot across from the swimming pool.
When I arrived at Castroville Park, I saw what looked like a Trails map, so I went over to take a look.
Wow! Turns out that the flat part of the park is only 1/2 of the park, the other half does not even show up on Google Maps. And the other half has some trails built for running.
Castroville Park History
This 126 acre park is located on what was once the McMullen Grant, a parcel of land granted to John McMullen by Spain in 1766. After various owners, more than 200 years later in 1974, the city of Castroville acquired the land and turned it into a park.
Castroville itself was founded in the 1840s by German speaking settlers from Alsace, in France.
You might not notice it, but there is a wastewater treatment plant in the middle of the park, a relic from one of the prior owners. Obviously not for swimming, which also applies to the irrigation canal along the west side of the park.
The canal is part of an irrigation system that starts from Medina Lake to the North, and it provides one of the boundary trails for the park.
Today, there are 64 species of butterflies that inhabit the flowery area above the Pool and camping areas. The pool looks wonderful, and I’d love to come back sometime for a swim in the summer, when it is open.
Castroville Park Trails
The trails are numbered and highlighted on a sign at the dirt parking lot. Well, most of them are numbered. There are a few that are not on the map, including the “just as hard as it sounds” Determination Trail on the South side of the trail system.
Steve and I started out with a steep, moderately rough, but brief ascent to the highest point in the park, a white Cross with a heck of a view.
From there, we followed the Canal Trail (#3) back down along the canal. We skipped a few trails heading down to the left and just followed any right-hand branches until we hit the park boundary. We turned onto Determination Trail (Hey, that wasn’t on the map was it?) And proceeded up and down the steep, sloppy, and rooty trail. It was somewhat brutal, but again, luckily, short.
We ended up down at the river, with a magical view of the big tree roots and vines.
Being careful not to disturb the slightly amorous couple we stumbled upon, we headed back to the flats of the park to do the flat dirt loop around the park.
Back at the parking lot, we decided to do another loop.
Steve “How about we do 7, over to 8, then 3 up to 11, then 12 back to 7 then follow that down to 3?”
David “Uuuhhhh….. How about 7 over to 12, then left on 11, and follow 3 back down?”
Steve: “Well, then we won’t get 8, which I want to show you. It has Cool Gulleys!”
David: ” OK, how about 7, over to 8, then 3 to 11, turn right on 12, then back down 7?”
Steve: “Hmmm. OK, so you want to go 7 to 12, then up to 5, then back down 7 to 8?”
David “No, that’s the opposite of what I said.”
Brief silence, then Steve and David both go into full LMAO mode.
We headed up 7 again and I am moderately certain that we got a few other numbers in there:
Castroville Park Map
- Only a 30 minute drive from NW San Antonio.
- If you are running, this is serious technical terrain, but short trails.
- Mix in a few loops to get more distance.
- I did not see any restrooms, but there might be some open in the Summer.
- Main trails are posted well.
- (from Steve) Don’t take non-posted trails or you may end up with an unintentional and dangerous cliff descent.
- Dziuk’s Meat Market is in Castroville, and a great place to pick up steaks for dinner on the way back to San Antonio. In retrospect, I think FWS just wanted the steaks, and the run was a bonus.