A river oasis located just a short drive North of San Antonio, the Guadalupe River State Park offers a popular area for fishing and family gatherings. It is normal to see barbeques fired up on the weekend with kids frolicking in the river. Among the many activities the park offers: trail running. There are quite a few options for a walk or run, some easy and some a bit more difficult. Here is a link to: Guadalupe River Trail Map
The park is located at 3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070:
There are two entrances to the park. The main entrance is from SH46, and there is a North entrance to the Bauer Unit area, from Acker Road. Although I ran in the Bauer Unit, I chose the main entrance. A few reasons for this: I like to support the park with my entrance fee, I like the adventure of crossing the river to start my run, and some of the best restrooms I have ever seen at a state park:
The Bauer Unit is to the North, across the river, and is usually a lot less travelled than the main park. It is also used as a hunting area, so be sure to check with the park for closures before you drive there. This area was settled by German immigrants in the 1800’s. It was eventually transferred to Texas Parks in 1974, the same time that Guadalupe River State Park was formed.
After paying the $7 entry fee, I slowly drove the few miles to the main parking lot. There are usually people crossing the road and kids playing nearby, so please observe the speed limit.
From the parking lot, head down the stairs to the trail along the river then turn right.
Head along the trail until it passes the restrooms and heads back up the hill. At this point, keep left along the river until you get to the rapids. This is the point to cross over and pickup the trail on the other side of the river.
I prefer not to run in wet shoes, so I put on my ‘wet’ shoes for the crossing. The river was not too cold, so no problems there. The rocks in the river can be slick, but unless there has been a lot of rain recently, the water rarely goes above your knees.
I stashed my wet shoes behind a tree on the other side, and put on my dry shoes for the run.
The trails in the Bauer Unit are a combination of old dirt tracks and single track. I printed out a trail map before going, and kept it in a zip lock in my pocket for quick reference. After crossing the river, you will be on River Access Trail. I wanted to circumnavigate the Bauer Unit, so I took a right on Little Bluestem Loop, and then kept hanging to the right at intersections.
The single track and jeep trails are all pretty tame for running. Some small hills and a little rough, but nothing too dramatic. The funnest part of the trail for me was when it got a bit rougher on the Currey Creek Overlook trail. Rocks, roots, and some hills make this are a decent technical run. I was in the middle of this section of trail, just thinking to myself how technical it was. Then I came around a corner and saw a group led tour of about 10 ladies in their 70s and 80s slowly ascending and enjoying a beautiful nature walk. We exchanged greetings as I carefully skirted them on the downhill portion of the slope, then I continued on. Other than that group, I only saw two other people in the Bauer Unit.
Near the west end of the unit is the historical Philip Bauer House. It is fenced in to protect it. It is kind of eerie to go past the rusting and aging structure, with the windmill behind it still happily spinning away.
The run was very enjoyable overall. Hardly anybody else out there, so it is a nice time to run in a relatively remote nature area. The Bamberger Trail was a nice section to just run on the smooth and flats and watch the trees fly by. I did about 9 miles, but you can easily do shorter or longer, with all the trail options here.
- Easy parking and great restrooms.
- Call ahead of check their website for closures.
- Alternate entrance to the North if you don’t want to get your feet wet crossing the river.
- Over all pretty flat and easy, with a small amount of technical.
- Is remote with not a lot of traffic.
- Take enough water with you; no water source North of the river.
- Great place for a peaceful run with just the sounds of nature.
- If you go just off the main trail in a few places you get great views of the Guadalupe River.