This 200 acre oasis of wilderness is located inside the 1604 loop and offers miles and miles of multi-use trails to play on. Deer are so common they are almost a nuisance. One time at the park, I actually had to shoo them off the path so I could keep running. Just off Bandera road, this gem of a park has a lot to offer.
O.P Schnabel Park was originally named Bandera Road Park when it was acquired by the city in 1964. It was later renamed in honor of a local conservationist, O.P. Schnabel. After a trip to Switzerland in 1947, he vowed “If God gives me enough time and strength, I resolve to dedicate myself to work towards making San Antonio the cleanest and most beautiful city in America.”. He faced many challenges with the prevailing attitudes in the city, but worked hard to clean up San Antonio in the 1950s. He once quipped “At first, everyone thought I was nuts. Now that I have some prestige, they just say I’m eccentric.”
The park today offers pavilions, paved paths, off-road paths, baseball fields, and a YMCA. On my most recent run I saw 8 deer, 5 mountain bikers, and a dozen people walking the paved paths.
Head to the East side of the park and you will get into some challenging off-road terrain, as the numerous trails twist up and down the steep escarpment into the Leon Creek trail system.
The terrain varies from flat, wide concrete paths to overgrown steep and rocky trails. You really have a choice of workouts when you get here. As an example, here are some of my visits:
- A 1 mile walk on the easy concrete path with my wife, while we took deer pictures.
- A 13 mile training run – started in the park, then down onto the Leon Creek trail system for the distance
- A 4 mile off-road run with 300 vertical feet over boulders and roots, with some pavement here and there to connect it all. As you can see from my GPS track below, I didn’t even get to all sections of the park:
- Shaded park with lots of options for a run or bike, easy to get to.
- Deer are plentiful
- Nice place for an easy walk or a difficult run
- Head to the East side of the park for the hard stuff
- Stay inside the 2 mile concrete loop for the easy stuff
- On the off-road, keep your head up for mountain bikers; be nice and yield to them.
- For a long run, head downhill on the paved path at the South West corner of the park to the Leon Creek trail system