Right now there’s only one thing that is rivaling my love of writing: hiking. I don’t know when it started, but ever since I’ve gotten the itch, I’ve checked out park after park in San Antonio, TX. Eisenhower Park off Military comes in a close second, but Friedrich Wilderness Park is hands down, the best hiking spot here.
There is something for everyone at this park. There are paved trails that are wheelchair accessible, moderately difficult trails that are covered with tiny rocks, a water trail, a trail that ends at a windmill providing fresh water, mulch to prevent muddy trails in case it rains, and the steepest, most challenging trails for level 4 hikers. Every trail is marked with the appropriate level, how nice. The best part about those steep trails is that they are trails in the middle of the forest, underneath the dense trees, sheltered from Texas’ unbearable summer sun. The steep trails also have steps made of wood branches.
If you are a level 4 hiker, and you want the challenge of the steep trails, the best trails are the Vista and Fern trails. There is one area where you can look above and see the stairs above you, so steep it’s daunting to even step foot on the first step, but once you reach the top, you feel accomplished and have the view of the thick forest greenery.
I continually bring people who have never been hiking before and they are challenged and overwhelmed by the beauty and level of fitness required for these trails. I also scare them at the onset when I ask them to read the sign at the entry:
You may encounter:
and other species
It’s a good thing I didn’t see this sign on my first trek alone! So far, I haven’t run into any animal on my hikes here. The only caveat? No dogs are allowed here. Other than that, just make sure to sign in at the beginning of the hike and sign out when you leave. I believe they check the sign-in sheet and if someone hasn’t signed out, they know to look for them in case mountain lions may have found their dinner. Just kidding, I hope! No, but in all seriousness, make sure to make a right on the main trail, approach what seems to be a gate blocking off a trail, and take a left there. It will lead you to the vista and fern trails. After hiking these trails, for free, not one bone in my body wants to ever set foot in an air conditioned gym again. Why, when you can see nature, open up your lungs to fresh air, and hang out with friends at the same time? Some call it hiking. We call it therapy.