Crownridge Canyon Natural Area
Alright guys, I don't know about you, but all this wet weather is starting to get just a little bit old. Having lived in San Antonio pretty much my whole life, I know how badly we need the rain, and I am always happy to pick up a few inches here and there. That being said, I am also just like any good San Antonian in saying that I thrive off beautiful weather, and my morale takes a pretty heavy hit when the sun disappears. Tired of Saturday mornings on treadmills (or maybe the couch), I took my chances of getting wet and went for a run in one of my favorite local spots: Crownridge Canyon Natural Area. While I was able to get a good run in, I finished and ran to my car just in time to narrowly escape an intense passing downpour that otherwise would have soaked me to the bone.
Located at 7222 Luskey Blvd, right behind Lutheran High School, Crownridge Canyon is a great park for several reasons. Unlike the linear Leon and Salado creek trails I like to run in the area, Crownridge Canyon offers a loop trail system. This is especially helpful when rain is in the forecast, as you may need to make a quick dash for the central sheltered area. Also unlike the creek trails, Crownridge Canyon is located very much in the hills above San Antonio. These hills, and the accompanying elevation shifts, offer both a great workout and some nice views of the surrounding area. Lastly, the hill country scenery provides great examples of the flora, fauna, and geologic features common north of San Antonio. The Red Oak trail, which I stuck to, is a 1.3 mile, moderately trafficked asphalt trail great for walking or jogging.
The park is also great for its focus on educating the public. The central meeting area offers a few interesting exhibits on the regions' natural history, including prehistoric science, wildlife, and early human presence. It also gives a great explanation of how the local Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, which is present in the Park, operates from a geologic perspective. Rain occurring in the northern hills runs down into central limestone valleys, where water drains into the "Karst", or swiss-cheese like, formations of the Edwards Aquifer. This process is called "recharge", and it happens across northern Bexar county as stormwater runoff travels south towards the Gulf of Mexico. Walking or running through the park, you can't help but notice the deep limestone canyons between hilltops where the recharge zones are located.
At 1.3 miles per loop, I made my regular 6-mile run in a little less than 5 laps. Though the cool, overcast day offered ideal running conditions, my time was a a little slower than my creek-trail runs. I this was primarily due to the more dramatic, challenging elevation shifts the Red Oak trail entails. It was a beautiful run, as all the recent rain has reinvigorated the wildflowers blanketing the hillsides. Check out more details of my workout here. If you're looking for a local spot that embodies the hills, canyons, and wildlife of the Texas hill country, you won't go wrong with the Crownridge Canyon Natural Area!