Leon Creek Greenway: A Hidden Gem
On the morning of Saturday, August 25, I mustered the motivation to get off the couch and go for a little run. Instead of doing the normal jog around my neighborhood, I took a short drive to one of my favorite local spots, the Leon Creek Greenway. Only minutes from Leon Springs, the closest entrance is Valero Trailhead, located at the southwest corner of 1604 & I-10 (right by the Drury Inn). This scenic trail follows roughly the same path as the creek after which it is named, meandering through much of the City's Medical Center and west side. The trail is a well-maintained concrete path that serves pedestrians and bicyclists alike.
The Leon Creek is an important geographical feature of San Antonio for several reasons. Originating in the hills north of Leon Springs, it serves as one of the two major conduits for the watersheds located directly above San Antonio (with Salado Creek being the other). It is non-perennial, meaning that instead of flowing year-round, it often sits dry for long periods between heavy rains, when it suddenly takes on the features of a raging white-water river. It snakes through the western region of San Antonio before meeting the Medina River near Mitchell Lake on the southside. The Medina in-turn meets the San Antonio River a few miles to the southeast. From there, the San Antonio River flows south to its final destination in San Antonio Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Leon Creek is important to the region from a historic standpoint as well. It is known for serving as part of the original stagecoach route that ran from San Antonio all the way to San Diego prior to the railroad and automobile. It was along its banks in the 1870s that Texas Ranger Max Aue chose to settle with his 640-acre state-issued allotment for his service as a ranger. Already popular as a place to exchange tired horse mounts, Aue chose the area to build the stagecoach stop and small trading post that became known as Leon Springs.
Though much has changed since the days of the stagecoach, the Leon Creek Trailway allows the citizens of San Antonio to enjoy the historic creek. From the Valero Trailhead, I made it a total of 6 miles (3 in, 3 out) in about an hour. The temperature was very pleasant for August in Texas, with a continual breeze and large mesquite trees shading most of the way. Though not currently flowing, I encountered several pools of water throughout my run. Near these pools were the tracks of several animals, showing that wildlife is definitely present in the area. Check out more details from my Leon Creek Trailway run here!
Overall, I highly recommend checking out the Leon Creek Trailway for some outdoor recreation. It is scenic, accessible, and offers locals a chance to experience the history and culture of Leon Springs.
Check out the Trailway Map put out by the City of San Antonio here. As you can see, the city's plans are to run the Leon Creek Trailway even farther north to meet the Salado Creek Trailway by Eisenhauer Park!