Salado Creek Greenway
Updated: Sep 5, 2018
For those who checked out my blog from the Leon Springs Greenway, you know that there are two major creek systems that flow through San Antonio. The Leon Creek runs through the west side, while the Salado Creek cuts through the east. If you run these streams back into their respective watersheds, however, you will find that they originate right next to each other, with a single hilltop separating their watersheds. If you looked at the City of San Antonio's Greenway trail map, you also know that the two trails along these creeks are currently in the process of being connected near Eisenhower Park (as far north as the city can take them without impeding on Camp Bullis). Until that connection happens, outdoor enthusiasts will have to choose which trail system to frequent.
Since I did Leon Creek last week, I figured I'd switch it up and try Salado today. Though a little farther from my home near Leon Springs, it is still pretty convenient by green space and city park standards. The section I ran started at Hardberger Park and went north to its current dead end at Huebner Road. This is a relatively short leg of the trail, as other direction goes all the way through the east side, snaking by McAllister Park, Fort Sam Houston, the AT&T Center, and beyond.
Though not incredibly different than its west side neighbor, I did note a few key differences between Salado and Leon Creeks. For one, the Leon Creek Trail meanders extremely close to the creek itself, with several crossings taking you directly through the center. This placement would make navigation difficult after a heavy rain. The Salado Trail, on the other hand, mostly follows a small limestone cliff about 15 feet above the creek bed. The vegetation is also pretty similar, but I think the Salado has more mature oaks and Cedar trees, providing a little more shade and less direct sunshine than the Leon Creek trail. Neither creek were running, but the Leon did have several stagnant pools, while the Salado appeared to be bone dry. Besides that, both trails are a mixture of concrete and asphalt surfaces shared by walkers, runners, and cyclists. Both were pretty busy on the Saturday mornings I visited them, but not to the point of ruining the experience.
One other difference I noticed was in the wildlife. I did not see much on the Leon Creek, and what I did see disappeared pretty quick. The Salado, on the other hand, is home the a very tame whitetail deer population. I passed within feet of several who hardly even took the time to look up and acknowledge me. My only explanation for this is that perhaps the west side offers a little more green space, making human contact less of a necessity than the east. Maybe they were just feeling friendly today.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Salado Creek, and I have to say I made my 6 mile trek in better time than last week on the Leon Creek trail. I will refrain from designating either as the superior trail, however, electing instead to simply be thankful for the variety of outdoor recreation available to the residents of San Antonio. Pretty soon they will be connected anyway, so we won't have to choose!