South Texas Destinations: Concepción and and Crownridge Canyon Parks, San Antonio, Texas

I’m running these out of order.  I missed two, so I’m publishing this now and will follow up with Comanche Lookout and Cibolo Nature Parks in another week or so (maybe longer if I do end up exploring downtown San Antonio for Pokéstops in the next few days).

I have to admit that I haven’t spent that much time at Concepción Park. Alex and I explored a little, and it seems to be a nice addition to the neighborhood around there, with a swimming pool, a playground, picnic tables, and sports fields. Unfortunately, it is relatively low on shade and the only walking trail is only 0.5 miles (0.8 km). Alex and I were at the park primarily as a parking lot for the Mission Reach part of the San Antonio River Walk.  Concepción Park, including the attached Sports Complex, are around 76 acres, which isn’t that large, but by my estimate, it’s around a mile along the river, which took us two tries, since we had our elderly dog with us the first time. We had to stop so that she would have the energy to make it back to the car.

My family and I have spent many happy hours at Friedrich Wilderness Park (post to follow later). One day when the now-ex and I were heading home from Friedrich, we passed a sign for a Crownridge Canyon Park. Curious, we turned at the sign and got utterly lost trying to find the park.  We did see a wild turkey, however, when we accidentally drove into the parking lot of the Palmer Course at La Cantera, so there’s that.

This was back around 2006, in the days before everyone had Google Maps on their phones so we turned around and headed home. We figured out that we missed a turn onto Babcock and made another attempt a while later, but didn’t see the park then, either, due to having missed yet another turn that we didn’t know about.

I finally found the park for the first time sometime around 2009 or 2010 after my divorce and when my dad moved in with me and it really was worth the effort.

The area which is now Crownridge Canyon Park was, at one time, purchased by a company that wanted to put houses in that area. However, that land is in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and is also part of the nesting range of the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, both of which are pretty compelling reasons for the city to buy the land and mark it for public use. Eventually, from what I can tell, there is going to be one greenway including Crownridge Canyon, Friedrich, and the new Rancho Diana parks.

Crownridge Canyon is a great place for birders. As I mentioned, the golden-cheeked warbler and turkeys are both endemic to the area. The park also has bushtit and the last time we were there, Alex and I saw a really pretty (and still unidentified) blue bird in the parking lot.

Hill Country Water Cycles
Oscar Alvarado, Hill Country Water Cycles, 2005 (you can see the rocks of the stream off on the right-hand side)

The park has a public art display, Oscar Alvarado’s Hill Country Water Cycles, which consists of a wall and floor mural and also a model stream created with collected rainwater. The drive up to the park may be worth it just for the artwork.

Crownridge Canyon has 1.8 miles of hiking trails in a sort of figure-8 shape. The bottom loop of the 8, which is 1.3 miles, is kind of steep, but paved, so people with quite a bit of upper-body strength should be able to make the path in a wheelchair. The top loop, which is 0.5 miles, is steeper and is unpaved, so it may be unpassable by wheelchair users.

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