South Texas Destinations: Friedrich Wilderness Park, San Antonio, Texas

I’m trying to remember how my ex-husband and I discovered Friedrich Wilderness Park. I do remember that we accidentally wandered into Raymond Russell Park the first time we looked for it (but didn’t get very far into Russell Park at all — I finally explored that one fully just this year). Friedrich Park ended up becoming one of our favorite parks, though, and we introduced both friends and family to it over the years.

Friedrich Wilderness Park 2015
Friedrich Wilderness Park, San Antonio, Texas 2015

The original land that made up the park was a bequest of Norma Friedrich Ward, who wanted it to be preserved as a natural area and named for her parents, Emilie and Albert Friedrich. Later, two men, Wilbur Mathews and Glen Martin, donated another 52 acres. Interestingly, though, despite its status as a natural area, Friedrich Wilderness Park is not untouched by human hands. I’m not talking about paved paths and the addition of bathrooms and a classroom. A stream passes through the park and where the stream intersects with the Main Loop Trail (and for a while out into the wilderness from there), the stream bed is concrete or cement or something like that. I’ve never been able to figure out how that stream bed got paved or why someone would pave the stream bed.

Friedrich Wilderness Park has eight miles of walking trails, most of which are not accessible to those in wheelchairs. Friedrich is where I first saw the path levels that are used in San Antonio. There is a loop path near the entrance that is level 1, but most of the other paths are level 3 or 4.

Friedrich Wilderness Park is also a nice place to go if you are a birdwatcher. It is one of the nesting sites for the Golden-Cheeked Warbler and the Black-Capped Vireo. Of course, other birds are seen there as well. Unfortunately for me, the Golden-Cheeked Warbler nests in “mountain cedar” (actually a type of juniper) trees, so the park is rife with them. Mountain cedar is a really bad asthma trigger for me, so I need to make sure I bring my rescue inhaler, particularly during the winter, which is when the trees release their pollen. Many people in San Antonio face a different, but related problem, which is more traditional “hay fever”-type allergies from mountain cedar pollen, so take any allergy medication before going.

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