New Braunfels is famous for its German heritage and river activities. The city is currently one of the fastest growing in the country. You will find river activities along the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Unfortunately, you will not find much hiking in New Braunfels. In fact, there are only a few parks with trails, and 11 miles of potential hiking distance. That’s not very good.
Parks with Trails in New Braunfels
There are (at least) 15 parks in this city, and one dog park. Sadly, there are only a handful of trails. The parks with trails in New Braunfels are dog friendly. Most are community parks and each is different. Trail maps are not necessary in New Braunfels because the parks are too small. You will never get lost. It will take merely half a day to hike every trail here, as we have done this year. Each park and its trails are discussed in this article.
Park size: 51 acres
Trail distance: 1-mile loop
Landa Park is the most popular park in New Braunfels, and the largest (if we include Panther Canyon). This is the site of the Comal Springs, forming the very short Comal River, which empties into the Guadalupe River. Although these springs are the largest in Texas, they seem to form the shortest river. Water activities are very popular here when it is warm, but there are several family-friendly activities.
In addition to swimming in spring-fed waters you may also fish, paddle, ride a mini-train, have a picnic, walk your dog, or play golf across the river. Landa Park receives a consistent amount of visitors throughout the year and is free to visit. The park fills up on hot weekends and holidays as visitors take advantage of the springs. You can get more information on the Comal Springs, and their history, on the Edwards Aquifer website.
Landa Park has a 1-mile walkway which forms a loop. It runs along the Comal River, around the park and has two bridge crossings. The concrete walkway has no significant elevation gain and is very easy to manage. However, it does cross Landa Street more than once, and the path of the mini-train. This trail is well-shaded and good for all ages, but you will need to pay attention to traffic. The northwest part of this loop-trail provides access to Panther Canyon Nature Trail.
Panther Canyon Nature Trail
Park size: 49 acres
Trail distance: 2 miles out-and-back
This is the best nature trail in New Braunfels, but it doesn’t exactly have much competition. It runs for one mile from Landa Street to Ohio Street. Panther Canyon Nature Trail is an easy hike for most people, with only a small amount of elevation change. The trail follows a dry creek-bed, which some people use for a path. There is not much to explore in Panther Canyon because subdivisions flank it on either side.
The first time you hike this trail it may be difficult to see the entire path. The private property signs posted on trees give you the feeling the trail simply ends. However, you will find two different trails leading up to Ohio Street if you pay attention. The trails begin to switchback and lead up to street level, so you will need to look to the right.
Panther Canyon does contain a small cave and an overlook, but you may need to explore to find them. Each point of interest can be found near the trailhead at Landa Street. The cave is the easiest to see from the nature trail, but the overlook trail is not far from it. A thin, but noticeable trail will lead you up on the east side of the canyon if you have a keen eye. Let us know if you find these, or other, points of interest along Panther Canyon Nature Trail.
Dry Comal Trail
Park size: 23 acres
Trail distance: 1.2-mile loop
This is one of the only mountain biking trails in New Braunfels. Dry Comal Trail is open for hiking, and it’s dog friendly, but keep your eye out for bikes. Hiking the outer loop will lead you a distance of 1.2 miles. However, there are several inner loop-trails, with a total potential distance of about two miles. These trails are very easy to hike, with no significant elevation gain.
You must enter this park from the northbound side of US-337. Slow down as you drive over Dry Comal Creek because the entrance quickly appears on the right. Do not worry if you pass the entrance because there is a second. The trailhead on the south side of the sports park is the most noticeable, but there is another to the north.
The Dry Comal Trail is good for all ages, and contains trees with Spanish Moss near the creek-bed. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of noise pollution along this trail. Traffic is very noticeable as you follow the loop on the outside of the park, as is baseball practice on the inside. If you do not mind the noise, the Dry Comal Trail will be a quick and fun hike. Just north of this trail you will find Puppy Playland, which is the first and only dog park in New Braunfels.
County Line Memorial Trail
Park size: 3 acres
Trail distance: 4 miles out-and-back
Address: The trailhead is on the south side of County Line Road, but does not have an exact address.
This 2-mile out-and-back trail is the longest in New Braunfels. There is a small parking area on the south side of County Line Road. Follow the trail east and it will end at Seguin Ave. My activity tracker recorded 1.8 miles, but the stats online claim the distance to be 2.2 miles. Let’s go ahead and call it 2 miles, giving it a total distance of 4 miles because you must walk back to your vehicle.
The County Line Memorial Trail passes Kraft Park, Hoffmann Park and Fischer Park before abruptly ending. It follows the “wetlands” of New Braunfels and is suitable for all ages. This trail is not well-shaded and crosses three streets. Walnut Ave. is the most heavily trafficked crossing, but there is a button to stop traffic and cross safely.
You will not find a longer trail for hiking and biking distance in New Braunfels. This is something that needs to change. Although County Line Memorial Trail seemingly leads from nowhere to nowhere, there are several neighborhood access points. Two very nice bridges cross the “wetlands” and allow individuals to get to other parks and neighborhoods.
The trail is dog friendly, but many people do not clean up after their pets. Take some responsibility if you hike this trail with your dog(s). We hiked from one end to the other, made a loop around Fischer Park and back to our vehicle at the trailhead. Our total distance was 4.5 miles.
Park size: 62 acres
Trail distance: 1.2-mile loop
This is probably the second most popular park in New Braunfels. Inside you will find two ponds at different levels, a nature center, splash-pad and hilltop views. Concrete pathways wind through the park and are good for all ages. Despite the hilltop view near the center of the park, there is very little elevation gain here. We looped around the park for a distance of 1.2 miles, but there is a total potential distance of about two miles.
Fischer Park is very family-friendly, and may have more amenities than any other park. Fish and kayak at the ponds, cool off at the splash-pad, visit the monarch station and archeology dig at the nature center, have a picnic, walk your dog, bike, or visit the amphitheater. If you walk between both ponds you will notice they are at different levels. The upper pond collects water, and the lower pond receives the filtered water. Very intriguing.
If you couple Fischer Park with the County Line Memorial Trail you can hike, or bike, for six miles. That’s a fair amount of distance for hiking in New Braunfels, but there is more to be desired. We hiked every trail on this list in less than four hours. The total distance was nine miles, most of which is along unshaded concrete walkways. New Braunfels will need to increase and improve its hiking and biking trails.
Hiking Near New Braunfels
There are several other nice areas around the city including: downtown New Braunfels, Gruene, Hinman Island Park, River Acres Park, and Cypress Bend Park. These areas can be fun to explore, but they do not have trails. Our 9-mile adventure left more to be desired in this fast growing suburb of San Antonio. It doesn’t even come close to our longest hike along the 15-mile San Antonio Riverwalk earlier this year. Fortunately, there are some great parks and trails nearby.
Visit San Marcos and you will find several well-shaded parks with at least 30 miles of potential hiking distance. That is nearly three times as much as New Braunfels. San Marcos is a 20-mile drive north on I-35, and the closest city with decent hiking trails.
If you continue north on I-35, you will eventually reach Austin. Here you will find more than 100 miles worth of trail distance. Surprisingly, several areas are not dog friendly, but it does have more than 10 times the trail distance of New Braunfels. The trails in Austin get incredibly crowded on weekends and holidays.
Head the other direction on I-35 and you will quickly enter San Antonio. Last year, we visited every park with hiking trails in San Antonio, and were amazed by the total distance. Here you will find hundreds of parks and almost 300 miles worth of trail distance. That’s close to 30 times the hiking distance of New Braunfels! Yes, San Antonio is one of the largest cities, but New Braunfels is nearing a population of 100,000 this year.
The best trails in San Antonio leave much more to be desired in nearby cities. New Braunfels needs to improve its recreation areas to appeal more to the hiking and biking population. Opportunities for hiking in New Braunfels must be increased. This city is incredible, growing rapidly, and has more potential.
I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.
We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.
Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.