The amount of wooded trails, wildlife, and dog friendly things to do at McAllister Park make it a contender for the best dog friendly park in San Antonio. McAllister Park is an extremely popular park, one of several in San Antonio, for both humans and dogs.
We have visited parks all over San Antonio, many of which can be found on our site, but we continue to return to McAllister Park for several reasons. It is well known that McAllister Park is a dog friendly park. Could it be King of dog friendly San Antonio parks?
Things to Do at McAllister Park in San Antonio, TX
Hours of operation: 5am – 11pm
- Walk or run with your dog
- Take your friend to the dog park
- Bring you kids to the playground
- Workout at the exercise stations
- Hike or bike 10 miles of natural trails
- Hike or bike 5 miles of paved trails
- Enter the park from three different areas
- Fill up your water at several drinking fountains
- Play baseball, football, or soccer at the sports fields
- Eat a meal at one of four pavilions, or many day-use picnic areas
Dog Friendly Hiking at McAllister Park
McAllister Park is (probably) the largest San Antonio Park
It’s difficult to say whether McAllister Park is the 2nd largest park, or the 3rd largest based on total area. Government Canyon is by far the largest. Although it has well over 10,000 acres, it is a Texas State Park. McAllister Park tops out at just under 1,000 acres.
However, there are supposedly one or two other parks in San Antonio containing more than 1,000 acres. The map seems to tell a different story as some of the larger areas have been broken up into smaller parks. One of those areas is Olmos Basin, which has an extremely interesting history, or pre-history if you prefer.
The other is Rancho Diana Park, which is unfortunately not open to the public. Getting a look at that park would be a nice adventure! Anyway, let’s just say that McAllister Park is near the top of the list in terms of size.
McAllister Park Has the Best Trail Distance
Due to its massive size between Jones Maltsberger and Wetmore Road, the park has (at least) 15 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, joggers, dogs and adventurers. You can choose between nature trails, paved trails, open fields, or hike them all.
If that’s not enough, you can continue through the nearby greenbelt as well. Abbey and I, have been hiking at McAllister Park many times and have not tired of these trails. The McAllister Park Trail Map shows a total of 15 miles, but there are probably more. In fact, there are unmarked bike trails in several locations.
Multiple Parking Areas and 3 Ways to Access McAllister Park
At some parks you need to worry about getting a decent parking spot due to the lack of size. Even though McAllister Park is very popular, there always seems to be parking spaces. The park is filled with parking lots of various sizes from front to back. This is one of my favorite aspects of the park.
You can park near the dog park, the soccer field, the playground, a pavilion, a bbq site, or a specific trail. You are not limited to parking in the same spot and walking around the same loop each time. Is there anything wrong with those types of parks? No. They work perfectly well in certain situations.
The most commonly used entrance is on Jones Maltsberger. There is also a back entrance from Wurzbach Pkwy. Furthermore, you can even enter Mud Creek Loop by parking at Rowe Drive. Who would’ve thought additional parking would be such a great perk? I suppose it’s about options and convenience. Watch out for deer. It’s hard to leave McAllister Park without having seen at least one!
Wildlife at McAllister Park
Speaking of deer, the park contains an abundance of them. I’m sure there are all sorts of wildlife to be seen inside the park, but deer top the list and they are not afraid to be seen. They will stand patiently, 10 feet away and watch, as long as we don’t make a quick move in their direction. I always have to remember to tell Abbey to “leave it”, lest her hunting instincts get the better of her.
A few weeks ago we spotted our first armadillo and it was inside McAllister Park! It was evening, the sun was still out, and the armadillo was wandering in the grass. Abbey thoroughly enjoyed getting up-close-and-personal for a sniff. We saw it again on the way out of the park. At least I assumed it was the same armadillo. What kinds of wildlife have you seen at the park?
A Dog Needs a Dog Park
As any good, dog friendly park would, McAllister Park also has a dog park. At the dog park you will find a dog agility zone in the center, a circular paved path around that zone, and three dog friendly fountains close to the gate.
Of course, you will also see various dogs having a great time, especially during the evening hours. I won’t go into too much detail here because you can read more about the dog park in another article, McAllister Park Dog Park.
Other Amenities to Help Stay Cool
There are only a few other things to mention about this dog friendly park. You will find multiple fountains, restrooms and portable toilets throughout the park. Most of these will be near a parking area, but not every parking area. Most of the dog friendly fountains are close to the dog park, but there are several fountains throughout the park.
We hike with a collapsable water bowl when it’s hot, or if we plan to go the distance. Abbey simply carries the bowl on her harness, which we can fill up at any fountain. Most of the park is well-shaded and filled with miles of wooded trails. Those are my personal favorites.
However, some areas may lead you out of the shade or into open fields. You will learn this if you hike the Blue Loop. Plan ahead by bringing water or locating the fountains inside the park. While the trails are not difficult to hike you may need to watch your footing. Some trails are rocky and others are filled with intersecting roots which may trip you up.
McAllister Park contains four different pavilions. Each are reservable for a fee, except pavilion #3 which is free, but still requires a permit. Like many San Antonio parks, McAllister Park is open from 5am – 11pm. There is more than enough time to hike, bike, bbq, exercise, or play. Enjoy hanging out at one of the best, dog friendly San Antonio parks. The only downside is the noise pollution from the airport, but it’s a small price to pay.
The Case for a King
McAllister Park may not be as large as Government Canyon, but its amenities definitely put it at the top of the (dog friendly San Antonio parks) list. By the way, the gigantic Government Canyon requires a fee because it’s a Texas State Park. It’s hardly dog friendly because of restrictions, and wouldn’t necessarily make the list anyway.
There are many dog friendly San Antonio parks and we have taken a journey through them. McAllister Park may not have a splash-pad, a petting zoo, or a zip line, but dogs do not need those types of amenities. The case is being made for one of the best dog friendly places in San Antonio. Is McAllister Park the King of dog friendly San Antonio parks? I’m asking all you dog lovers out there?
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.