Mud Creek Park is a hidden gem in northeast San Antonio to some, but for others its appearance merely lives up to its name. I’ve been hiking with my dog in Mud Creek many times and we love the unmarked trails. In fact, it has the most unmarked trails in San Antonio.
That being said, it could use some improvements which would appeal to more people. The only public entrance is currently located off Jones Maltsberger Road. I found it hiding just beyond a bridge on the north side of the street when coming from Redland Road. Even though there is a sign, the parking lot is easy to miss.
Hiking at Mud Creek Park is Dog Friendly
How to Get to Mud Creek Park
Hours of operation: 5am – 11pm
The only way to access the park by vehicle is off Jones Maltsberger Road. There are very few spaces in the parking lot, and several pieces of painted art attached to stone blocks, but I’m not sure what they represent. There is also a large portable toilet, which is the only one in the entire park. Right next to the portable toilet there is a locked gate. This type of gate is usually at the entrance to the parking lot, but here it is blocking a dirt road.
It is obvious that vehicles currently use this path to get into the park. Mud Creek Park is open from 5am – 11pm, although you probably don’t want to be in the park after dark. Pass the gate and you will (currently) see new construction to the left and a barbed wire fence to the right. Unspectacular, although the scents seemed to excite my dog.
Continuing toward the hiking trails and you will see the manmade dam to the right. Interesting. However, that entire area is not accessible and is restricted by a chainlink fence. However, I see people hiking inside sometimes. The trails do not come in until you pass the entrance to the dam. In my opinion, the parking area should begin in this location.
The Trailhead was Made by Vehicles
At the trailhead (which is also the entrance to the dam) you may choose to turn left or right. Heading to the left provides more options as the area opens up. Head to the right and you will pass between the chainlink fence and a small wooded area. Watch your footing. This trail may be difficult because of large sliding rocks. Furthermore, the rocks may be uncomfortable under tennis shoes, or non-hiking shoes.
The direction of the trail becomes much less obvious as you continue to the service route from the dam. There are wooded areas where trails go through from one end to another. The route marked by tires is very noticeable. It seems like trucks need to access sewers around the park on a regular basis. More than a few are marked in green spray paint. You can adventure along the truck route, or follow trails through the woods.
The Most Unmarked Trails in San Antonio, TX
The park contains no map and no markers. During spring and summer it may be more difficult to get through certain trails. Wearing pants would be your best bet in Mud Creek Park. The service route is easy to follow most of the time. You can make your way around the park in a loop using that trail, and some of the bike trails. Many trails connect to the service route.
We tallied four miles by completing a full loop around the park, and almost five miles including many of the bike trails. Mud Creek Park definitely has more than a few miles of hiking trails. The total trail distance is difficult to determine because they are not marked. I imagine there are 5 – 6 miles of unmarked trails in the park.
You can easily spend a couple of hours getting lost in the woods. Our furthest distance was five miles without doing too much backtracking along the trails. Mud Creek Park is a very natural hiking area. The difficulty of the trails is at an intermediate level at best. Many hikers may find the trails easy. However, the rocks, mud, weeds and lack of markers make it more difficult for beginners.
Elevation gain is minimal within the park. We found only 10 floors worth of elevation change along the trails. Maintain an awareness of your position at all times, as well as the direction from which you came. You will have to return unless you plan on hopping a fence. We notice deer in the park each time we hike. Once we found a plastic deer lying in the grass. Abbey was extremely interested in that one!
The View Inside Mud Creek Park
I haven’t seen a top view of Mud Creek but it seems like a valley from the inside. You can see buildings and cliffs around most of the park, especially on the north side. Keep an eye out for a staircase leading up a cliff which can be seen from the trail. Somewhere near the middle of the park you will find a sinkhole. Access is blocked by steel bars, and I couldn’t help wondering how far down it goes.
You can get a pretty good view from the top. Some fools threw aluminum cans down there. You can find the spot by following the service route from the dam. There is an above ground cave in the park as well. If you search for it, it’s off the beaten path and you will notice it has been defiled by spray paint.
Part of the loop trail runs by a subdivision on the south side of the park near Turkey Point. In that area there is a locked gate which can provide vehicle access from the subdivision. This would be a good spot for more parking, as well as a fountain, or playground. Multiple access points may encourage additional visits.
Occasionally the city releases water north of Loop 1604. When this happens it runs through the park in snake-like fashion and pools at the dam. Running water is rare inside the park, but it’s nice to see it when it happens – I was able to capture it in the video above. Beware the park when water has been standing. The stench is barely tolerable and bugs will be swarming.
I considered creating a simple map for the park, but tossed the idea aside. Unmarked trails can be more adventurous and enjoyable. If you enjoy the unmarked natural trails, Mud Creek Park is for you. It has more than any other park in San Antonio.
Get lost and gain solitude! It’s a very dog friendly park, but it lacks some of the amenities of other parks. Checkout its neighbor Gold Canyon Park, if you prefer an easier hike with a different view.
On our last trip through Mud Creek Park I noticed it may be possible to get to Gold Canyon from underneath Loop 1604. In fact, it appeared as though some mountain bikers had already been taking advantage of this alternate route.
Other Unmarked Trails in San Antonio
Most of the trails in San Antonio are marked, and many of these parks contain a map. Unmarked trails in San Antonio seem to be made by bikes, trucks, or water runoff. You can find trails such as these at McAllister Park, OP Schnabel Park, Bamberger Nature Park and Olmos Basin Park. Each of these parks are popular places for biking, and hiking in San Antonio.
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.