OP Schnabel Park is on the northwest side of San Antonio, and contains 200 acres of well shaded space for your hiking, or biking pleasure. The Leon Creek Greenway runs through the east side of the park, and is a popular biking route. Formerly known as Bandera Road Park, it contains several miles of trails. The terrain varies, and the trails are heavily trafficked by hikers, bikers, and dog walkers. OP Schnabel Park may be one of the best places to bike, or hike in San Antonio because of its multifunctional, wooded trails.
- Dog friendly
- More than 8 miles of trails
- Challenging bike trails
- Pavilions (2)
- Multiple parking areas
- Playground next to the YMCA
- Handicap accessible
How to get There
Technically, OP Schnabel Park has entrances to the north, south, and west. The Bandera Road entrance is to the west, and may be the easiest way to enter the park. You may, or may not, find the other entrances blocked by gates because they lead into neighboring subdivisions.
You will find the Bandera Road entrance about a mile south of Loop 1604. The park sign will be noticeable on the east side of Bandera Road. At the intersection of Braun Road there will be a stop light, and you must head east. You may also notice a YMCA sign because one is located inside the park. OP Schnabel Park is open from 5am – 11pm, like several other San Antonio Parks.
There are two different pavilions which are available for rent. I’ve visited the park several times, and have seen parties and workout groups using each pavilion. The main pavilion is next to the parking lot, across from the YMCA. That pavilion has public restrooms, and drinking water. The other pavilion is a short walk down the main path from the parking lot. Portable toilets and garbage cans are located near the second pavilion.
OP Schnabel Park is filled with trails that vary in difficulty, and type of terrain. There are more than eight miles of trails throughout the park. You will find concrete, gravel, asphalt, and natural trails. The concrete trails are great for beginners, and are handicap accessible.
The concrete path winds through the woods, and connects to the Leon Creek Greenway on the east side of the park. Several gravel trails can be found which connect the concrete path to the road. You may find that these gravel trails lead to, or from, a small parking space. Look for some of these spaces instead of waiting for a parking spot near the main pavilion, which tends to fill up quickly.
As you follow the concrete path through the park, you will notice natural trails leading into the woods. There are many of these trails, and they are often trafficked by bikers. There is no way that the concrete path runs eight miles within the park. The natural trails must be included in the total mileage. In fact, the park seems much larger while hiking through the woods.
If you travel near the outskirts of the park, you will notice residences along the way. Animals you encounter may include deer, pets, and a rooster. I definitely heard one of those out there somewhere.
A Bit of Advice While Hiking in the Woods
My wife and I have visited OP Schnabel Park several times to go hiking with our dog, Abbey. She is a two year old Rhodesian Ridgeback who loves to hike. Often times, she desires to head off the main path, and into the woods. Perhaps she is following a scent, or is searching for movement deeper in the woods.
On our very first hike at OP Schnabel Park, we deviated from the main path several times. The natural trails leading through the woods are hard to miss. Furthermore, the trails are well shaded, and more enticing than the concrete. The wooded areas are also open enough to walk through without bumping into trees, brush, and cacti.
On the north side of the park we entered the woods from the concrete path. We followed a natural trail leading up, and over a small hill. As we did so, we came face to face with a father, and his son, who were biking through the woods. They stopped as soon as they noticed us, and we moved aside. The boy quickly said, “This is a bike trail, not a dog trail”. I smiled, my wife said, “Sorry”, and Abbey was simply eager to continue through the woods. The boy’s father urged him forward, but said nothing. No harm done.
Hikers and bikers both share the paved trails in San Antonio Parks. Can they not also share the natural trails through the woods? I’ve seen no regulations restricting anyone from certain trails.
I’d say there are more natural trails at OP Schnabel Park than paved ones. You may not find these trails marked on the map, but they are easy to find inside the park. Each time we go to parks such as this, we head into the woods to get our feet wet. However, that cannot be taken in the literal sense because the creeks have been completely dry most of the year. In fact, the dry creek beds have become hiking trails as well.
The natural trails at OP Schnabel Park are fairly easy to maneuver on foot. However, some of them appear to be very challenging for bikers. Inside the woods you will find cliffs, as well as steep inclines, and declines. Riding a bike down such a steep, rocky decline can be very dangerous. Furthermore, many trails are littered with rocks, and tree roots. These obstacles can make your ride bumpy, and unstable to say the least.
Choose your trails wisely, and be careful. I have yet to ride my mountain bike inside OP Schnabel Park. Before doing so, I would probably choose a park with less challenging bike trails.
Bamberger Nature Park is a short ride north along the Leon Creek Greenway. It has several wooded biking trails which may be easier, but it seems more densely packed with trees, brush, and cacti.
McAllister Park also contains miles of natural trails which are good for biking, and may be the least difficult of the three. Where are your favorite places to go biking in San Antonio?
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Even though I discuss places, or things, and emerge from the woods unharmed, I am not at all responsible for you, your family, your friends, or your pets. You are solely responsible for following in my footsteps and trying things described on this site.
I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.