OP Schnabel Park Has the Best Mountain Biking Trails

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. Although this park is dog friendly, some believe the trails should be restricted to bike traffic.

A biker rides through the woods at OP Schnabel Park.
A mountain biker at OP Schnabel Park

Things to Do at OP Schnabel Park in San Antonio, TX

  • Walk your dog on paved, or natural trails
  • Bike more challenging trails in the woods
  • Reserve one of two pavilions
  • Choose a parking area next to a specific trail
  • Bring your kids to the playground next to the YMCA

The well-shaded trails at this park make it a popular place to recreate. The greenway is easy to follow, but the natural trails are unmarked. It is possible to get lost in the woods, although subdivisions surround it. The trails at this park are more challenging than others in San Antonio. If you are biking for the first time, expect to encounter roots, rocks, steep areas, hikers and dogs.

A rare clearing with a biking trail.

How to Get to OP Schnabel Park

Address: 9606 Bandera Rd, San Antonio, TX 78250

Hours of operation: 5am – 11pm

Technically, OP Schnabel Park has entrances to the north, south, and west. The Bandera Road entrance is on the west side, 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 many other San Antonio Parks.

The path on the south side of OP Schnabel Park.
OP Schnabel Park is dog friendly

Pavilions at OP Schnabel

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.

The path across Leon Creek at OP Schnabel Park.

Trails at OP Schnabel Park

There may not be any trail maps along your route. It may be a good idea to take a look at the map before randomly choosing a trail at this park. The trail map is below. You’re welcome!

OP Schnabel Trail Map

OP Schnabel Park is filled with trails that vary in difficulty and terrain. There are about five miles of marked trails throughout the park. You will find concrete, gravel, asphalt, and natural trails. The concrete trails are great for beginners, and are handicap accessible. There may be several more miles of unmarked trails primarily used for mountain biking.

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 small parking areas. Look for some of these spaces instead of waiting for a parking spot near the main pavilion, which tends to fill up quickly.

You may find a small parking area near an access trail at OP Schnabel Park.
Choose a parking space near a trail

As you follow the walkway 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. The map seems to show eight miles of trails, but there is no way the walkway runs that far through the park. The natural trails (or Leon Creek Greenway) must be included in the total mileage.

If you travel near the outskirts of the park, you will notice residences along the way. Animals you encounter may include deer, pets and roosters. I definitely heard one of those out there somewhere.

Watch out for wildlife

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.

The wooded biking trails are well shaded.
Unmarked Biking Trails

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.

Challenging bike trails

Mountain Biking 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 are completely dry most of the year. In fact, the dry creek beds have become hiking trails as well.

The biking 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 hill 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. Elevation gains can be moderate on some of the trails in this park. 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?

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.

David Earley


5 1 vote
Article Rating

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments