Pearsall Park is located on the southwestern side of San Antonio and boasts of many new amenities since its reconstruction. The park is dedicated to improving health and activity among families, which is great. There is only one problem. I read the hype about Pearsall Park and showed up expecting it to be one of the best parks in San Antonio. It turns out most of the amenities are geared towards kids. It’s also not one of the best places to hike with your dog.
- Largest splash pad/playground area in San Antonio
- Largest skate park in San Antonio
- Large pavilion
- Public restrooms
- Picnic areas
- Dog park
- 1.5 mile paved trail which crosses no roadways
- Disc golf
- Basketball courts
If You Go
You can access pretty much everything from Old Pearsall Road. Pearsall Park is just south of Lackland Airforce Base, and Military Drive. If heading south from Military Drive, you will come to the trailhead entrance first, the playground second, and the dog park third. Each entrance will be on your left. If coming from the direction of I-410, the order will be reversed and the entrances will be on your right. I expected there to be a few more park entrances after seeing the size of Pearsall Park, but was unable to see any on the road or map.
The Splash Pad
No matter which direction you come from, the splash pad will be at the second entrance and is the most popular aspect of Pearsall Park. I admit, the splash pad is a sight to behold, offering hours of fun to the children of San Antonio. However, I am no longer a kid. I go to parks to hike with my Rhodesian Ridgeback, Abbey. Dogs are not allowed in the splash pad or playground area. Consequently we moved on.
We headed up one of the hills north of the splash pad. The morning sun was already beating down on us as I noticed there were no trees around to provide shade. There was one piece of art on the hill providing shade to its picnic table. We stopped there to get a photo of Abbey on another of her many adventures. My better half asked, “Where’s this view of downtown supposed to be?” I pointed at the Tower of the Americas I could vaguely see beyond another tower. It seemed we had a much better view of the water tower at Lackland. She quickly responded, “Oh”. She wasn’t too impressed, and I hate to say it, but neither was I.
The Zip Line
As we headed the other direction I continued to look for this zip line I had heard about. I expected to see one tower connected to another atop the hills. People would be flying from one to another having the time of their lives. I couldn’t see it because it did not exist. The zip line at Pearsall Park is nothing more than a kiddie activity. When I finally saw it, I wasn’t even sure it was six feet high or 15 feet long! Talk about a letdown Pearsall Park.
The Dog Park
We passed the splash pad heading back the other direction and stopped at the fountain for water. It was Abbey who needed the water already. We continued up and over the next hill to find Pearsall Park Dog Park. We could not get there soon enough because all of us could use the shade. Once we came down the hill we did indeed find the dog park. We love dog parks and have visited more than a few.
I already wrote about this dog park in another article and will not go into as much detail here. We used the dog friendly fountains and the obstacles. The park was incredibly green, although much of it remained unshaded. We met a husky puppy before we left. We love huskies! After a march through the sunlight and briefly playing with that cute husky, Abbey was in need of some A/C. We headed back to the car which I had parked near the splash pad. We rehydrated, cranked the A/C and headed over to the trailhead, at last.
Pearsall Park Trail
Once we got onto the trail, we knew we would not be going too far. The trail was made of concrete which would be too hot for Abbey’s paws. Again, there was little to no shade in sight from the start of the trail. However, there was a half mile loop trail nearby that offered some shade. The loop was easy and did not offer much to see. At least it had shade.
We headed back for the car because Abbey clearly wasn’t going to handle much more heat. Unfortunately we did not get to venture down the trail which runs along Leon Creek. The trail appeared too open for this time of year. Perhaps we will try it again in the winter.
What’s It lacking?
I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed after the visit. The zip line was a joke. There isn’t nearly enough shade in the park. Most of the amenities are primarily geared toward children. The park is greater than 500 acres, yet it only contains a 1.5 mile trail. Where are all the nature trails winding through this giant wooded area?
I’m not saying Pearsall Park is a bad park. It has a nice dog park, but it’s just not one of the best places in San Antonio to hike with your dog. Clearly the park is wonderful for families. It’s a great place to go if you are trying to increase your level of activity. Some kids may even liken it to a water park.
When it comes down to dog friendly hiking, wooded trails and zip lines, Pearsall Park is rather disappointing. If we take into account the largest splash pad and playground, as well as the largest skate park, plus the sports fields, Pearsall Park just makes me feel old. If only I were a kid again Pearsall Park, what fun we could have!
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I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.