Those looking for dog friendly things to do near San Antonio, will love the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne, Texas. This nature preserve is more unique than most parks around San Antonio. It has many sights to offer while hiking the trails with your dog.
I noticed only a handful of negative reviews online which talked about a lack of things to see. Those individuals must have went to some other place. The Cibolo Nature Center could easily make a list of the top five places to hike around San Antonio.
Dog Friendly Things to Do at Cibolo Nature Center
- Walk your dog
- Explore the visitors center
- Hike three miles through various terrain
- Walk through the marshland on a boardwalk
- Ride your horse
- Catch a fish, but throw it back
- See dinosaur tracks made by an Acrocanthosaurus
- Have a picnic at the outdoor dining area
- Rent the auditorium or pavilion
Although the nature center is only 160 acres, there are many things to do. Walk your dog through marsh, prairie and woodland on the dog friendly trails. Visit the gift shop and visitors center in front of the trailhead. Imagine the dinosaur which made the tracks next to the pavilion. Ride a horse, fish, or enjoy the Cibolo Creek as it flows through this beautiful place.
How to Get to Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne, TX
Address: 140 City Park Rd, Boerne, TX 78006
Phone: (830) 249-4616
Hours of operation: The visitors center is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday through Saturday. The trails are open from 8am – dusk, daily.
There appeared to be limited parking when we visited the Cibolo Nature Center, but there is an overflow lot. Once parked, you will notice there is a trail map next to the pavilion. On the back of the pavilion you will also find an artists rendering of the park. There is a water spout and bowl for dogs in front of the painting. My dog Abbey loves drinking water outside, so we stopped there first, and last.
Turn to the right of the pavilion to find an educational display next to a trail, and some holes in the ground. If you turn the opposite direction you will find the visitors center. There you can ask any questions you have before your hike.
The hours online are a bit misleading because they show the hours of the visitors center. It is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday, and only 1pm to 5pm, on Sunday. However, the trails at Cibolo Nature Center can be hiked from 8am until sundown.
Dinosaur Footprints at Cibolo Nature Center
Instead of heading for the visitors center, we headed for the first trail we saw. This is generally how we operate at all dog friendly parks. The display told us a bit about dinosaur footprints. Wait, those weren’t holes in the ground next to the trailhead!
I looked down and noticed giant footprints next to Abbey! How many parks have permanent dinosaur footprints? None? That’s what I thought as well. We had not even hit the trail yet and already noticed one unique thing about the Cibolo Nature Center.
The Marshland at Cibolo Nature Center
As soon as we moved forward there was a fork in the road followed by a sign. We ignored the sign because we knew there was a marshland to the right. Looking out beyond the sign I saw tall grassy fields and several noticeable trails.
We had just begun our hike and I couldn’t imagine why some people claimed there wasn’t much to see here. Perhaps they simply walked around the prairie and left assuming there wasn’t much to see? That would be a mistake. We continued down the path to the right until it crossed another trail.
I saw another sign ahead that said horses were not allowed. I wondered if we would cross paths with any horses in the park. We did not, but you might when you hike the trails. Don’t forget to bring your dog!
We continued straight on from there and entered the marshland. The marsh is accessible by a perfectly level boardwalk that winds through. It was not dirty, or swampy, nor were we attacked by bugs. The area was peaceful and quiet.
The marsh was so clean we could have seen faces in the water! Of course, we did not see any faces because these are not the Dead Marshes. However, we could see fish swimming in the water. Chalk up two unique qualities for this park.
A Prairie with Tall Grass and Hidden Raptors
After leaving the marsh, we found ourselves walking through the prairie on the north side. We were on a new trail heading toward the other end of the park. Abbey lunged toward the tall grass and a deer popped up and removed itself from our view.
The height of the grass is perfect for animals to use as cover during the day. In fact, it brought to mind the thought of raptors creating trails in the tall grass. Perhaps my imagination runs wild while we are out adventuring. There aren’t really dinosaurs here, right?
We continued in the direction opposite the marshland. As we got closer to a wooded area we stopped so Abbey could get a drink from the collapsable bowl she was carrying. As we stood there I noticed a large bird flying above the treetops and out of view. We turned to head parallel with the woods.
Abbey lunged toward the tall grass once again, and another deer jumped out and instantly vanished into the prairie. Continuing on, we heard large birds making noise high up in the trees. We also saw signs that indicated there were toxic plants nearby. Taking the warning seriously, I made sure Abbey did not leave the trail, or try to eat anything.
The Woodlands, or Mirkwood?
Moving onward we noticed a trail leading down toward a creek which headed into the woods. It became a bit darker as we came upon two trees covered in webs. I instantly recalled Mirkwood Forest from, The Hobbit.
Luckily, we did not see any big spiders (or any spiders of any size) and that’s a good thing! We followed the creek until we could cross and noticed horse tracks, and droppings along the way. We never did cross paths with the horse that left them.
The woodland seemed much larger than I expected. In fact, it did not appear to have as much depth from the other side of the Cibolo Nature Center. Tall trees are clearly taking advantage of the water from Cibolo Creek.
At this point we were sweating because of the hot and humid Texas weather. At least, I know I was sweating. Abbey may have been dripping from the tongue, or sweating from her foot pads because that’s how dogs do it.
There are several trails in the woods, but we made a small loop near the creek. It’s well-shaded and easy to navigate if you stay on the upper trail. Hiking down near the creek may force you to climb over, and around rocks, and parts of trees.
Cibolo Nature Center is Quite an Adventure
Somehow, we ended up in the staff area after exiting the woodlands. There seemed to be an animal farm in that area, but we didn’t see any animals. Finally, we passed the visitors center where we saw another trailhead. Perhaps we will start there next time.
Our hike lasted one hour as we racked up 5,438 steps by completing the outer loop. The Cibolo Nature Center is one of the best places to hike with your dog in the San Antonio area. Located in Boerne, Texas, it’s about 30 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio, but well worth the visit.
This dog friendly park will become one of our regulars once the summer comes to an end. We look forward to seeing new things on future adventures. You probably won’t see faces, raptors, or giant spiders at Cibolo Nature Center. However, you will see a ton of really great things on various terrain. Leave us some photos and words below about the unique things you see.
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.