Dogs, and humans who are looking for things to do near San Antonio, love the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne, Texas. This nature preserve is more unique than most parks in and around San Antonio. It has so many sights to offer while hiking the trails with your dog(s). 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 because the Cibolo Nature Center could easily make the list of top five places to hike around San Antonio.
- Dog friendly
- Public restrooms
- Well shaded
- Visitors center
- 3 miles of nature trails with various terrain and difficulty
- Marsh path
- Horseback riding
Where To Begin
There appeared to be limited parking when we visited the Cibolo Nature Center, but there was an overflow lot. Once you have 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. When we visited, there was also 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.
We then turned to the right after noticing a trail and an educational display. However, if you turn the opposite direction you will find the visitors center. There you can ask any questions you have before setting out. The hours online seemed a little misleading. Those stated the park was open from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday, and only 1 to 5 on Sunday. However, those hours are for the visitors center. Like many parks, the trails are closed from dusk until dawn.
Instead of heading for the visitors center, we headed for the first trail we saw. This is generally how we operate at parks. The display told us a bit about dinosaur footprints. 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.
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. Perhaps some people walked around here and then 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(s)! We continued straight on from there and entered the marshland. The marsh is accessible by a perfectly level dock that winds through it. It was not dirty, or swampy, nor were we attacked by bugs. The area was peaceful and quiet. The marsh was clean and we saw fish in the water as well. Chalk up two unique qualities for this park.
Tall Grassy Fields
After leaving the marsh, we found ourselves walking back through the tall grassy area. This time we were on a completely separate trail heading toward the other end of the park. Abbey lunged toward a section of grass and a deer popped up and removed itself from our view. I noticed the height of the grass was perfect for animals to use as cover during the day. I then thought of raptors creating trails in the tall grass. Perhaps my imagination runs wild while Abbey and I are out adventuring. There aren’t really dinosaurs here, right?
We continued on in the direction opposite the marshland. As we got closer to a wooded area we stopped so that Abbey could get a drink from the collapsable bowl she was carrying. As we stood there I noticed a large bird flying over the treetops and then out of view. We turned so that we were heading parallel to the woods. Abbey lunged out again and another deer popped up and instantly vanished into the tall grass. We continued on and 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.
Into The Woods
Moving onward we noticed a trail leading down toward a creek and headed into the woods. It became a bit darker as I noticed two trees which were covered in webs. I instantly recalled Mirkwood forest from the Hobbit. This was of course an exaggeration. We did not see any big spiders, or any spiders of any size, and that’s a good thing! As we moved on, we followed the creek until we could cross and noticed horse tracks and droppings along the way. We never did cross paths with that horse that left them.
The wooded area seemed much larger than I anticipated. In fact, it did not look as in depth from the other side of the Cibolo Nature Center. At this point we were sweating in the hot and humid Texas weather. Well, 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 as well, but I believe 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.
What An Adventure
We ended up heading back through the staff area somehow. 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 access trail. Perhaps we will start there next time. Our hike lasted one hour and I racked up 5,438 steps using mainly the outer loop. The Cibolo Nature Center is one of the best places to hike with your dog(s) in the San Antonio area. Located in Boerne, 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. Let us know what you saw at Cibolo Nature Center.
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Even though I promote 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 I have described on this site. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.