I’m back to share our most recent adventure! This past Sunday, we took a short, fifteen minute drive from our apartment to Government Canyon State Natural Area. After almost two years, we had no idea it even existed, let alone how close it was! The area is almost 9,000 acres and boasts over 40 miles of hiking trails for biking, hiking, or running (if you’re asking for a twisted ankle.). You can also camp overnight if you’re just wild and crazy.
As soon as I realized how close Government Canyon State Natural Area was to us, I mentioned it to Louis, and he was eager to go. We’ve been trying to explore San Antonio more lately, so this jumped to the top of our “To Do” list. After some research, we found out that there are DINOSAUR TRACKS IN THE AREA. What!?!?!? So magical. We made that our #1 destination and set off to achieve our paleontologist dreams.
As soon as we hopped out of the car, Louis pointed to some animal poop and said, “Scat!” I immediately told him if we were part of a nature troop, he would be awarded the Scat Badge, and we spent the rest of the hike pointing out scat. Anyway…after our scat discovery, we came upon the visitor center. It was very quaint and housed a gift shop along with a rentable picnic pavilion and restrooms.
After asking a ranger the best way to reach the dinosaur tracks, we headed out on Joe Johnston Trail to begin our 5-mile hike. The trail was very well maintained, with benches every mile or so to rest. There were some rocky patches, and I almost busted my face about 78 times, but thankfully I managed to stay upright the entire journey. So much for looking outdoorsy and adventurous in front of Louis. (Like he doesn’t already know me after 8 years. Wishful thinking.)
Our hike was mostly flat, but there was some beautiful cliffside scenery along the way. It was so peaceful; we barely passed any other hikers on our journey. All we could hear was the wind rustling through the trees, birds singing, and the occasional “Oh crap!” from me as I tripped over another rock.
Before we knew it, we reached the dinosaur tracks! It was so cool! They were just out there in the open for anyone to admire! I feel like stuff like that is usually behind glass at a museum, so we felt pretty special getting up close and personal with the giant footprint? Clawprint? Track…?
Look at how little our feet look! It was basically a modern day Jurassic Park.
The tracks were located next to a beautiful bluff, along what is probably a creek during rainier months. We spent at least 30 minutes wandering around the area, and we had the whole place to ourselves! It felt like a hidden oasis.
Louis even miraculously found this adorable, teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy frog! How precious is it? Have you ever seen anything so tiny??
We made sure to snap plenty of pictures with our Dino Discovery and wondered together what the dinosaur was like and if he was running after prey, drinking some water, or just chilling when these tracks were made. Probably chilling.
We got creative with my iPhone and managed to take a panoramic including both of us! Aren’t we just the smartest.
Thankfully, a nearby rock kindly offered to take our picture via self-timer, so we posed together for one more shot before heading back to the car. (AKA another 1.5-hour hike back the way we came.)
I’m so glad we went to explore Government Canyon Natural State Area together! Our hike and exploration lasted around three hours and provided exercise, great memories, and a fun, new experience together. The area costs $6 a person (free for kids under 12) and is open Friday-Monday, 7am-10pm. After 10pm you’re locked in the canyon to battle the wolves TO THE DEATH. Just kidding. You do actually get locked in though…and I’m pretty sure there are wolves, too. If you’re in the San Antonio area, I’d recommend visiting if you’re looking for something different to do! It really felt like we were hours away from the city, and I hope we return soon to watch a sunset with a picnic or do some stargazing!
P.S. Make sure to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and LOTS of water with you! Snacks may be a good idea depending on how long you’re hiking, too. We only hiked 5 miles on a relatively cool day, and we easily finished a gallon of water while there. It’s always better to be prepared!