Government Canyon


brochure Government Canyon - Trails

Trails Map of Government Canyon State Natural Area (SNA) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Government Canyon State Natural Area Trails Map 12861 Galm Rd. San Antonio, TX 78254 (210) 688-9055 In case of emergency, call the GCSNA headquarters at (210) 688-9055; or dial 9-1-1. Protected Habitat Area Open Only September through February. LEGEND Scenic Overlook Restrooms Primitive Toilet Parking Visitor Center Fee Station Picnic Area Nature Playscape Tent Camping Trailhead FRONTCOUNTRY Hiking/Biking Trails: Lytle’s Loop Savannah Loop BACKCOUNTRY Hiking Only Trails: Discovery Trail Bluff Spurs Overlook Trail Hiking/Biking Trails: Caroline’s Loop Far Reaches Joe Johnston Route Little Windmill Recharge Trail Sendero Balcones Twin Oaks Wildcat Canyon PROTECTED HABITAT AREA (Open Sept.–Feb. ONLY) Hiking Only (Seasonal) Trails: Black Hill Loop Cave Creek La Subida Sendero Travesero NOTES: All trails allow hiking and biking unless otherwise indicated. Biking is prohibited in the Protected Habitat Area, on Overlook Trail and on Bluff Spurs. Pets allowed in Frontcountry only. POINTS OF INTEREST (GPS coordinates shown in degrees, minutes, seconds) 1 SAVANNAH RESTORATION AREA 29°32’48.00”N 98°45’12.03”W Here we’re using proven land management techniques to give a native grass savannah a fighting chance to re-establish its “home turf.” 2 WILDCAT CANYON RANCH BUILDINGS 29°33’33.69”N 98°45’46.73”W Imagine this land as a working ranch, as evidenced by a pole barn, corral, stock tank and windmill. 3 DINOSAUR TRACKS 29°34’57.34”N 98°45’55.96”W Created when this area was the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, see the footprints left by creatures that roamed here 110 million years ago. 4 ZIZELMANN HOUSE 29°35’05.51”N 98°45’43.46”W Named for the family of German bakers who are believed to have built it in 1882, this iconic building stands as testimony to the remoteness of life in the 1880s. Texas State Parks is a division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Magnetic Declination 4 degrees east Contour intervals are 20 feet. Trail lengths are in miles. Elevation levels are in feet. No claims are made to the accuracy of the data or its suitability to a particular use. Map compiled by Texas State Parks staff. © 2019 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD MP P4505-0165E (7/19) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989 or by email at If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. Government Canyon State Natural Area Discover a quiet wilderness surprisingly close to San Antonio. Nearly 40 miles of trails beckon you to explore the canyonlands and grasslands of Government Canyon State Natural Area. Join us in our mission of protecting highly sensitive ecosystems by observing proper trail etiquette as you explore. TRAIL DISTANCE SAVANNAH LOOP TIME DIFFICULTY DESCRIPTION 2.1 mi. 1 - 1.5 (Round Trip) hrs. Easy Begins and ends at the Frontcountry Trailhead. This is a good choice for walking the dog or taking the kids for a leisurely stroll. LYTLE’S LOOP 4.7 mi. 2.5 - 3.5 (Round Trip) hrs. Easy – Moderate Begins and ends at the Frontcountry Trailhead. Keep a watchful eye for a chance sighting of the Rio Grande wild turkey, northern bobwhite quail and white-tailed deer that call this savannah home. NORTH BLUFF SPURS OVERLOOK 3.4 mi. 1.5 - 2 (Round Trip) hrs. Moderate This staff favorite begins at the Backcountry Trailhead. A short hike up the JJR Trail, take the Recharge Trail to Bluff Spurs Trail, to North Bluff Spurs Overlook, to Sendero Balcones Trail, to Recharge Trail, and back to the trailhead. After an easy start, the trail climbs up the Edwards Plateau, leading to a limestone bluff with a majestic view of Government Canyon. JOE JOHNSTON ROUTE (Zizelmann House and back) 4.0 mi. 3-5 (Round Trip) hrs. Moderate Challenging Begins at the Backcountry Trailhead; leads to Zizelmann House and back. This historic 1850s route has lots to discover. Notice the change in vegetation as you hike northward. Especially challenging in the summer months, take plenty of water, wear sun protection, and pace yourself. WILDCAT CANYON and SENDERO BALCONES LOOP 5.2 mi. 2.5 - 3 (Round Trip) hrs. Challenging Begins at the Backcountry Trailhead; leads to Wildcat Canyon Trail, to Sendero Balcones Trail, to Recharge Trail, to JJR Trail, and back. This rugged route takes you through forest canopy, over limestone outcroppings, and down the edge of the Balcones Escarpment. FAR REACHES and TWIN OAKS LOOP 9 mi. 4-6 (Round Trip) hrs. Challenging Begins at the Backcountry Trailhead. A short hike up the JJR Trail, take the Recharge Trail to Far Reaches Trail, to Sendero Balcones Trail north, to Twin Oaks Trail, to JJR Trail, and back. This route showcases many of the features that make the natural area so special: geology, diverse flora, history, and stunning vistas. THE OUTER LOOP 11.8 mi. 5-7 (Round Trip) hrs. Challenging Begins at the Backcountry Trailhead. A short hike up the JJR Trail, take the Recharge Trail to Far Reaches Trail, to Sendero Balcones Trail north, to the upper end of JJR Trail, around Caroline’s Loop back to the JJR Trail, and back to the trailhead. This outer loop is rough, rugged and rewarding. Be prepared with plenty of water and snacks; this route can be especially difficult in summer. Keep track of your route with your trail map. STAYING SAFE CHECK FOR TRAIL CLOSURES. As a State Natural Area, our principal mission is to protect natural and cultural resources. Environmental conditions may result in temporary trail closures. KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Prepare for sun and heat. Wear a hat and take plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen. People average two miles per hour while hiking. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Bring a quart (32 oz.) of water per hour of activity, and don’t forget your pets need water, too. LET OTHERS KNOW YOUR PLANS. If hiking alone, leave details visible from your vehicle. HELMETS ARE RECOMMENDED. When mountain biking, check with staff to match the trail to your skill level. Wear a helmet to protect yourself. GOT BARS? Take along a cell phone and GPS unit, but don’t count on them. TRAIL ETIQUETTE Preserve your trails. Staying off wet trails helps prevent rutting, erosion and destruction of trails. Trash your trash. Put the “natural” in natural area. Pack out all of your trash and Leave No Trace. Take only memories and pictures. Please don’t disturb or remove any of the natural area’s plants, animals or artifacts. Stay on designated trails. Leave feeding to nature. Feeding wild animals can make them sick and harm their ability to survive on their own. Leash your pets. Keeping them on a leash and under control protects your pets, other people and wildlife. Please note that NO pets are allowed in the Backcountry. Respect fellow trail users. Be courteous to all trail users; bikers must yield to hikers. For information on Texas State Parks, visit FOR AFTER-HOURS EMERGENCIES, PLEASE CALL 9-1-1. Sign up today for free email updates: /texasparksandwildlife @TPWDparks #TxStateParks Sponsor: Whole Earth Provision Co.

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