Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Finding the trailhead: From downtown San Antonio, take I-10 west about 0.5 mile
past Loop 1604. Take exit 554 for Camp Bullis Road; this is the second exit past Loop
1604. Go 2 miles on the access road, take a left under the interstate, and an immediate
right on the (two-way) access road. Proceed 2 miles to Oak Drive and turn left. At the
end of Oak Drive, turn right onto Milsa Road. Friedrich Wilderness Park is on your left
at 21480 Milsa Rd. Follow the entrance road to the left to the parking lot and trailhead.
DeLorme: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer: Page 68 K6. GPS: N 29 38.454' / W 98 37.541'
The Hike
Start at the Main Loop trailhead, located near the sidewalk adjacent to the parking lot. Pick up a trail
map at the sign-in stand near the restrooms. This hike combines sections of the Main Loop, Vista
Loop, Fern Del Trail, and Water Trail to view the contrast between the flat valleys, dwarf forests, and
limestone balcones found in the park.
In a short distance the trail branches; follow the right branch, which makes a right turn, going north.
The concrete surface ends at a three-way branch. Follow the right branch, which is the northern section
of the Main Loop.
The trail heads upward and, during a steep climb, passes through a dwarf forest containing mainly
Ashe's juniper and blackjack oak. At the top there is a Y branch; take the left leg, heading west on the
Vista Loop.
Almost immediately there is another branch; go left onto the Fern Del Trail, which is the most exhil-
arating and strenuous part of the hike. There are steep ascents and descents over limestone outcrop-
pings that the park calls steps. The short trail loop starts at the bottom of a north-facing canyon, then
climbs about 200 feet to near the top of the canyon and back down. Complete the Fern Del loop at a T,
where it ends and connects with the Vista Loop. Take the left branch, heading west on Vista Loop. On
a clear day San Antonio can be seen from the overlooks.
Much of the trail follows narrow rock ledges as it passes through woodlands dominated by lacey
oak, along with Spanish oak, cherry, and walnut. The trail then branches, with the left branch being the
Upland Range connector to the Main Loop. A low, stacked limestone wall crosses the trail; what its
use was is a matter of conjecture.
The Vista Loop ends when it connects to the Main Loop. Take the right branch, heading south on
the Main Loop. Continue on the Main Loop to where it meets the Water Trail and go left.
Highlights on the trail before reaching the windmill are an intermittent creek and a large, seasonal
spring. The section to the windmill is narrow and sometimes difficult. The windmill is one of the old-
est working windmills in Bexar County. Then continue north to meet the concrete section of the Main
Loop. Follow the right branch and backtrack to the trailhead.
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