A sign at the trailhead warns that this area is subject to flash flooding. In the event of rain, be prepared
to reach higher ground. The Exercise Loop is a flat, asphalt oval. Start at the trailhead, which is a T
connecting with the Leon Creek Loop. Head east and then continue bearing right around the loop until
you arrive back at the trailhead. The vehicle sounds from Babcock Road and the residences, which are
clearly in view, are a reminder that this is a city hike.
The trail goes through mixed hardwoods, shrubs, and wildflowers. This, combined with the nearness
of Leon Creek, furnishes excellent habitat for wildlife, especially birds. Complete the Exercise Loop
and continue north at the trailhead onto Leon Creek Loop. The tree canopy that furnishes shade is er-
ratic, so wear a hat.
Follow the natural surface in and out of the woods. Hardy mesquite and cedar trees, along with oth-
er hardwoods, make up the woods. As the trail undulates up and down, a few low limestone outcrops
cross it. Many narrow “biker paths” can be seen. Portions of the trail parallel Leon Creek, which can
range from swift flowing to a dry creek bed, depending on the amount of rainfall.
There are numerous opportunities to follow one of the many “rogue” paths to the creek's edge and
look for animal tracks. Prickly pear cactus and yucca can be seen in openings in the woods. About
halfway through the hike, reach a T intersection, which has an information sign. This property was
part of the Nantz Ranch, which operated from 1878 to 1984. The original owners were Juan and Laura
De Sais Nantz. A large live oak shades the sign. From the sign, follow the trail southeast and then bear
right, heading southwest. In less than 0.1 mile, turn right, heading west and back to the trailhead.
There are many paths created by bikers and “explorer” hikers. They lead in all directions into the
woods, so stay on the main trail so as not to become disoriented. All the Leon Creek Loop branches
are marked and bordered by five or six large boulders.