Trail Etiquette Suggestions for use of Hike and Bike Trails and Paddling Trails

JoggingThe San Antonio River Improvements Project (SARIP) is improving nearly 13 miles of the San Antonio River, and when combined with the original River Walk, there will be over 15 miles of continuous trail along the river through the center of the city. Soon, hike and bike trails will line the San Antonio River from Brackenridge Park to Mission Espada. However, bicycles are prohibited along the river trails in the original River Walk between Lexington Avenue on the north and Nueva Street on the south. Bicycling is permitted north of Lexington Avenue (Museum Reach) and the area south of Nueva Street (including the King William Neighborhood, Eagleland and Mission Reach). It should be noted that along the hike and bike trail south of Nueva Street there is one short segment of trail located in the area near the King William Neighborhood between Guenther Street and South Alamo Street where bicyclists are required to dismount and walk their bicycle for the safety and enjoyment of all.

There are other hike and bike trails throughout the community. For example, twenty-three miles of developed Greenway trails are now open to the public along Salado Creek, Leon Creek and Medina River. Even more Greenway trails are under planning and development using sales tax funds approved by voters. Trail users should consider the same hike and bike trail etiquette whether enjoying the new trails along SARIP or the Greenway trails. For more bicyclist and pedestrian safety and education information as related to roadways, please click here.

All hike and bike trail users should be prepared, safe and courteous and observe posted hours for trail use. Proper hike and bike trail etiquette will help ensure that everyone safely enjoys the hike and bike trails, so please practice the following behaviors.

Hike and Bike Trails


  • Stay to your right on the trail leaving room for others to pass you on your left
  • Be aware of your surroundings; if listening to music, keep the volume low enough to hear external voices and sounds
  • If there are small children in your group, make sure they stay by your side and safe from other traffic on the trail
  • Keep your pets on short leashes; leashes going across the trail can be hazardous to others, and please pick up after your pets
  • Come prepared to enjoy the trail by wearing proper shoes and by bringing water and sunscreen


A message from our friends at B-cycle:

"Remember to dock at Mission Espada, it is the last stop"

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Pass on the left; let all others on the trail know you are approaching by calling out "rider(s) up on your left" and thank them after passing
  • Be aware of your surroundings; slow down when site lines are poor and when approaching pedestrians
  • Ride at a casual speed
  • Come prepared to enjoy the trail by making sure your equipment is in proper working order and by bringing water, sunscreen and an extra tube with tools

All hike and bike trail users:

  • If you are traveling in a group, do not block the entire trail; during times of heavy traffic, travel in single file
  • When approaching maintenance workers, take necessary precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of the maintenance staff
  • Contact 911 for all emergencies and 311 for all non-emergencies
  • Dispose of trash properly
  • Please do not feed the wildlife

Please contact Matthew Driffill at 210-302-3222 or click here if you are interested in learning how to hold an event along the Museum Reach or Mission Reach.

For more safety tips and rules about cycling in San Antonio, visit SAbikes.

Paddling Trails

There are currently two areas within the boundary of the San Antonio River Improvements Project designated for paddling (non-motorized water craft) along the San Antonio River. Paddling TrailThe first area is the King William Zone, bounded by Nueva Street and South Alamo Street, with a launch and recovery access point located near Guenther Street. The second area is the Eagleland Zone, bounded by South Alamo Street and the railroad trestle just north of Lonestar Boulevard, with a launch and recovery access point near Lonestar Boulevard (approximately 20 feet north of the railroad trestle). Please note that these two zones are not connected and the access points are more than 1 mile apart. It is anticipated that paddle recreation will be approved along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Improvements Project when appropriate boundaries and access points are designated.

Additionally, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) operates other paddling trails. The Goliad Paddling Trail is a leisurely 6.6 mile trip from US Highway 59 to Goliad State Park. Stretching twelve miles along the San Antonio River through southern Bexar and northern Wilson Counties, the Saspamco Paddling Trail will offer a paddling adventure that is unmatched in the San Antonio area. SARA is committed to identifying, developing and promoting additional paddling trails as feasible. To learn more about the paddling Goliad Paddling Trailopportunities along the San Antonio River, please click here.

Rivers have inherent dangers. Proper paddling trail etiquette will help ensure that everyone safely enjoys the paddling trails, so please practice the following:


  • Boat with at least one other person; no inflatable boats or water craft
  • Come prepared to enjoy the paddling trail by making sure your equipment (canoe or kayak) is in proper working order and by bringing water and sunscreen
  • Check weather and river conditions prior to paddling to ensure that paddling trails are safe to use
  • Tell someone not paddling with you of your paddling plan
  • Always use personal flotation devices. It is also recommended that paddlers bring a whistle or other sound producing device for use in emergency situations.
  • Help preserve the river; pack out your trash. No glass containers.
  • Contact 911 for all emergencies and 311 for all non-emergencies
  • Please do not feed the wildlife
  • Keep pets on a leash.

Have fun and prepare for a river in a natural, rural condition with limited access. Remember, rivers have inherent dangers.

Share the Trails with Wildlife

As the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project is nearing completion, sightings are on the rise of various species of flora and fauna, which are beginning to thrive in and along the San Antonio River in an urban environment. Wildlife viewing along the Mission Reach will undoubtedly become a growing recreational activity as various native, and some non-native, species return to the river as the habitat becomes more suitable for their survival. This provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about these important species while recreating along the Mission Reach. Ultimately, local residents and visitors alike will be able to become good stewards of the watershed by learning how to "share the trail" not only with other humans, but also with other species of wildlife.

The presence of such a variety of species along the Mission Reach illustrates the immediate success of the project and holds great promise for the health of the habitat as the project matures over future years. Native species of all plant, animal, bird, fish, insect, amphibian and reptile types are important to the health of the habitat, and each in its own way, plays an important part in the ecosystem restoration of the San Antonio River. However, being in an urban environment, there will be more opportunities for human interaction with these species, which can be beneficial and educational to the general public as long as it is managed in a safe and acceptable manner. As more people are enjoying the Mission Reach, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) is encouraging the public to consider the following information when recreating along the project.

  • The wildlife along the San Antonio River is to be enjoyed, from a distance. Please remember while recreating along the Mission Reach, animals will naturally want to avoid direct human interaction and contact, so please give proper space to all animals. If you are respectful of their space, animals will be respectful of your space.
  • Please take only memories and photographs away from the Mission Reach. The wildlife, including the native grasses, wildflowers and trees, are there for all to enjoy, and equally important, they are there for the health of the habitat. Please do not take any species, be it plant, animal, bird, insect, amphibian or reptile, from the project.
  • Fishing is an acceptable recreational activity along the Mission Reach. SARA encourages fishing to be done by catch and release, and all Texas Parks and Wildlife and City of San Antonio regulations for fishing and wildlife protection apply. This includes a prohibition on feeding free-ranging alligators and other protected species.
  • Please do not feed the wildlife. The wildlife that live in and along the river do not need support from human sources. Feeding human food to animals not only can hurt the animals, because their digestion system cannot properly process the food, but it can also bring more animals into the habitat than the habitat can naturally support. This in turn brings more animal waste into the river, which adds bacteria to the water making it unsafe for human contact recreation, such as swimming or wading. Additionally, feeding the animals can make them dependent upon human food, which may lead some species to search for food in trash cans and picnic sites instead of in their natural habitat.
  • Please keep your pets on a leash when visiting the Mission Reach, and please pick up after your pet as well. Pet waste along the project is not only unsightly for other visitors, during rain events, it can be washed into the river and therefore, add bacteria to the river.
  • Parents and child guardians, please monitor your children to keep them safe on the hike and bike trail, paddling trail and while exploring the shoreline of the river. As a reminder, much of the habitat along the Mission Reach will not be mowed because it is a natural area. Therefore, in many areas, the native grasses and wildflowers may grow several feet high. This is exactly how the ecosystem restoration project is supposed to look as opposed to a shortly cut, manicured, urban park. These tall grasses serve as habitat for various species. For the safety of both the public and the wildlife, recreational visitors to the project are encouraged to stay on the hike and bike trail to avoid unexpected encounters with wildlife that live and forage in the tall native grasses and along the shoreline of the river.
  • Please report stray dogs and cats to 311.
  • Please report sightings of snakes, alligators, nutria or feral hogs to SARA. This can be done by contacting (210) 227-1373 or click here. Please remember that certain species, such as snakes and alligators are native to the San Antonio River Watershed, and they are an important part of a healthy ecosystem. As mentioned above, please respect their space, and they will respect your space. However, it should be known that SARA is monitoring these and other species and will consult with local, state and federal agencies as necessary to determine the best management practices related to managing these species. SARA will take action to remove certain species when the need arises.

SARA encourages all who recreate along the Mission Reach to enjoy the project safely. "Sharing the trail" means more than just having pedestrians and bicyclists giving each other enough space to recreate safely; "sharing the trail" also means for humans recreating along the Mission Reach to respect the space of the other species which live in and along the river so that they, too, may once again safely thrive along the San Antonio River.