Nature is Calling! Start off the New Year at the San Antonio River

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Mission Reach at the San Antonio River

The Mission Reach of the San Antonio River.

The San Antonio River Basin provides ample opportunities to enjoy quality time outdoors.  As part of the San Antonio River Authority’s (River Authority) ongoing commitment to safe, clean, enjoyable creeks and rivers, creating ways to attract folks to San Antonio River and our parks is a priority. The native plants and wildlife, aesthetic scenery, and historical and cultural connections provide rich experiences and excellent health and wellness benefits for visitors.

Did you know that spending time in nature can make you healthier?

The King William Paddling Trail near downtown San Antonio.

Research has shown that people who spend two hours or more per week in green spaces, like local parks and other natural environments, are significantly more likely to report good health and psychological well-being. Due to busy schedules and indoor distractions, venturing outdoors for our own health can become an afterthought. It can even lead to “Nature Deficit Disorder,” a term developed by journalist and author Richard Louv. In his studies, Louv found that safely spending time in nature can reduce stress by lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, boosting self-esteem, and improving mood.

A growing number of health professionals are also embracing this back-to-nature philosophy. Park RX America, a group of healthcare professionals dedicated to improving public health by encouraging time outdoors, has partnered with over 10,000 parks throughout the country to get people outside. Robert Zarr, the organization’s founder, states their mission is “to decrease the burden of chronic disease, increase health and happiness, and foster environmental stewardship by prescribing Nature during the routine delivery of healthcare by a diverse group of health care professionals.”

How can I enjoy nature along the San Antonio River?

Three image montage of helton nature park, mission reach paddling and acequia park birdwatching

From left to right: Helton Nature Park, Mission Reach Paddling Trail near Acequia Park, and Acequia Park

To avoid a nature deficit, consider visiting the River Authority’s beautiful parks and trails along the San Antonio River. There are many ways one can recreate along area creeks and rivers. The Museum Reach, Downtown Reach, and Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk provide over 16 miles of scenic hike-and-bike trails. Additionally, there are close to 60 miles of paddling trails throughout the San Antonio River Basin, including urban paddling trails like the King William Paddling Trail and more rural settings like the SASPAMCO and Goliad paddling trails. Every day, there are opportunities from dawn until dusk: fishing, birding, picnicking, or simply sitting and peacefully enjoying the flowing waters and wildlife. Check out our recreation videos to learn more.

What events are coming up?

The River Authority’s Recreation and Park Programming team hosts several free events each month, inviting the community to experience our parks in fun, new ways. Visit our events page to learn more about free upcoming programs and how you can participate:

Picture Your World Youth Photography Workshop

Sunday, February 13, 2022, at the Roosevelt Park Clubhouse

This FREE workshop is hosted by Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas, a 501 (c) 3 organization. Designed for ages 8-18, Picture Your World encourages a creative approach to digital photography while advocating a personal connection to nature and promoting environmental stewardship among youth. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Tickets and registration can be found on the Green Spaces website at

Tent Life 101: Camp Skills with REI

When: Saturday, May 7 | 1PM – 4PM

Where: Helton Nature Park

Attendees will learn basic essential camping skills and have the choice of applying them towards a night of free camping in the park. Campers can also enjoy a free Campside Cinema in the evening on a blow-up screen provided by the River Authority. More information and registration details are coming soon!

2022 San Antonio River Basin Paddling Race Series

Paddling Race #1 – “The Battle of the Paddle”

Where: River Walk in Downtown San Antonio

*DATE CHANGE* When: Saturday, March 5, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Paddling Race #2 – “The SASPAMCO Showdown”

Where: The SASPAMCO Paddling Trail 

When: Saturday, March 19, 2022, from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

Paddling Race #3 – “The Mission Reach Rally”

Where: The Mission Reach Paddling Trail.

When: Sunday, September 25, 2022

Paddling Race #4 – “Remember Goliad Paddling Race”

Where:  The Goliad Paddling Trail 

When: Saturday, October 8, 2022

The River Authority, together with the San Antonio River Foundation, is excited to launch the 2022 San Antonio River Basin Race Series. Experienced paddling racers from all over are invited to participate in 4 competitive paddling races throughout the year held along multiple sections of the beautiful San Antonio River Basin, from the world-famous San Antonio River Walk to the historic community of Goliad. Each race covers a different distance and will provide new challenges that are sure to excite competitive paddle racers. Awards ceremonies with prizes for the top three finishers in each category will be held following every race!  Registration for all races is now open. For more information and to register, click here.

collage image of people walking along a park trail and two people paddling along the San Antonio River

From left to right: Jackson Nature Park and the Mission Reach Paddling Trail near Acequia Park.

Keep an eye out for future art and nature workshops, scavenger hunts, and recreation events for the whole family to enjoy. Follow us on social media to get all the latest updates!

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This year more than ever, make it a priority to take advantage of the beautiful green spaces in our community and experience the many benefits that nature has to offer. We’ll see you at the river!

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Acequia Trail Notice

The Acequia trail will have heavy traffic near MROC starting May 22nd until further notice. The SAWS Acequia project will be bringing in crews to work on the lift station site and across the street. There will have flaggers to stop traffic, please use caution. 

SASPAMCO Paddling Trail

The SASPAMCO paddling trail is open from River Crossing Park to Helton Nature Park.
*Please Note: Paddling Trail from Helton Nature Park to HWY 97 is still closed due to blockages. 

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