San Marcos is a beautiful place to live, work and visit, and we'd like to keep it that way! Celebrate Earth Day with the natural beauty of San Marcos by hitting the trails, exploring the river, partaking in an event and, of course, leaving it all better than you found it. 

Hittin' The Trails

One of our favorite ways to explore natural San Marcos is with an outdoor adventure on some of San Marcos’ many hiking trails. From leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes, there are plenty of trails for outdoor adventurers of all fitness levels. This time of year also means it’s nesting season for the Golden-cheeked warbler, so please observe and respect any closed trail signage due to these special birds.

Trail Tips

  • Always carry water for you or any four-legged friends you bring with you.
  • Speaking of four-legged friends, keep them on leashes and pick up after them. Forgot your waste bags? Please take one from the dispenser at the trailhead and dispose of it properly. 
  • Don’t listen to Robert Frost, stay on trail paths and within natural area fencing.
  • Keep your phone charged in case of emergency, but also for all the photos you’ll want to take.
  • Bring a map or use a GPS device.
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! And maybe a hat…
  • Campfires, glass containers, motor vehicles, weapons, horses and camping are a no-go.

Ideas For The Family

  • Create a hiking scavenger hunt! Pick a list of things for family members of all ages to spot out in nature.
  • Keep a list of what bugs or animals you see along the trail.
  • Listen for birds and see if you can identify them.
  • Create leaf rubbings for the different trees you see.

A Few Favorite Spots

  • Upper Purgatory Creek has a really beautiful ADA trail that’s perfect for families, leisure walkers and, well, really anyone! The entrance is a winding, slightly sloping 2-mile-long and 8-feet-wide crushed granite pathway. The trail is also a really easy route to follow. Follow the Styx trail to Grandma’s Oak, take the loop and head on back!
  • A quick but slightly challenging journey can be had at Spring Lake Natural Area. Enter at the Lime Kiln entrance and follow the Blue Heron trail to go in a circle (stop at the dock). There is a steep and rocky hill, so this is an intermediate-level hike. Beginners will enjoy the Tonkawa trail, which starts at the Aquarena Springs entrance.
  • Of course, the San Marcos River Walkway is a Tour San Marcos favorite. The new 10-foot-wide concrete path (which is an ongoing project) currently goes from City Park to Ramon Lucio Park. There are a few small spots that may be under construction, but all are easy to navigate around. The trail offers beautiful views of the San Marcos River and runs through town, allowing a calming respite in the heart of San Marcos.

Make A Splash

Whether you’re dipping a paddle or your toes, the San Marcos River is a must-visit while in the area. The crystal-clear water bubbles up from hundreds of springs in the middle of town at Spring Lake and stays 72-degrees year-round – making it a great spot no matter what the weather has in store. 

River Tips

  • San Marcos is full of natural beauty and we really want to keep it that way - take what you bring and dispose of trash properly
  • Remember, it's a real river! We recommend life vests for inexperienced swimmers and children
  • S-U-N-S-C-R-E-E-N, seriously
  • Stay hydrated! Bring plenty of water as fun in the sun can be quite dehydrating
  • Leave glass and styrofoam at home
  • Wear shoes that are strapped firmly to your feet - ditch the cute shoes, you'll thank us
  • Have a plan just in case you got lost from your group in the water
  • Don't bring anything to the river that you don't mind losing
  • Stick to public access points
  • The San Marcos River does not go in a circle... 

Events To Get Involved