Hidden “Forest”: Judson Nature Trails in Alamo Heights

Dudette and I have a “secret forest” that we love to explore together.  It’s our special place where we walk, explore, and have some girl talk.  We stumbled upon this hidden gem in Alamo Heights during one of Dude’s batting practices for Alamo Heights Little League last year.  We often travel in a pack for the kids’ practices as it gives everyone the push to get outside and get some exercise.  One day Dudette and I wandered behind the AHLL batting cages and found an entrance to a series of trails that were literally hidden in our own backyard.

Dudette & Buster set off on an adventure into the Judson Nature Trails.

After exploring these trails over a handful of batting practices, and realizing the San Antonio Audubon society has its clubhouse at the formal entrance to the trails (Dudette and I have our own secret entrance), I did some digging and found out the trails are formally known as the Judson Nature Trails and are indeed maintained by the San Antonio Audobon Society.    Apparently, Dudette and I were not alone in our fascination and love of these trails.

San Antonio Audubon Society clubhouse at the entrance of the Judson Nature Trails.

In fact, the trails have been there for quite a few years and more recently have been the subject of improvement by local Scouts and expansion efforts by Alamo Heights officials.  More importantly, the trails are a prime spot for bird watching, hence the San Antonio Audubon Society’s maintenance of the nature trails.  According to their website, the “trails are good for warblers during migration. During the winter, you can expect to find Hermit Thrush, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, White-throated and Lincoln’s Sparrows, and Wood Duck. Winter Wren and Brown Creeper can be found here in the winter, but they are a bit more unusual. Barred Owls and Red-shouldered Hawks nest in and around the trails and can be found there year-round.” They even have a Beginner’s Bird Walk the first Saturday of each month (look for Judson Nature Trails on the list).

Even if bird watching isn’t your thing, the nature trails are just cool and perfect for walking your dog, riding your bike, jogging, or taking your little one on an adventure.  The trails are designated as “easy walking” so the entire family can easily enjoy them.  For an entire baseball season, Dudette and I roamed the same network of trails immediately behind the Alamo Heights pool (and the AHLL fields/batting cages) without realizing the true expanse of the trails.  We did discover that we could make our way all the way over the Olmos Park Basin sports fields.  Just last weekend, when walking our new puppy (who lives for going to the trails) I came upon a trail I hadn’t noticed before and it took me into unchartered territory (for Buster and I at least).  Dudette wasn’t with me and I can not wait to share this new discovery with her!!

This fallen tree makes an archway over the new trail I just discovered!

To find the Judson Nature Trails: (MAP):  Located in Alamo Heights at the intersection of Viesca and Greely.  From the 5900 block of Broadway, turn west on Ogden near Cambridge Elementary School, proceed west to Greely, turn south (left) one block to Viesca, then right to the parking lot on the left (which is right before you get to the Alamo Height Pool).

January 2016: UPDATE from Sally Ann Smith, co-chairman of the  Friends of Hondondo Creek Trails:

We have 20 year agreement with the city of Alamo Heights to take care of the Trails.  We are clearing out the Lugustrum and cat’s claw. We are making the trails more walkable and safer in the area behind the swimming pool and clearing and making more trails between Claiborne Way and Acacia and Morse. That said we are leaving the area natural.  We have put in a sample trail of the product that we will put on the trails to make them easier to maintain and easier to walk and run on.  Also we are working the  US Corps of Engineers and SARA and the City of San Antonio to clear invasive plants and replant with native plants.
Buster is on a break from his exploring. There are several benches throughout the trail system for you to take your own break.
Bridget was born and raised in San Antonio and moved back here after college and law school. She is a wife, full-time attorney, wrangler of four kids ages 15, 13, 3 and almost 2. As both a stepmom and mom, her life and house is always full and she loves to share about blended family life. Bridget is also passionate about infertility advocacy after having suffered multiple miscarriages and multiple rounds of IVF. Now with her stepkids, rainbow baby, and surprise baby, her family is complete and she is soaking up every minute of motherhood!


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