3 miles of new Salado Creek Greenway trail open

3 miles of new Salado Creek Greenway trail open

A new greenway trail extension on the southeast side follows Salado Creek – as it crosses a golf course closed for a decade that may one day be home to a future community of veterans.

A 3.1-mile extension of the Salado Creek Greenway from South Side Lions Park to the Southeast Military Parkway is now open, marking the trail’s most significant upgrade from the junction of the Salado Creeks Greenways and Leon at Eisenhower Park in October 2021.

The new extension means that the southern portion of Salado Creek Greenway now extends from Jack White Park at 3803 Seguin Rd. to the Southeast Military Parkway. The newly constructed trailhead is across from the future San Antonio Arboretum site, located at 4226 Southeast Military Drive.

If the city builds another extension south, trail-goers may start dreaming in the near future of a connection that passes under Interstate 37, connects to Brooks City-Base, and eventually connects to Salado Creek Greenway. at San Antonio’s Mission Reach. River.

Salado Creek Greenway – South Side Lions Park at Southeast Military Drive

Offers: Walking, running, cycling
Location: North trailhead at South Side Lions Park East (4600 Pecan Valley Dr.). South trail across from San Antonio Arboretum (4226 SE Military Dr.)
Trail Miles: 3.1 miles of concrete trail
Restrooms: Restrooms and drinking water at the South Side Lions. Portable toilets and drinking water arriving at the Southeastern Military Trailhead.

Visitors can now walk, run or cycle on the creekside trails, protected and away from traffic, for 11 uninterrupted miles along the east and southeast sides. I hiked the new out and back section from South Side Lions Park on Dec 22 with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 60’s just before the arctic front hit.

The first half of the trail passes through the old Pecan Valley Golf Club, its previously maintained 18-hole course now overgrown with grass, brush, and small trees.

The course opened in 1963 and hosted the PGA Championship in 1968. The course’s owner, Boerne-based Foresight Golf Management, closed the course in 2012 – despite the efforts of some golfers who fought to save the course. private course, which has been cherished by some for its PGA history and classic design. Republic Golf Club, another 212-acre Foresight property along Salado Creek just south of Southeast Military, ceased operations in 2020.

Only a decade later after Pecan Valley closed, it’s hard to make out the old greens, sand traps and fairways. Grass and leafy plants partially cover a crumbling network of concrete paths with bridges built over the creek. The only structure I noticed was a limestone walled building with a collapsed roof that looked like someone was using it as a shelter.

The latest vision for this property is a $200 million planned community designed for military veterans known as the Valor Club. Foresight president and real estate developer Dan Pedrotti originally pitched the idea, later teaming up with developers Irwin Deutch and Bill Deutch of Century Pacific and former Haven for Hope CEO George Block.

Developers envisioned a resort designed for veterans but open to the public, with health, fitness and sports facilities, an entertainment complex and retail space, according to this June 2021 report from the Development Journalist. Shari Biediger. So far, the only new construction in the area has been the Masters Ranch apartment complex, which has a fence that the trail passes just north of Southcross Boulevard.

The trail runs alongside the Masters Ranch apartment complex, which was originally part of a larger vision of a planned community designed for military veterans. Credit: Courtesy/Brendan Gibbons

I enjoyed riding through the open meadows and tall trees of the old golf course, a contrast to the closed canopy of much of the South Salado Creek Greenway. After passing under Southcross, the trail diverges a bit from the creek past a medical rehabilitation center. It follows the treeline before plunging back into the forest on the edge of the golf course.

The stream itself almost looks like a rural stream in places, marred only by the seemingly endless mounds of trash that pile up along its banks. Elsewhere, the water flows clear along a shingle bottom, banks lined with plants and trees, and plunge pools topped with water lilies. Almost everywhere you see at least a piece of plastic or polystyrene, if not a huge pile of debris.

Dumps like this are common along San Antonio’s greenways. Credit: Courtesy/Brendan Gibbons

After cleaning many places on Salado Creek with River Aid San Antonio, I am no longer surprised to see piles of trash in these areas, even full paint buckets or car batteries. Hopefully the trail access will encourage volunteer cleanups on this stretch of creek that was never allowed to the public.

South of the golf course, the trail closely follows the creek alongside municipal property for the remainder of the course. Under the canopy I saw and heard lots of birds including a hawk perched just 20ft away. It took off deeper into the trees as I slammed on the brakes trying to get a shot.

When I visited, workers had already completed a trailhead connecting to residential Valley Vista Drive and were still working on a second that appeared to connect to Ashbrook Drive. The south trailhead features water fountains, a bike repair station, bike racks, garbage cans, benches, and space for a portable toilet. The city opened it so recently that a push broom used to sweep up freshly poured concrete still leaned against a sign.

Over the next few years, I hope we will see the entire Salado Creek Greenway connected through Fort Sam Houston. When the trail is connected, it will be possible to travel approximately 55 miles through the northern two-thirds of San Antonio from the Southeast Military to the Dora Jordan trailhead on the Leon Creek Greenway on West Military Drive.

The city has not announced any upcoming work on a north-south Salado connection, but public records show it is acquiring more land south of Southeast Military Drive to continue pushing Salado Creek Greenway south. Republic Golf ceded a strip of land to the city via its gated course in June 2021.

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