Government Canyon State Natural Area

Park Alert...

Government Canyon State Natural Area

  • Discovery Trail Aerial at Government Canyon
    Just outside of San Antonio lies a pristine natural area.
  • Cactus Overlook
    Water is a precious commodity here, protected and conserved.
  • Playscape
    Bring the kids for a picnic and to play on our natural playscape.
  • Discovery Trail
    The 1.23-mile Discover Trail is an accessible and educational nature trail for the whole family.
  • Government Canyon Trail
    Explore more than 40 miles of trails through woods, across grasslands and up to limestone ridges.
  • Government Canyon Cistern
    Stop by our visitor center to see native plants, find information and shop for souvenirs.
  • Government Canyon Panorama
    Enjoy views of the Hill Country from high spots along trails.

Recharge in the Wild

On the north side of San Antonio lies a 12,000-acre wil­der­ness that protects the city’s drinking water. You’ll find your own “Recharge Zone” in this vast urban refuge.

Things to Do

Government Canyon State Natural Area offers more than 40 miles of trails. You can also camp, attend a program or guided hike, geocache, picnic, take nature photos, and look for birds and other wildlife. Your kids will connect with “natural fun” at our playscape and Discovery Trail.

Reserve our gallery or pavilion for your next meeting or reunion.

Read about the accessibility of our facilities and Discovery Trail.

The natural area is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

Hiking/biking trails

Our trails cross gently rolling grass­lands and remote, rugged can­yon-lands. Explore by hiking, moun­tain biking, or even trail running. Some trails are only for hiking – please observe trail signs. Find trails information, including suggested hikes.

Take a walk through time on the Joe Johnston Route to the Zizelmann House, built in the 1880s. You’ll pass 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks and a prehistoric midden (look for a sign with information on this Native American site).

For great views, hike the Far Reaches Trail to the Chula Vista and Sotol overlooks, or to the North and South Bluff Spurs overlooks.

Trails may close due to poor con­di­tions or weather. Check our Twitter or Facebook accounts for the latest trail reports, or call the park.


Reserve one of 23 walk-in tent camp­sites. We also have two walk-in group tent camps for up to 16 people.

Campgrounds are open Friday and Saturday nights only. We open for additional nights around holidays; visit our Events page for those dates.

Dinosaur tracks

Take a hike to see the only known dinosaur footprints on public land in Bexar County. Scientists think that Acro­can­thosaurus and Sauro­po­sei­don dinosaurs left the tracks, nearly 110 million years ago.

Leave No Trace

Government Canyon State Natural Area protects a highly sensitive eco­system. We need your help to keep it pristine.

To reduce human impact here, please follow Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics. Government Canyon State Natural Area is an official Leave No Trace partner.

Get involved

We welcome volunteers! Join a volun­teer group (Friends of Govern­ment Canyon, Activities Com­mit­tee, Natural Resource Projects) or check our Volunteer page.

We also need park hosts, who stay for free in exchange for volunteering. Call us to learn more!

Join or donate to the Friends of Government Canyon.


Stop by our park store for books, nature items and souvenirs.

Ranger Programs

Come to one of our programs and guided hikes. Check our Events page for the schedule, or contact the Natural Area for special tours.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


Become a Junior Ranger!


We offer on- and off-site programming for your students. Visit our Field Trips page to learn more. 

Area Attractions

San Antonio offers restaurants, museums and more. Highlights include:

Visit the Landmark Inn State Historic Site in Castroville.

Trails Updates

Current Status

Trails are OPEN.

Hours: Fri-Mon, 7 am-10 pm

12861 Galm Rd
San Antonio, TX 78254

Latitude: 29.549316

Longitude: -98.764715

(210) 688-9055

Entrance Fees
  • Adult: $6 Daily
  • Child 12 Years and Under: Free

Open Friday through Monday,
7 a.m. – 10 p.m. 

Closed Tuesday through Thursday.


We often reach capacity and highly recommend reservations for both camping and day use. To guarantee entry,  reserve passes online or by calling the customer service center before you visit.

On major holidays and spring break, Government Canyon may open for additional dates for day use. Visit our Holiday Schedule page for details.

The Protected Habitat Area trails are open annually September through February. All other trails are open all year. All pets and domesticated animals are restricted to the front country trails. Trails may be closed due to poor conditions or weather. 

Closure information

Check our Twitter feed, Facebook page, or call us for  capacity closures and trail reports.