San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


Expanded parking lots offer relief to finding a spot

Direction to Valencia parking
            It’s tough when you’re loved too much. At least that was what was happening at several of our natural areas. On a beautiful Spring-like day parking at Purgatory Creek Natural Area was so crowded that folks were blocking other trail users into their spots.
New parking lot on Lime Kiln Road
The City of San Marcos manages five natural areas around the city and strives to insure safe access to one of the top amenities for residents and visitors. Blanco Shoals, Purgatory Creek Natural Area, Ringtail Ridge, Schulle Canyon and Spring Lake Preserve are growing in popularity and nowhere is that more evident than the parking lots.
The Parks and Recreation Department worked the winter months expanding the existing parking spaces to double the number of vehicles being accommodated.  Jimmy Venable led 15 Parks workers in three crews who graded and cleared the spaces at three of the most popular natural areas; Spring Lake, Purgatory Creek at Hunter and Valencia (formerly Craddock). At the Lime Kiln trailhead they built a wooden rail fence and a shelter for an ADA-sized port-a-potty.
If the parking lot is muddy at any of the natural areas turn around, the trail is too, and using the trails after a big rain will only cause damage.

Purgatory Creek parking at Valencia

  Bert Stratemann, Parks Operations Manager said, “These lots have already proven to be very popular and are a much needed improvement over the previous lots. We have straightened the boundaries and added defined parking spaces, along with the added space. In all areas we are identifying no parking zones for access of emergency vehicles. It is important to note that once signage is in place towing will be enforced.”

            Now hikers, mountain bikers, birders, trail runners and other users can expect a better chance of finding parking — unless the wildflowers are in full bloom!
   Blanco Shoals Natural Area 80 acres, 0 trails
    # River Ridge Parkway   # spaces       Note: unimproved trails, borders Blanco River 
 Purgatory Creek Natural Area: (600+ acres, 10 trails, 9.4 miles of trail)
      1751 Valencia                # spaces   Note: caliche road, cattle guard
      2102 Hunter Road      # spaces   Note: most popular trailhead, water fountain
      1414 Prospect Street   # spaces   Note: neighborhood, do not block driveways
  Ringtail Ridge Natural Area (45 acres, 5 trails, 2.5 miles, includes .5 ADA trail)
   # Old Ranch Road 12     Approx. 30 spaces   Note: caliche road between Dakota Ranch and Crestwood
  Schulle Canyon   (21 acres, 3 trails, .86 miles, includes .43 mile ADA trail)
   100 Ridgewood Lane       8 spaces         Note: additional parking off Joshua Street
Spring Lake Natural Area   (251 acres, 9 trails, 4.225 miles, including .9 ADA trail)
   921 Aquarena Springs Drive,   # spaces    Note: Meadow Center parking fee M-F
   685 Lime Kiln Road                   18 spaces   Note: port-a-potty    
   #  N. LBJ                                       4 spaces   Note: Hillside Ranch II apartments trail head being developed
If you enjoy the new parking be sure and let the mayor and city council know by writing them at [email protected] 

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