Our adventure to Ringtail Ridge was one of our favorite family hikes so far. This trail is located off Old Ranch Road 12, hidden behind Dakota Ranch Apartments. The entry to the trail is a bumpy ride on a caliche road that opens to a hidden green space with a fun and interactive scavenger hunt for all ages.
This family-friendly hike is a half-mile loop trail along with a separate two and a half-mile single-track trail great for mountain bikers and runners. Upon entering, we found a captivating poster with a QR code for an online scavenger hunt. Nate and Nayeli were excited to join in on the fun and locate the various plants and points of interest during our hike. I loved the ease of using the QR code and the way it guided the kids with pictures and gave fun facts about plants and landmarks. This scavenger hunt allowed us to get up close and personal with nature. This activity also helped us work on problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills. It was entertaining listening to the kids build a plan and work together on the checklist of items.
We followed Tex’s Trail, named after Major League Baseball’s Red Sox player, and San Marcos star, Cecil Carlton “Tex” Hughson. The former site of the Hughson Meat Company, it brought back memories of driving by the old Hughson Meat Company building that was located on S. Guadalupe Street. My favorite feature of the hike was the bench that overlooked a pond named “Blood Pit.” We all sat listening to the birds and insects buzzing around there. Nayeli shrieked with excitement when a ladybug landed on her arm and quickly flew away. Along the trail, there is signage with plant pictures and facts about them. The kids enjoyed comparing the pictures to their finds. They located live oak, agarita, elbow bush, prickly pear cactus, and many others.
I admired the level of detail this trail provided, from the wooden boardwalk, rainwater collection barrel, footbridges, and well-crafted benches that shared charming views of the trail. Unique in many ways, this hike offered a piece of San Marcos history and exhibited Texas State’s service to our community.*
This well-constructed project provides residents an opportunity to enjoy our green space by exploring, learning, and working together through this fun and engaging scavenger hunt. We ended our adventure by climbing a tree, which I had not done in many years. After that we laid out our blanket and enjoyed a picnic in the grass. This trail got a five-star rating in our books: it has low foot traffic, is pet and family-friendly, and is a great trail to introduce hiking to your family!
* The scavenger hunt was created by Dr. Colleen Myle’s Geography 4322 class in the fall of 2021.
Photos and text by SMGA member Christina Casas-Moreno.