Balcones District Park is at 12017 Amherst Drive in the Northwest area of town. This large park has lots of trail and one could just go and go, but due to limited time yesterday I called it at 1.26 miles. As anyone who runs trails knows, the effort and time for even a shorter run like this is more than the distance belies versus road running. The “main” trail head can be found (somewhat inexplicably) by following the “Picnic Area and Horseshoes” sign behind the playground. The trail here is pretty technical in some spots and there is some decent elevation change. You dip down to cross a creek area very early on which I assume would be a small water crossing in wetter times. A large clearing comes up next and the trail continues directly across the clearing.
This was my second time running at this park and I have to say the wooded trail section doesn’t feel especially safe for a solo runner even in the middle of the day. Even though you can hear traffic noises all around, it has a pretty secluded feel – not in the good way. There is clear evidence of some folks living in the woods here and it just doesn’t feel that secure, which is unfortunate because it’s actually a beautiful place that I’d like to explore in more depth if those factors weren’t as present or if I was running with a friend.
By running around the perimeter of the open area of the park lining the woods, you can discover several little trails to have a look around aside from the main one. I saw at least a dozen bluejays and three large lizards of a species I’ve never seen before; they were too quick and elusive for me to snap a photo. Keep an eye out for the gorgeous yellow cactus roses just making an appearance right now.
This park also features restrooms, water fountains, basketball courts and a swimming pool (hot post-run cross training, anyone?). On-site parking is plentiful. Some depression dips and push-ups on a picnic bench rounded out my chest & shoulders strength training from earlier in the day.
In addition to the photos posted here, you can view more from this and other parks here.
Other Workouts Since Last Post: Also Friday – yoga class