More River Walk mileage good for fitness walking
The San Antonio River through the heart of the city long ago was channeled and is no longer truly natural, but the pay-off is the River Walk, a lively recreation and entertainment area. To attract visitors and as a local asset as well, architect Robert H. H. Hugman developed River Walk for a 21-block section, completed in March of 1941, that transformed downtown through beautification, preservation and flood control. Further revitalization took place in advance of Hemisfair ‘68, the world’s fair to celebrate San Antonio’s 250th anniversary.
Today, restaurants and hotels line the walkway below street level. From late morning till late at night, it is a popular place for dining, partying, strolling and people-watching. Early in the morning, it is also a wonderful place for joggers and walkers, with or without poles.
As the River Walk is growing, less congested extensions suitable for fitness walking, with or without poles are being developed — and these also show greater 21st century regard for the natural environment and creativity. In the mid- 2000s, city leaders dreamed of expanding the River Walk to ultimately span 15 miles. The 1.33 mile Museum Reach north of downtown completed in 2009 features visual and aural works of art, terraces landscaped with native plants and pedestrian access to the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the historic Pearl Brewery complex. River taxis pass through a lock-and-dam system to transport visitors to and from the original River Walk area.
To the south, the one-mile Eagleland section incorporates ecosystem restoration, a walking path and hiking and biking trails. The Mission Reach section, opening in phases with completion slated for later this year, extends eight miles to Mission Espada. Key to this segment is restoration of the river and its banks for aquatic life and wildlife, along with construction of 15 miles of recreational trails, picnic and seating areas, pedestrian bridges, pavilions and portals to four Spanish colonial missions—Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada.
I just recently spent a long weekend in San Antonio, but with a full schedule, there was not enough time to put in any mileage on this beguiling walkway. Next visit.