Although the Natural Area has been open to the public since 2005, it is still growing. Government Canyon State Natural Area has nearly 40 miles of hiking and biking trails that range from remote rugged canyonlands to gently rolling grasslands.  Natural Area visitors may enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including picnicking, hiking, biking, trail running, geocaching, regularly scheduled guided hikes, and ranger programs.  Some of the monthly hikes/programs include: Hike the Canyon, Explore the Canyon, Full Moon Hike, and Kids in the Canyon.  For those looking for a place to go bird watching, Government Canyon State Natural Area is a good place to find the elusive and endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler, and has been designated as an Important Bird Area.

The Natural Area now allows overnight camping on Fridays and Saturdays.  There are regular walk-in (50-60 yards) campsites, and two group walk-in campsites that allow up to sixteen persons per site.

Fees + Visitor Guidelines

  • $6 per day, per person 13 and older
  • Free for children 12 and under

Special entrance rates for holders of:

  • Texas State Parks Pass
  • Youth Group Annual Entrance Permit
  • Texas Parklands Passport (Bluebonnet Pass)

Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, closed Tuesday-Thursday. The front gate is open from 7am-10pm. The Protected Habitat Area trails close annually from March 1st – August 31st. All other trails are open year-round. All pets are restricted to the Frontcountry trails.  Contact the natural area for more information prior to arrival at site as trails may close due to inclement weather or poor trail conditions.

Natural Features

Trees such as Mountain Laurel, Ashe Juniper, Mesquite and Live Oak abound, as well as Mexican Buckeye, Lindheimer’s Silk-Tassel and Escarpment Black Cherry. Steep slopes provide scenic overlooks of the surrounding Bexar County and glimpses of San Antonio. Many special and even endangered bird species, such as the Golden-cheeked Warbler, can be found here. Geologically, the Natural Area lies on the Balcones Escarpment, an area of deeply entrenched canyons that defines the eastern boundary of the Edwards Plateau. Approximately 93% of the Natural Area overlays the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. The remaining acreage overlies the transition zone for water recharge.

Government Canyon State Natural Area has highly sensitive eco-systems that need your help to remain healthy. To reduce the human impact on the Natural Area, please follow the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics.  Government Canyon State Natural Area is an official Leave No Trace partner.


Government Canyon facilities include:

  • Visitor Center
  • 25-site Walk-in tent campground
  • Restrooms
  • 1 group picnic pavilion
  • 20 picnic sites
  • Exhibit Gallery/Meeting Hall
  • Nearly 40 miles of trails
  • 5 trailheads