Thursday, June 11, 2015

San Angelo is a Good Walking Town

I do enjoy living in San Angelo. The longer I live here, the more I like it. For a city its size (about 100,000), it is easy to get around, it has good medical facilities, shopping is good, and the restaurant scene continues to improve. The local community theater puts on some good plays, as does the university, and there are various other opportunities for entertainment.

One of the things I really like about San Angelo is all the opportunities for walking available here. Let me give you a run down of some of the places in our city where you can walk.

First and foremost there is San Angelo State Park. If you like to hike -- or bike -- there are over 50 miles of trails in the park. We enjoy the trails -- and we've walked every mile of them -- but we also enjoy walking the paved roads in the park. It's a peaceful place to walk, away from city sounds and worries. Since there is little traffic in the park, you can relax as you pound down the roadway. The park is large enough that you can put together a road walk of just about any distance you might be interested in. And if you are looking for a place with ups and downs, you can find them at the park. There is an entrance fee to the park.

Nearby is the O C Fisher dam. I wrote about this place in January 2014 (see "Hike Report: O.C. Fisher Lake Dam"). From the parking area at the park headquarters off Mercedes Street, you can walk onto the dam, and there is no fee. Keep your eyes peeled to the paved surface and you will see distances written on the surface. I've never walked the entire length of the dam; the farthest I've walked is the sub-station about halfway, and that is a bit more than 2 miles. Remember that you have to return the way you came, so walk 2 miles out and you have to walk 2 miles back for a 4 mile total. The views of the surrounding area are quite good in all directions. Since this is a dam, the surface is extremely level, ideal for bike riders who don't like pedaling up hills. I measured the total length of the dam on Google Maps, and it returned a one-way distance of 7 miles. I cannot verify the accuracy of this, but that would make a nice round-trip bike ride.

The Concho River downtown has a walking path, mostly paved, of about 1.5 miles one-way (See "The Concho River" from December 2012). It's a pleasant walk, mostly level. There are benches along the way to stop and rest, and restrooms are available in Santa Fe Park. The houses on the opposite side of the river are impressive, and the trees and birds along the river are interesting.

The Red Arroyo Trail Project is expected to be completed this summer.The trail will follow Red Arroyo that snakes through several residential areas in southwest San Angelo. The paved bike and pedestrian path will be about 4 miles, making for a nice walk in an urban environment. Since the trail is not yet open, I really have no experience with this trail, but I look forward to trying it out.

A lot of folks in town park across the street from the KOA near Lake Nasworthy and walk the 2 mile Gun Club Road loop. While building our house, Donna and I stayed in the KOA, so we made the loop a few times. It has some nice ups and downs, and views of the lake are pleasant. This is not a park or designated walking area -- it just happens to be a place that has evolved over time.

Middle Concho Park is located at Lake Nasworthy. This 90 acre park is accessed off Red Bluff Road, which is next to Packsaddle BBQ off of Knickerbocker. Just follow the winding road to its end. Entrance fees are accessed on weekends and holidays, but during the week there is no fee. The park actually fronts the Middle Concho River as it feeds into Lake Nasworthy. I've never walked out here, but I drove the roads recently to get an idea of distance and believe you could get a 2.5 mile walk in the park.

Finally, there is Spring Creek Park, which is located along the banks of Spring Creek as it feeds into Lake Nasworthy. It is a 60 acre park with fees collected on weekends and holidays. We spent 6 weeks at the RV park there a few years back. It is perhaps the busiest of the parks around the lake, and the RV park attracts lots of out of town visitors. If you walk the entire length of the road, you can get close to 3 miles (round-trip). With the trees and water, it's a nice place to walk. Keep an eye out for deer, turkey, and black squirrels.

There are numerous other parks located around town, but these are the ones where you can actually get some distance and variety in your walks.  Happy walking!

Walking opportunities in San Angelo. See legend below for details.

A = San Angelo State Park
B = O. C. Fisher Dam
C = Riverwalk along Concho River near downtown
D = New Red Arroyo Trail
E = Gun Club Road walking loop
F = Middle Concho Park
G = Spring Creek Park

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