San Antonio's Famous River Walk Keeps Growing

By Sam Scott on April 29, 2011 at 3:35 am EST
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San Antonio’s River Walk along the San Antonio River is a tourist hub of Texas visited each year by millions of people.

The city’s famous River Walk offers the chance to ride in an open, barge-style boat through downtown. The existing Paseo del Rio already provides blocks of walkways that wind under bridges and through downtown, connecting bars, shops and restaurants with tourism magnets like the Alamo.

Throngs of people line its banks to watch a classic American tradition – the annual Texas Cavalier’s River Parade, where festooned floats drift down the river as part of the Fiesta San Antonio.

In 2009, the four-mile Museum Reach was unveiled, which takes the River Walk into Brackenridge Park, passing near the historic Pearl Brewery and San Antonio Museum of Art.

A similar change is planned for the Mission Reach, which, at eight miles, will be twice the length of the northern expansion and will restore the ecosystem and provide hiking and biking access along the San Antonio River to near Missions Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan Capistrano and Espada.

Planners expect the extension to attract corporate headquarters, retail development and recreation such as bicycling and canoeing.

The Mission Reach project will bring the river back from a straight drainage channel to a natural, meandering course lined with cobblestones.

The result should help restore habitat for Guadalupe bass, blue gill and other native species and reintroduce native trees, grass and plants along the river’s bank, including Texas bluebonnets, but­tonbush shrubs, and pecan and wild olive trees that will feed wildlife.

“The San Antonio River Improvements Project has as its goal a 13-mile, linear park that runs through the heart of the city,” says Steven Schauer, manager of external communications for the San Antonio River Authority. “We’re taking the River Walk downtown as the core, and extending north and south from there.”

For more information on the project, visit www.sanantonioriver.org.

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