Directions, Parking, and Conduct


Driving Directions

The Sanctuary can be entered from a 281 access road just north of Hildebrand Avenue. This route is marked with a solid line on the driving directions map.

To enter the Sanctuary, take the entrance ramp onto Rt. 281 North; but do not get on Rt. 281!  From the entrance ramp, take a right turn into the University of the Incarnate Word.  Next, at the stop sign, turn left and stay left until you pass the baseball fields on your right.  On the left, you'll find us at the picnic tables near our tool shed, with its "Welcome to the Headwaters" banner. If you are approaching the UIW natatorium, you have gone too far. To exit the Sanctuary, follow the same route back towards 281, but do not take the access road! Instead, continue up the hill on the route marked with a dotted line, and exit onto Hildebrand Avenue.

You can also enter and exit the Sanctuary following the dashed-dotted route along Hildebrand Avenue. Enter the Incarnate Word campus via Hildebrand Avenue at the traffic light. Drive east, turn right at the top sign, continue and cross the bridge, drive around the UIW athletic complex until the baseball and softball fields are on your left. The trailhead will be on your right. You may exit the Sanctuary following the same route.



Parking for the Sanctuary can be found at the trailhead. Parking is courtesy of the University. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, parking spots are usually readily available and no parking permit is needed. We recommend you visit on these days.

You are also welcome during the week! However, during the school year (August-May) on Mondays-Thursdays before 7:00 pm, a parking permit is required. To obtain a permit, contact our office, (210) 828-2224 ext 232, or email A permit does not guarantee a spot. If you visit Monday-Thursdays during the school year without a permit, please know you are most welcome - but you are also responsible for any parking tickets.

Map with driving directions to the Headwaters Sanctuary. Click the image to enlarge.


Sanctuary Do's and Don'ts

As a nature sanctuary, our goal is to provide a safe place for animals, plants, and their habitats. Please be a respectful visitor by following our Sanctuary conduct written below.


You are welcome to:

  • Observe and study nature
  • Explore the trails on foot (walk, jog, and run)
  • Take photographs
  • Meditate
  • Bring dogs on leashes. Pet waste bags are available at the Sanctuary entrance


Your safety is our concern, but it is your responsibility. Users of Headwaters Sanctuary assume all liability.
The Sanctuary is a home for wildlife. We people are visitors here. Leave only footprints to preserve the habitat.


  • Please, no biking or motorized vehicles. Explore only by foot and stick to the trails.
  • Do not camp, picnic, or barbecue. These restrictions preserve the habitat.
  • Campfires, open flames, firearms, and smoking endanger the trees and grass. These activities are forbidden.
  • No swimming or wading. The waters in and near the Sanctuary are sacred. Respect these spaces.
  • No removal of plants or wildlife. Take a picture and leave it for the next visitor.
  • No littering. Don't mess with Texas...or the Sanctuary.