Madla Park: A Beautiful Natural Area in Helotes

As a photographer, I’ve spent a lot of time in some of our city’s prettiest parks. And I’m frequently surprised by the number of families who have never been to many of these spots. So I thought I’d share some info – and beautiful pictures – from some of my favorites. You can find links to more down at the bottom but for today: Madla Park.

Senator Frank L. Madla, Jr. Natural Area

The official name of Madla Park is Senator Frank L. Madla, Jr. Natural Area. Madla was born in Helotes and spent 33 years serving in both the US House of Representative and Texas State Senate.

What To Expect There

Located west of San Antonio in Helotes, this park is not a playground kind of park but a beautiful natural area. It has a field, forest, and a beautiful overlook. There’s a small building and a pavilion, but you’re really just out there to take in a peaceful bit of nature. There are walking trails to enjoy and some picturesque backdrops and not a whole lot more.

Senior portrait of a girl in an emerald green dress. She sits in the pavilion at Madla Park in Helotes, TX just outside of San Antonio.

Finding the Madla Park Overlook

You may have seen pictures of the beautiful overlook at Madla. But it’s not obviously marked when you show up. Expect about a 10-minute moderate hike uphill to reach the overlook. There is a service road, but you cannot drive up to it – be prepared to hike! When you park at Madla you’ll see the big field and pavilion right at the front. The trail on the right edge of the field is the one to follow to get up to the overlook. The overlook is not a huge area, so be prepared to wait for a turn if you want to take some pictures up there without other people in them. Madla isn’t a super busy park, but I *always* recommend weeknights over weekends for things like this.

Pictures at Madla Park

For my photographer friends, this is a lovely spot to take some photos. To keep it that way, follow the rules and don’t give photographers a bad name! There is a permit required to shoot there. It’s $40 for a single session, or $200 for an annual permit. Film permits and drones are not allowed, and neither is rice/confetti/glitter/flower petals/etc. The cottage and pavilion are also available to rent.

Portrait of a San Antonio senior at Madla Park in Helotes. She sits on a large boulder in the field and the sun sets behind her.

Madla Park is located at 9780 Menchaca Rd, Helotes, TX 78023. It is open daily sunrise to sunset.

Interested taking portraits here? Contact me through my website and let’s chat about creating something beautiful together!

OR take a look at some other parks I’ve written about in this location series:

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