Old Applewhite Bridge – San Antonio, Texas - Atlas Obscura

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Old Applewhite Bridge

On the outskirts of San Antonio, a small bridge is said to be the home of a mysterious local legend known as the "Donkey Lady." 


San Antonio’s own cryptid is said to hide out under a mysterious country bridge. Old Applewhite Bridge is only about half an hour’s drive away south from downtown San Antonio, you will find the bridge is locally known as the “Donkey Lady Bridge.”

Legends about the Donkey Lady’s origins vary widely—even how long she’s been around is not agreed upon. Her story dates back to at least the 1950s, but it could be even earlier, as far back as the 1800s. Some say she was disfigured in a horrible fire started by her husband, others speculate her soul merged with that of her domesticated donkey when they were drowned together. Though many of the details about the Donkey Lady are not agreed upon, they all hold that the Donkey Lady haunts the area around Elm Creek, going after anyone who dares to cross. Most accounts say that if you honk your horn, she may come looking for you. 

Whatever the truth of the Donkey Lady’s story may be, she has become a fixture in local lore. Some visitors to the bridge claim to have spotted a person with a donkey’s face, others report finding hoof-like indentations on their car. Many claim to hear the sound of rushing hooves. The folklore is worth reading about and the trailheads around the bridge are a lovely visit. Just beware, if the Donkey Lady doesn’t get you the ivy, snakes, or feral hogs might.

Know Before You Go

Trailheads close at sunset, you may find others there at night too though. There is limited parking at the entrance of Old Applewhite Trailhead (closest to Donkey Lady Bride), but you may find a spot on the side of the road. The bridge is also blocked off to where you can only drive so close. Was common for people to honk when atop the bridge before the added security. Be aware of your surroundings, wild animals, and locals. Bring water if you plan on walking the entire 14 miles of trail.

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