by Renee Combs-Crayton
Looking for a dose of history, fun, and a little exercise within beautiful San Antonio, Texas? Want to explore the the oldest unrestored stone church in America while biking or hiking down the San Antonio River? Look no further than the San Antonio Missions Hike and Bike Trail. Grab a bike, a pair of running/hiking shoes, or your car if you're not into the burning muscles and jello legs of the bike trail and enjoy this hidden gem.
We strategically parked our cars near the Blue Star Brewing Company so we could celebrate our round trip bike trip of 18 miles with a delicious burger and a refreshing craft beer. After all, doesn't everyone celebrate a 20 mile bike ride with a glass of beer? We left from our home in Bastrop and met some friends (Friends = World Class Cyclists) for an outstanding ride along the San Antonio River. This a nice a day trip for those in the Hill Country as it only took us an hour and half to get to our spot and hop on the bikes.
I recommend parking on the northern end of the trail (if your coming from 35 north or south exit 536/ S Alamo Street and hang a left on Blue Star) as there is quite a bit of parking and a great spot to people watch. Be sure to pack some water whether hiking or biking the trail anytime of the year.
Our friends had biked the trail in the past and were very helpful in guiding us along the river....once we caught back up with them. Head south and look for markers to point you in the right direction. There are four missions along the trail and each one has its own charm and beauty in architecture.
Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo was our favorite as it seems your stepping back years into our rich history. You almost forget your not in a European country admiring such grand pieces of Spanish influence. Admire the San Antonio River as you ride, hike, or casually stroll along the well maintained trail.
The other three missions (Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Espada) are equally as impressive but of course the Alamo is our greatest shrine. While not on this trail, we do recommend taking the time to checkout the Alamo.
Be sure to look for other historical points of interest along the trail including the Espada, Aqueduct (simliar to what the Romans used to supply and move water), Acequia de San Juan, as well numerous places to take a breather and take in the scenery and San Antonio skyline. We had a great time biking the trail, admiring our history, and sharing some laughs as we struggled to keep up with our cyclist friends.
Make sure to end your excursion with some food and maybe a beer at Blue Star Brewing. It was a great place to replenish our bodies and enjoy a cold beverage. Hope to see you on the trail...
As the Crow Flies, a travel photography blog with a mission to inspire people to get outdoors and have adventures. They are avid backpackers, hikers, campers, and adventurers who love to explore places off the beaten path with their two dogs, Luckenback and Crockett, a small black and white Chihuahua and a massive yellow lab.