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“UNESCO World Heritage site. FIVE Missions”
Review of Mission Trail

Mission Trail
Ranked #9 of 225 things to do in San Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A pedestrian route that starts at the Alamo and winds nine miles along the San Antonio River passing four other historical missions.
Reviewed 25 June 2018

We've never done it in one day although you can, but it consists of the Alamo (the most famous and least understood as a church) and four others. Not really bike or walking distance apart but accessible by car or bus. We've done it by car. Suggest you do the two downtown ones first and then drive out to the others. This is one of the two or three absolute must things to do in San Antonio. Each of the missions is different and each is well preserved. A real historical treat. Suggest do the Alamo and the one just on the edge of town one morning and drive out to the other three the next morning. .

1  Thank Chinapjs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"bike shop"
in 10 reviews
"bike ride"
in 20 reviews
"miles round trip"
in 8 reviews
"mission san jose"
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"rented bikes"
in 18 reviews
"mission espada"
in 23 reviews
"the river"
in 65 reviews
"historic missions"
in 11 reviews
"blue star"
in 17 reviews
"the national park service"
in 13 reviews
"bring water"
in 9 reviews
"visitor center"
in 17 reviews
"day pass"
in 10 reviews
"texas history"
in 20 reviews
"interesting history"
in 8 reviews
"alamo"
in 180 reviews
"concepcion"
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Reviewed 24 June 2018

A peaceful and thought provoking tour back through the ages. All of the missions were being kept up and the staff was eager and knowledgeable at all of the locations. Plan to spend at least an hour at every location and specifically take note of the artifact from St. John Paul II at Mission Espada.

Thank Kathy Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2018

I always love bringing visitors here. Everyone loves the sites. It can take a little bit, or you can stay as long as you like.

Thank TallyHoHoHo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2018

Many people don't know this, but in 2015 the five missions that make up the Mission Trail became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Only the 22nd in the whole of the United States! And I fully understand why, as well. Along with the drama surrounding the world famous Alamo, the other four sites are full of history, extremely well kept grounds and buildings, and really beautiful missions, most of which are still in use today. Entrance to all sites is free, including parking if you have your own vehicle. If you are visiting San Antonio and do not have a car the missions are still very easy to get to. From Alamo Plaza to the furthest missions South, Espada, is 10 miles. If you're feeling energetic you can walk or rent a city bike ($12 for 24 hours) to get to all of the missions on the trail. However, it was extremely hot when I was visiting, so I opted for Bus #40, where for $2.75 I can purchase a day pass and they pick you up and drop you off at stations right outside of each mission. The buses run every 30 minutes and are air conditioned! Make sure to mention to the bus driver which stop you are getting off at because the driver will not stop at every station automatically (I learned that lesson the hard way).

Each mission has its own personality and is a unique experience on their own. San Jose is the largest and the headquarters of the Mission Trail. It is wonderfully preserved and will be the mission you spend the most time at. Concepcion's beauty is weathered, but lovely in all its texture. Make sure to seek out the shrine to Mother Mary just outside of the front doors in the cooling shade of the trees. San Juan is probably the least dramatic, with most of the original building being half gone. There is a lovely new mission church on site, but it is not open to visitors. Another lovely outdoor shrine to the holy mother is also slightly hidden nearby. There are hiking trails from this location, if you are feeling adventurous. And finally, Espada, the oldest of the missions and my favorite! There is something warm and comforting in the simplicity of this church. Wooden beams for the ceiling, cool brick for the floor and starch white walls adorned by simple relics. The grounds are impeccable and as a plant person I appreciated the greenery that adorns the space. Make sure to head across the lawn to the learning center and discover how they made colors for weaving blankets and also the very interesting trivia about the "Moroccan" door.

5  Thank Niki M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 June 2018

My husband and I were in San Antonio for a long holiday weekend. I had checked out the missions ahead of time. I knew there was no way I could bike the trail even in one direction especially in close to 100 degree heat.( 20 miles round trip) We took the public Viva Bus #40 which takes you to all four missions. For $2.75 you can get a day pass. You pay for the pass on the bus. The # 40 bus departs from Alamo square. You can pick up the bus from either side of the street because it actually turns around by Alamo square but the correct direction to the missions is actually across the street from the Alamo. The buses typically run every half hour. As recommended we started with the furthest mission first. Mission Espada is the furthest mission out. As far as I am concerned it was the most picturesque of the four. We opted to walk on the river walk to the next mission- San Juan. It is only 1 1/2 miles away . However since we did not have a detailed map we did not realize we had to leave the river walk and cross the bridge on the mission trail. So we ultimately walked 4.2 miles. If you are at all fit I definitely recommend walking or biking all or part of the river walk. It is beautifully maintained trail with benches, pic nic tables, water fountains, maps. The fields were bursting with wild flowers. The only thing lacking on the trail is shade. There are also rental bike stations at all the missions so you could walk/bike/bus or any variation thereof. San Juan was my least favorite of the missions. San Jose is the largest of the missions. All the missions are very well done with a bounty of information..From Mission San Juan we took the bus to each remaining mission. I would recommend seeing each and every mission since they are so different and unique. If you enjoy history this trail is a must.

4  Thank JBDAVIS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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