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Cycle to the splendor of the San Juan and San Jose missions
Explore the incredible history of the San Juan and San Jose Missions as you cycle the sublimely scenic San Antonio River. Your ride along the magnificent Mission Reach Trail, with bike rental and e-bike upgrades available, is also punctuated by the awe-inspiring Whispers art installation and the evocative Espada Dam and Aqueduct.
Mission San Juan was first founded in 1716 in eastern Texas, being transferred to its present location in 1731. A gorgeous stone church, friary and granary were built in 1756, whilst the construction of a larger church was started but abandoned due to population decline. San Juan was a picture of agricultural diversity, with orchards and green gardens outside its walls providing melons, peppers, pumpkins and grapes, whilst Indian farmers cultivated beans, maize, squash, sweet potatoes, and sugar canes in the surrounding irrigated fields. Within the compound, iron tools, cloth, and hides were all produced, helping Mission San Juan to be entirely self-sustaining. By the mid 1700s, Mission San Juan was so successful in its agricultural output that it established a trade network to send surplus produce to Louisiana and Coahuila (Mexico), earning it the resources to survive epidemics and Indian attacks. Within the Mission San Juan compound, visitors today can view a living demonstration farm.
Your brilliant bike tour leads you onwards to the largest of the missions, San Jose, nicknamed the ‘Queen of the Missions’. This area was almost fully restored to its former glory in the 1930s by the Works Projects Administration (WPA), providing an atmospheric experience in an area seemingly frozen in time. The Mission San Jose turned 300 years old in 2020, and still displays many of the relics of its first founding. As you explore, you can view the Rose Window, considered to be the finest example of Spanish colonial ornamentation anywhere in the US, and thought to be named either after the creator’s partner, Rosa, who was tragically killed on her sea voyage from Spain, or after the first Saint of the New World, Saint Rose of Lima. It is thought that during its 104 years of operation as a Spanish mission, San Jose baptized over 2,000 individual Indians.
The Espada Dam, a diversion dam, is the only Spanish-built dam that remains in San Antonio. Constructed in 1745, a natural ledge across the San Antonio River lent itself to the flagstone structure that enabled the mission farms to flourish by bringing much-needed water to the fields. These days, the crashing waters are an atmospheric backdrop to your bike tour along the radiant river.
Along your route following the Mission Reach Trail, your guide will take you to awe-inspiring art installations, including the Whispers, so-named because the pieces are said to ‘speak’ to each other through their vibrant colors and captivating form. Winding your way past the Whispers is like riding beside a rainbow, the installation guaranteed to dazzle and delight.
Embark on an unmissable biking adventure to two of San Antonio’s magnificent missions, leaving with authentic insights, magical memories, and a true appreciation for the unbounding beauty of the Mission Reach Trail and San Antonio River.
Days Start Finish Monday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am ~12:00 pm
Rate USD Rider With Bike Rental $70.36 Rider Without Bike Rental $59.54 Rider with Electric Bike Rental $97.42
Minimum of 2 participants required to start this tour.
Mission San Juan, Mission San Jose, Mission Reach Trail, San Antonio River, Espada Dam, Whispers art installation, Espada Aqueduct
- Bike and helmet rental
- English-speaking guide
- Bluetooth ear-piece
Meeting place & directions
Bike Tours start and end at same location - a block south of Mission San Jose. Our meeting address will be on your Confirmation Email that you will receive when you book a tour
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