San Antonio 3 Spanish Missions Bike Tour

    Rider Level: Leisure Electric bike tours

    Rider Level: Leisure Electric bike tours

    4 hours | 14 miles
    From $92.01 USD
    San Antonio, TX

    Tap above to jump to different sections of this tour

    • Explore the majesty of Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, and Mission San Jose

      Ride the magnificent Mission Reach Trail en route to three spectacular Spanish Missions on this unforgettable bike tour, with bike rental and e-bike upgrades available. In four hours, you’ll follow your knowledgeable guide to the missions of Espada, San Juan, and San Jose, wending your way along the scenic San Antonio River and visiting Espada Dam, Espada Aqueduct, and the Whispers and Arbol de la Vida art installations en route.

      This day tour is specially designed to delve into the fascinating history of the three missions of Espada, San Juan, and San Jose, providing an insightful understanding of how these compounds impacted the daily lives of their inhabitants and shaped the culture of San Antonio and southern Texas.

      Mission Espada was the first mission in Texas, founded in 1690 near present-day Weches before being transferred to the San Antonio River in 1731, where a friary and church were completed in 1745 and 1756, respectively. In light of government policies at the time, the Franciscan missionaries endeavored to make life in mission communities as close as possible to the routines and culture of Spanish villages. In order to do so, the Native Americans who inhabited these Texan missions learned several vocational skills, including weaving, blacksmithing, masonry, and carpentry, skills that, following secularization, would become indispensable to the post-colonial growth of San Antonio.

      On your visit to Mission Espada, you’ll park up your bicycle and explore the glorious grounds. Venturing northwards, you’ll discover the Espada Aqueduct, constructed by the Franciscans in 1745 to bring water from the San Antonio River to the farmlands of Mission Espada and its surrounding areas.

      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. Similarly, as you cycle past the Arbol de la Vida, you’ll be in awe of this inspiring tree sculpture, adorned with 700 clay sculptures made by members of the community and designed to reflect heritage themes and rich traditions.

      Embark on an unmissable biking adventure to three 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.

      • Aged exterior of Mission San Jose, San Antonio, Texas, USA. CC:Iridescent
      • Mission San Juan Capistrano, Named after Saint John of Capestrano, in San Antonio, Texas, USA. CC:Larry D. Moore
      • Rich garden outside of Mission San Juan San Antonio, Texas, USA. CC:Bernard Gagnon

      View more photos


      Days Start Finish
      Monday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am ~1:00 pm


      Rate USD
      Rider With Bike Rental $92.01
      Rider Without Bike Rental · Bring your own bike! $81.19
      Rider with Electric Bike Rental · Upgrade to an electric bike for an addition $25 | Must be 18 or older with a valid drivers license $119.08

      Minimum of 2 participants required to start this tour.


      Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, Mission San Jose, Mission Reach Trail, San Antonio River, Espada Dam, Whispers art installation, Espada Aqueduct, Arbol de la Vida art installation, Mission acequia systems

      What’s included

      • Bike and helmet rental
      • English-speaking guide
      • Bluetooth earpiece

      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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