September 4, 2018

Sights to See: Mission Trail, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, San Antonio, Texas


San Antonio Missions National Historical Park  Daily 9am-5pm.  Free; donations accepted.

road map of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
road map of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


Though only four missions are included on the official Mission Trail, it technically begins at the Alamo and winds southward along a 12-mile stretch of the San Antonio River.  You can follow the trail by driving, biking, or walking, or you can take the city bus.  Each mission is located about 2.5 miles from the next.  It is easy to drive the route (allow about 2 to 4 hours to see all four missions), and free parking is available at each mission site.  The four missions that make up this National Historic Park were established in the 1700s by the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church.  Each is still active and holds services.  They have diverse architectural styles and feature art from the Spanish colonial period.  They also vary in accessibility and facilities, and though the parks are always open the hours as stated, the museums and visitor facilities are not.  Along with the Alamo, which is technically the first of these missions, they recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is interesting to know that there are more Spanish missions in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California.


Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo)  1718.  See “The Alamo.”

The Alamo in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
The Alamo in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


Mission Concepci√≥n  807 Mission Road.  This mission was established in 1716 in East Texas, and moved here in 1731.  It is the best preserved of the Texas missions, and the church here is the oldest unrestored stone church in the U.S.

sign for Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
sign for Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior of church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior of church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


interior of church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
interior of church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


holy water dispenser in church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
holy water dispenser in church at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


Mission San Jos√©  6701 San Jose Drive.  Established in 1720, this is the "Queen of the Missions" and is the largest mission.  The church was constructed in 1768--look for the section of the wall that still has the original paint.  The visitor center is also located here with information about all the missions and a short orientation film.  The beautifully manicured grounds feature pecan and oak trees as well as colorful flowers.

exterior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


flying buttress at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
flying buttress at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


interior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
interior of church at Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


Mission San Juan (also known as Mission San Juan Capistrano)  9101 Graf Road.  Established in 1716 in East Texas, this mission was moved here in 1731.

sign for Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
sign for Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior of church at Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior expanse at Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior expanse at Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


Virgin of Guadalupe altar at Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
Virgin of Guadalupe altar at Mission San Juan in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


Mission Espada (also known as Mission San Francisco de la Espada)  10040 Espada Road.  Established in 1690 near present-day Augusta, this mission was moved here in 1731.  The Espada Acequia--or Piedras Creek Aqueduct--was built by Franciscan friars that same year to supply irrigation water to nearby land.  It is still in use today.

sign at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
sign at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


entrance to Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
entrance to Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


expansive grounds at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
expansive grounds at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


exterior of church at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
exterior of church at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


interior of church at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas
interior of church at Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, Texas


trip planner for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

More things to do in San Antonio.

More UNESCO sites.

Great ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

2 comments:

  1. I didn't know there were 4 other missions besides the Alamo. I always punch myself for not knowing any better when I visit a place and miss great spots!

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  2. I've long wanted to visit San Antonio especial to see the historic missions. The ones you've chosen look incredible - especially the Mission Concepcion in San Antonio. Very atmospheric

    ReplyDelete