Jun 14

Missions Trail: San Antonio

Mission Concepcion

The Missions Trail of San Antonio is like a time machine that Karen and I got to go on.  The missions were established in the early 1700s by Franciscans and the Spanish Government.  They created the first mission in 1718 and by 1731 there were 5 missions located on the San Antonio River.  These missions were set up to bring the Catholic Church to the native inhabitants so eventually they could be converted and the natives could become citizens of Spain.

If you are new to the area or have a little bit of difficulty navigating like and Karen and I do then the missions might be a little difficult for you to get to.  In reality, if you have a good map or a smart phone with GPS you should have no problems what-so-ever.  Unfortunately at the time that we were down in the San Antonio area, we had neither of those things but eventually we found our way.  Sometimes we do not plan too far ahead and I fly by the seat of my pants and Karen being the sweet lady that she is she kind of goes with it until she gets hungry and then we better be heading in the right direction.
Door to the Mission

The Mission Trail has four missions along it.  Heading south from the city you will pass the all of these missions in following order: Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Espada.  I would plan on spending a good portion of the afternoon if you want to see all of the missions and have enough time to explore each one sufficiently.   If you are spending more than one day in San Antonio you might want to do a little research on what time of day it is best to see each of the missions.  Karen and I were only in San Antonio for one day so when I was taking pictures I had to work with the light that was available to me.
Mission Concepcion Sign

Mission Concepcion took about 20 years to build and it pretty much looks the same as it always has.  It is a pretty cool feeling walking around in a place that has so much history.  The mission is considered to be where the first battle of the Texas Revolution took place.  In fact, when Santa Anna led his army to attack the Texans he thought they would be placed at the Mission Concepcion instead of Alamo.
Mission San Jose Sign

Mission San Jose is the biggest of the San Antonio Missions.  Most people think of a mission as a church but in fact it is a community with the Catholic Church as its focus.   In its heyday, the mission housed over 350 Native Americans.  Mission San Jose showed Karen and me just how extensive these missions were with its wide field and multiple wells.  The church of the Mission San Jose is beautifully designed with many fine carvings on the front wall.  If you are only going to see one mission in your time in San Antonio, this I the one to see.
Mission San Jose

Mission San Juan Capistrano is probably the most run down of all the missions on the trail.  Karen and I did not spend very much time here besides reading the signs about the mission.  I do not recommend that you skip any of the missions but if you are running out of time this is the one to skip.
Mission Espada Sign

Mission Espada is the southernmost of the San Antonio chain of missions.  It was actually created in 1690 in eastern Texas and then moved to its current location in 1731.  Karen and I found this mission to be the prettiest of all the missions on the trail.
Mission Espada Bells

The Mission Trail was a wonderful experience full of history that should not be missed, while we were there it seemed like the Alamo was packed and the other four missions in San Antonio had very few people visiting.  In our humble opinion, just seeing the Alamo alone would be a big mistake.  Also make sure you stop by the Park Mission Center at Mission San Jose to check out the museum inside to get information about the missions.

Mission Trail
Location of the 4 Missions on the Trail in San Antonio, Texas
Mission Concepción            Mission San José
807 Mission Road                       6701 San José Drive

Mission San Juan                  Mission Espada
9101 Graf Road                            10040 Espada Road

Hours of Operation are from 9 to 5 daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years
Admission is Free
For more information check at the National Historical Park website at http://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm

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1 comment

  1. Cecilis

    I think I was about 10 when Nana and Papa took us to see this; Still looks the same and that was like neon lights ago. Glad to see that someone takes history important and not let it crumple.

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