It's been five years since the first review and not much has changed.
I walked this trail last weekend during a warm spell. I parked my van just south of the Visitor's Center at Mission San Jose and walked to Mission San Juan. It was a hot, exposed trail along the San Antonio levy. The few pecan trees offered no shade at this time. I walked down to Mission Espada, the most southern mission. The entire walk, plus the stops at the two most southern missions, took me three hours. I was exhausted. I walked this trail more for the exercise than the scenery. (I am a distance runner)
There is not much to see along this trail besides the missions that are hidden off the trail. What I did like was watching the Great Blue Herons, Sharp-shinned Hawks, cormorants, egrets and other birds along the creek. (The San Antonio river at this point is a small, untamed river prone to flooding). The visitor's center at the Mission San Jose is also worthy of a stop.
There was a lot of trash along the trail: beer bottles, pop cans, plastic bags. It did not add to the beauty of this trail.
I would recommend this trail for cyclists or joggers or avid power hikers. A round trip to all four missions would easily add ten miles to one's walking/hiking log.
Signs in the parking lots of each mission warn visitors to keep valuables out of sight in the vehicles. Even a park ranger warned of frequent break-ins. That put me ill at ease but my van was not broken into.
Each mission is worthy of a visit but even I must say that this trail is not recommendable for families with young children or for slow walkers. There is only water at the mission sites and not along the trail.
Plans are in the works for the mission trail to be connected to the San Antonio river walk further north by 2010. I walked the River Walk the next day from south to north and back and liked that trail so much more, for its foliage and tranquility. (The touristy part in the center of town was also nice...early on a Sunday morning.)
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.