San Antonio Missions National Historical Park | RIVER WALK: MISSION CONCEPCION TO MISSION SAN JOSE

San Antonio River Walk at Mission Concepcion

San Antonio River Walk at Mission Concepción


This article provides a detailed report for hiking and biking door to door from Mission Concepción to Mission San José via the San Antonio River Walk.


Length:  4.25 miles
Difficulty:  Easy

The San Antonio River Walk, a paved multi-use trail that is open to hikers, bikers, and skaters, does not pass directly in front of Mission Concepción, so you must travel a short ways from the mission on a paved connector trail to reach it. From the mission parking lot, head north on the sidewalk along Mission Road to the intersection with East Theo Avenue—you can see this from the parking lot. Take the crosswalk to get to the connector trail on the other side of the road.

Start of the multi-use path that connects Mission Concepcion to the San Antonio River Walk

Start of the multi-use path that connects Mission Concepción to the San Antonio River Walk

It’s about a half mile down the connector trail to the San Antonio River and the River Walk. If you plan on traveling south, when the connector trail forks near the river (there are three right-hand forks, all leading to a picnic area), stay straight and continue on what is now basically the sidewalk along East Theo Avenue. Cross over the San Antonio River on the Theo Road Bridge. The River Walk is on the other side.

If you want to head north towards the Alamo, take any of the three right-hand forks through the park (the third one is best) and just keep going towards the river until the trail dead ends at a T-intersection with another multi-use path. Take a right. A little over a tenth of a mile ahead is a pedestrian bridge that connects you to the northbound River Walk on the other side of the San Antonio River.

If you were to take a left at the T-intersection, in .6 mile is a pedestrian bridge over the river that connects to the southbound River Walk. Take a left to get to Mission San José. A right just leads back to the East Theo Avenue bridge.

Pedestrian bridge over the San Antonio River leads to the Rive Walk multi-use path

Pedestrian bridge over the San Antonio River leads to the Rive Walk multi-use path

This trail review covers the journey south to Mission San José. For the record, I rode my bike, and if you plan to see all the missions via the River Walk, a bike is the only way to do it in a day.

There are four vehicle bridges that you will pass under as you travel south. Be sure to keep track of them because just after the fourth bridge is Mission County Park, a Bexar County park with picnic tables and pavilions. A sign along the San Antonio River Walk directs you to exit here to get to Mission San José. Take the exit, keep straight past the pavilions, and continue until you come to a vehicle road (the picnic area parking lot should be on your left). On the opposite side of the road is a pedestrian path that leads out to Padre Road. Take this path, and when you get to the road, turn left. In a little over a tenth of a mile, just after passing the Rancho del Charro rodeo arena, is a crosswalk, and on the other side of the road is the paved connector trail to Mission San José. The paths cuts through the forest and comes out at the back of the church. Total distance from the River Walk to the church is roughly .7 mile.

Mission San Jose exit from the San Antonio River Walk at Mission County Park

Mission San José exit from the San Antonio River Walk at Mission County Park

There is a second route to Mission San José for those who want to see more of the River Walk before exiting. Skip past Mission County Park and continue south. You’ll pass another park (Padre Park) and what looks like a dam but is really an artificial riffle. These are created to help aerate the water for the benefit of the San Antonio River’s aquatic life. The concrete platform at the riffle is for launching hand-paddled watercraft and also serves as a popular fishing spot. Running down the center of the riffle is what looks like a log flume. This is a canoe shoot that those is kayaks and canoes can ride down in order to reach the lower section of the river instead of having to portage around the riffle.

Hand-paddled watercraft launch point on the San Antonio River near Padre Park

Hand-paddled watercraft launch point on the San Antonio River near Padre Park

Artificial riffle with a canoe shoot on the San Antonio River near Padre Park

Artificial riffle with a canoe shoot on the San Antonio River near Padre Park

One hundred and fifty yards beyond the riffle is a pedestrian bridge across the San Antonio River that leads to the Acequia Trail, another multi-use path. At this point the River Walk veers from the river and heads up to Padre Drive where it crosses East Pryor Avenue. Keep going for another 150 yards to the next road intersection, Napier Avenue. Keep in mind that since this is not the official River Walk path to Mission San José that you won’t see any signs on the trail directing you to the mission. Take the crosswalk to Napier Avenue and follow the road until it forks at a field with two picnic areas; take a right at the fork. In a tenth of a mile the road ends at San Jose Drive. Across the street is the parking lot for Mission San José.

Total distance door-to-door from Mission Concepción to Mission San José is 4.25 miles.

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Last updated on June 17, 2022
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