San Antonio Sightseeing Trips: The Gruene Bike Trails

Options for San Antonio sightseeing trips are abundant, especially for bicycle riders. The city and its surrounding area are rich with trails that are perfect for two wheels. One of the most popular destinations for cyclists is the tiny town of Gruene, located in between San Antonio and Austin. The location is the site of the annual Tour De Gruene in early November, but the various routes can be enjoyed any time of year. Here’s a look at some of the more popular trails:

  1. A short, 10-mile ride begins in Gruene then heads towards the town of Hunter in the northeast. Along the way, riders have the chance to enjoy some of the Lone Star State’s most picturesque farmland. The return route goes through the little hamlet of New Braunfels, crossing the Guadalupe River twice in the process. An easy journey for even beginning cyclists, the route is exceptionally flat, with only 112 feet of elevation gain during its entire course.
  2. A longer, 20-mile route also starts in Gruene, traveling into Hunter itself. Along the way, riders will traverse meandering country roads surrounded by cotton farms and ranches. On the return trip, the route goes past the Comal County Fairgrounds before returning to Gruene. With 272 feet of elevation gain, this trail is modestly hilly.
  3. An even longer, 30-mile course leads northeast from Gruene and goes directly through Hunter and beyond. It links with York Creek Road, which rewards cyclists by leading them along a pleasant stream heavily shaded with trees. It then returns to Gruene, having led riders over 427 feet of elevation gain. This is about as hilly as it gets in this part of Texas.

One thing that makes cycling a great hobby is the chance to enjoy the comfort and performance offered by modern bicycles, such as the ones sold at Alamo Bike Shop. Drop by soon to see our wide selection and pick up a new bike for your upcoming San Antonio sightseeing trips.

The Mission Trail is One of San Antonio’s Best Weekend Bike Trips

One of the great things about San Antonio is that there’s no shortage of locations for weekend bike trips. This month, we’d like to talk about the Mission Trail, a 14-mile excursion that takes cyclists along the San Antonio River and past the historic missions in the southern part of the city.

The route’s gentle elevation changes and paved surface makes it perfect for families, comfort bike riders, and others looking for a leisurely trip along a scenic pathway. Another pleasant thing about the route is that there are no motorists to share the road with. This makes it ideal for kids, as well as for beginning bikers who haven’t yet developed their road awareness skills.

Trail highlights include plenty of scenic views and generous shade from the sun, due to the mature trees that line the river. However, the main attractions are the missions, including the most famous of Texas landmarks, the Alamo. Founded in 1817, the structure contains relics and other memorabilia, which document the battle with Santa Anna in 1836.

Mission Concepcion is also just off the trail. Built in 1731, it’s a marvelous example of classic Spanish architecture that looks almost unchanged from when it was first built. The wall hangings and ceiling paintings are renowned worldwide for their exquisite beauty.

Also near the trail is the Mission San Francisco de la Espada, built in 1731. It has splendid examples of dams and aqueducts that have been in place and functioning since the 1730s. Mission San Jose, founded in 1720, is known as “queen of the missions” due to its magnificent construction.

Please note that, while water is available on the trail during daylight hours, there are no places that serve food. Riders are encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks for their weekend bike trips. The Mission Trail is a splendid trip through Texas’ glorious past and is highly recommended for all cyclists.

7 Great San Antonio Bike Routes

We don’t want to sound immodest, but San Antonio is a cyclist’s paradise.  There are more great San Antonio bike routes than there are in some entire states!

While downtown is our home base (and one of our favorite places to ride!), it’s surely not the only place in San Antonio for cyclists. Here are a few other must-ride trails around town.  Some are best suited for mountain bikes, others for street or comfort cycles, but each offers a great combination of fun, challenge, and fantastic scenery.

  1. Located near Helotes, Government Canyon State Natural Area offers a variety of routes for both beginners and experienced cyclists.  The area known as the “front country” is relatively tame, very similar to the trails at nearby McAllister Park.  The section known as the “back country,” on the other hand, is perfect for those seeking mountain bike-level challenges; it’s rife with drop offs, hard switchbacks, and steep rises.  There’s a small fee for daily use of the area.
  2. Long known as the “cleanest little park in TX,” O.P. Schnabel Park has dramatic cliff overlooks and other sites that are ideal for bikers of all skill levels.  Trails range from paved, level routes to challenging loops well off the beaten path.  The areas around Leon Creek are especially well suited to mountain bikes.  You’ll also find a track specially designed for BMX riders, complete with jump sections.  Each trail is marked according to level of difficulty.
  3. Already well known in the San Antonio area, the Leon Creek Greenway was recently extended by the addition of 15 miles of new trails.  It connects with routes in or close to Bamberger, Cathedral, and O.P. Schnabel parks.  While this trail is paved, don’t think it’s easy; there are steep climbs and other advanced features.  Take plenty of water with you.
  4. Olmos Basin has come a long way from the days when it consisted of a few short walking trails.  The local cycling community has transformed it into a challenging but ultra-fun location for bikers, with trails that wind through deeply forested areas and sometimes offer a narrow passageway between trees.  While most of the area is flat, the terrain offers plenty of challenges for experienced riders.  Much of it follows local flood plains, but other sections are rocky and uneven, offering a taste of all-terrain biking without being too difficult for novice or intermediate-level cyclists.
  5. Short but full of San Antonio sights, the new 4.5-mile stretch of the Salado Creek North Greenway starts at Voelker Park.  It follows the twists and turns of the stream until the asphalt/concrete pavement disappears.  The riding surface turns into a stony, uneven path that’s filled with roots and large rocks to watch out for.  In other words, this is a perfect route for technical cyclists.  Be aware that this trail is open to walkers and pets as well, so watch out for both as you ride.
  6. About 30 minutes east of San Antonio is a folksy little town named New Berlin, though it’s commonly known as Britzkie Station.  In the center of this charming community is the Britzkie Station and Café, known far and wide for its pies and its delectable fried catfish platters.  But for cyclists, the main attraction in this rural area is the hundreds of miles of dirt roads that take you past some of the prettiest farmland in Texas.  Ulrich Road, a tree-lined, highly shaded route just out of town, is especially popular with bikers, photographers, and nature lovers.
  7. McAllister Park, an almost 1,000-acre park between Jones Maltsberger and Wetmore, was opened in 1968. It now offers ten miles of natural dirt trails for cyclists, as well as many paved paths, a dog park, picnic areas and pavilions. The 5.8-mile Blue Loop trail circles the perimeter of the park, and provides a nice variety of scenery, with some intense drops, climbs, and technical sections. Mud Creek Loop is another unpaved trail near the Optimist Pavilion, covering about 1.5 miles. Watch for other cyclists and pedestrians, as this park is very popular amongst walkers.

You can find out more about these routes by visiting Texas Trails. But before you set out on your latest biking adventure, make sure your cycle is in good shape first.  Bring it by Alamo Bike Shop and we’ll be happy to give it a thorough inspection, perform any needed maintenance or repairs, and suggest other great local trails.  Looking for routes in downtown San Antonio? Give us a call; we offer San Antonio bike tours in the beautiful downtown center. In the market for a new bicycle? We’ve got a great selection, no matter your preferences. Drop by and see us soon!

6 San Antonio Sights to Explore While Cycling

San Antonio is one of the premier vacation destinations in the United States, and with good reason.  There are few places where you’ll find such a rich combination of culture, history, and scenic beauty.  The mild climate means that virtually any time of year is perfect for a visit.  The city is especially popular among cyclists, since most of it is bike-friendly.  So here’s a look at some of the best downtown San Antonio sights that can be explored by cycle.

  1. The Riverwalk – The San Antonio river meanders through the heart of the city, and along its shady banks you’ll find cafes, restaurants, shops, bridges, bars, and miles of pathways perfect for bikers and walkers.  You’ll also enjoy wildflowers and park-like settings along its course.
  2. San Antonio Missions National Historic Park – This federally maintained site contains four of the five historic missions built by the Spanish in the 17th through 19th centuries.  An eight-mile biking and hiking trail takes you past each of these magnificent examples of traditional Spanish architecture.  Immerse yourself in the past as you explore the rich history of colonial Texas.
  3. La Villita – Spanish for “little village,” this is the oldest neighborhood in San Antonio.  It features galleries, shops, and restaurants that reflect a variety of cultural influences, including French, German, Mexican, and Spanish.
  4. King William Historic District – Settled by German immigrants in the 1800s, this is the oldest of Texas’ historic districts.  It offers plenty of opportunities for exploration, with tree-lined streets along the San Antonio River, funky little shops and galleries, mammoth homes, and an eclectic selection of restaurants.
  5. Pearl Brewery – This is the high spot of a three-mile loop that takes riders past the historic 1888 Pearl Brewery, which is now a cultural, educational, and dining center.  Visit the local shops and peruse goods ranging from wallets made of duct tape to near-priceless antiques from the Old World.  Enjoy a meal in one of the three restaurants, browse the mammoth displays of art, and then cycle back to downtown San Antonio for a refreshing beverage and a spot in the shade.
  6. The Alamo – We saved the most obvious for last.  For this ride, start at the site of Texas’ most famous battle and ride past many of the city’s attractions to HemisFair Park, home of the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas.  There you can chain your bike to the base and take the elevator to the top of the tower for a great meal and panoramic views of the surrounding city.

Come See Us When You’re In Town

Alamo Bike Shop provides a full range of biking services, including tune-ups, maintenance, and repair.  If you don’t have your bike with you, then we’ll be happy to let you use one of our rental cycles, tell you about other bike riding tours, and answer any questions you might have.  And, if you’re in the market for a great pre-owned bicycle, then browse our current selection.  We look forward to meeting you!