Urban Trails: San Antonio's Mission Reach

Modern Cities takes a look at a popular urban trail system in Texas: San Antonio's Mission Reach


The Mission Reach is a $271.4 million ecosystem restoration project that transformed a channelized San Antonio River to replicate its original flow. Now a riparian woodland ecosystem funded by Bexar County ($196.3 million), the City of San Antonio ($6.5 million), USACE ($57.9 million), utility relocations ($6 million) and private donations collected by the San Antonio River Foundation ($4.7 million), the Mission Reach includes over 15 miles of hiking and bike trails paralleling the San Antonio River eight miles south of Downtown San Antonio to just below Loop 410 (Interstate 410). Groundbreaking for phase one was held on June 2, 2008 with a June 25, 2011 grand opening. Work on phase two started on February 13, 2010 with the grand opening taking place on June 25, 2011. The final phase, which began on October 12, 2010, celebrated its grand opening on October 5, 2013.

In addition, the trail system connects four of the five San Antonio Missions with UNESCO status and has become a catalyst for infill development within the National Register’s Blue Star Street Industrial Historic District. Recent projects in the vicinity include the 252-unit Cevallos Lofts, 224-unit Southtown Flats and the 336-unit The Flats at Big Tex. Occupying the site of the former Big Tex Granary, the $42.7 million luxury apartment development is one of many that have taken advantage of the area’s industrial history, such as integrating modern apartment buildings around a preserved grain elevator that dates back to 1917. For those across the country seeking an example of an urban trail system that balances local history, sustainability, flood control and connectivity, San Antonio’s Mission Reach is a recently completed project worth taking the time to get to know.

Next Page: A Photographic Tour of The Mission Reach