A Better Way: San Antonio To The Sisters

Recon Viper 1

New Member
Riders come from all directions to ride the Sisters and the principal staging point is Bandera/Medina. I think most of the traffic from the east and north vectors through Boerne/Kerrville but the greatest percentage of riders come through San Antonio, on TX16.

I live in Pipe Creek, right on TX16, and the volume of motorcycle traffic, night and day, is incredible but it doesn’t have to be that way and shouldn’t be. I note that a large number of Harley riders make it to the Bandera saloons and go no further but most riders continue to Medina and take FM337 west from there. I’ve always been puzzled by that. There are better routes into the Sisters area and FM337 is much more pleasant climbing out to the east than entering and descending to the west.

Westbound on FM337 from Vanderpool is a never ending succession of slow and tight, downhill curves that are just a lot of work but eastbound and upward is a little more on the throttle and pleasant. I get the impression that if I asked why they do it that way, the answer would be “well, everyone does it”.

Here’s one guy that doesn’t. I go in on RR470/FM1050 westbound and FM337 outbound with the option of doing FM335/336 while I’m there and I come out uphill and (lightly) on the throttle. Much more pleasant.

Personally, I really don’t care what everyone else does, I’d rather do it better and there are better ways to get from San Antonio to Bandera/Medina than TX16 from Helotes. TX16 is not a bad road but it’s just another highway and is not an interesting ride unless you like roads you can ride just as well with a Greyhound bus.

There is, what I think, a better way from Helotes to Bandera with significant elevation changes, great views and scenery, less traffic and more great riding. Or, go with the lemmings and get there 10 to 15 minutes faster. OK, all you lemmings about to make responses, I apologize. I should have said sheep.

Instead of taking TX16, at Helotes, from 1604; go west on 1604 to Culebra Road/FM471 and go north from there “about” 7 miles, just past the intersection with TX211, and turn right on FM1283. The intersection of FM471 and FM1283 can sneak up on you but it has a sign that says “Mico, Medina Dam”. Take the fork to the right.

I don’t recall the number of miles beyond that but watch for signs saying “PR37, TX16" and take the fork to the right. If you go straight ahead, you go to Mico and you don’t want to go to Mico. Watch for numerous, great views of nearly dry Medina Lake, on your left. Many high points and great views.When you come to Lakehills, and the junction of Park Road 37 and FM1283, continue straight on. 9 miles later, you intersect TX16. Turn left and it’s 9 miles to Bandera. A real nice ride.

For those of you that don’t want to put your tires on highways any more than necessary, watch for Red Bluff Creek. It’s “about” 5 miles north of the PR37 junction and easy to identify as you have a long and notable descent to the creek bottom and it is well marked. As you climb back up and begin a curve to the right, watch for a road intersecting from the left and identified as English Crossing/Bottlecreek Road and turn left onto it.

English Crossing Road is a real, but paved, back road that winds 8 miles through great scenery and connects with TX173 about 2 miles south of downtown Bandera. Emus beside the road today.

Isn’t that better. You made the journey on roads more motorcycle friendly and never touched a tire to a recognized highway. Let the rest of them do what “everybody else does”.

Henry David Thoreau described that as “marching to tune of a different drummer. Why just do what everybody else does when there are better ways.

Let the flaming responses begin now.

In The Side Door - Google Maps

English Crossing
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New Member
I'll be taking a look at my route for the April ride for sure. I'm taking the same objective to heart already, trying to avoid Hwy 290 between Houston and Canyon Lake. Also on the way back from the sisters, via Fredericksburg.

It sure helps to have some experienced ideas!

Recon Viper 1

New Member
I Appreciate.............

Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. In my experience, and I don't know anything about Canyon Lake, getting here from Austin is best by TX290. I don't much like highways and some FM's are great but take forever and you have to get here to enjoy the local sights or you lose too much time enroute.

From Austin, we take FM290 to Fredburg, but turn left on the Friendship Lane bypass to US87 and south to Comfort. Comfort to Center Point on 27 and left at Center Point on FM481 to Camp Verde and TX173. Left at 173 for a couple miles and right on FM2828 just after Bandera Pass to Medina. Or, straight ahead to Bandera.

I accept that you may know much more about it than I do but I can't see Houston THROUGH San Antonio unless you like punishment. Personally, I think going around SA is far more preferential than going through it and going around it means no FM1283.