UPDATED MAR 13, 2020
Hiking may not be the first activity that comes to mind when you think of H-Town, but this city loves spending time outdoors. And from wooded walks to downtown views, there’s a hike for everyone — here are all the best ones.
Stretching from downtown to Shepherd Drive, the trails along Buffalo Bayou are paved and easy to hike or run along. There’s no shortage of things to do or sights to see along your Bayou hike. Press the red button at Preston Street to see the Big Bubble art installation in the water (it’s just what it sounds like — trust us), take an evening hike near Waugh Bridge to see the bat colony, or simply pack a picnic and enjoy the wildlife and artwork around the park.
On the western side of Memorial Park, this 155-acre non-profit urban sanctuary doubles as both a park and an education center. With nine different trails in the center, there’s plenty of nature to discover! For a little more distance, hike the two-mile Outer Loop Trail. The best part is that the arboretum is free and open daily from 7am to dusk.
Gators are no joke at this state park just 45 minutes outside of downtown Houston. Brazos Bend State Park is the perfect place to experience true Texas nature without traveling too far. The majority of the 37 miles of hiking trails circle the lakes, so trust us — give the guide on alligator safety a read before you hike. More of a runner? This park also hosts the fastest trail in Texas and sets the course for the annual Brazos Bend 50.
Connecting to the Houston’s massive bayou system in West Houston is Terry Hershey Park. A favorite for trail runners, hikers can get some shaded milage in on approximately 10 miles of trails. On the far western end, the park connects with the 11-mile George Bush Park Hike and Bike Trail in Katy, so those craving more distance are in luck!
Hike along lakeside trails in the Pineywoods forest at Lake Livingston State Park, about 75 miles north of Houston. The 2.5 miles of park shoreline make nature sightings a common occurrence (beware of gators here, too). Park entrance is just $5 for adults and free for kids under 12, so it’s easy and inexpensive to make a full day of hiking and lakeside fun!
Covering almost 1,500 acres (compared to NYC’s Central Park’s 843), there’s plenty of space to hike in Memorial Park. The park offers more than 30 miles of trails that wind and twist though the park, including the color trails located just behind the Picnic Loop. There’s always someone picnicking along trails or in the park, so once you get tired grab a table and enjoy! FYI: keep your earbuds out during hikes as many of these trails are also heavily used by mountain bikers.
This heavily-forested park is only 30 minutes north of downtown off Highway 59. Since it’s the only park in the Houston, the proper park system allows overnight camping. The park entry fee is $3, and the park 20 miles of trails to hike all day long.
Houston, we have trails. Just a few miles from NASA, the family- and photographer-friendly nature park of Armand Bayou—the ABNC— awaits. Featuring a variety of ecosystems, including forest, prairie and wetlands, this nature center is essentially an outdoor classroom! Come ready to learn, discover nature, and snap some Insta-worthy shots of deer or even a gator. Guided photography and nature tours along the trails make this spot perfect for beginner hikers and nature-lovers alike.
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