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Hiking and Biking in Houston

Six Popular Parks for Hiking or Trail Biking in Houston

Houston, Texas, is almost plain compared to other cities like Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio, which have hilly areas.

For outdoor enthusiasts like hikers or bikers, Houston doesn’t offer hill tracks; however, it offers a variety of parks with picturesque hiking and biking trails.

If you’re seeking an adventure close to the city, here are six incredible parks I have explored and can recommend.

Brays Bayou Park

Brays Bayou Park is an excellent option for both hiking and trail biking. The trails follow the scenic Brays Bayou, providing a soothing natural ambiance. The park is perfect for any sort of activity, including a leisurely family hike or an energetic biking session.

The trail is over 30 miles long and passes by city parks, including Hermann Park, MacGregor Park, and Mason Park. The paths are relatively flat, making it suitable for all ages and skill levels.

The park is close to the Astrodome/NRG park, the medical area, and the downtown, making it a suitable choice for people in the city.

Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park is located right next to the Downtown. The park boasts a network of trails suitable for both beginners and seasoned bikers or hikers. The trails wind along the bayou’s banks, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline.

The park’s trails are well-marked and maintained. The paths are mostly paved. The park is not only popular for jogging or biking but also offers other activities, including skating (there’s a skate park) or kayaking.

The park is not 24-hours open like the Brays Bayou. However, the typical time is from sunrise to midnight, which is good for almost anyone. The only issue I faced during weekends is it is difficult to find a free parking spot unless you are lucky or go during non-busy hours.

The Buffalo Bayou Park Bike Trail

Hermann Park

Hermann Park offers many outdoor activities and is one of the busiest parks during weekends. The park is right beside the Brays Bayou trail and sits between the Downtown and Astrodome/NRG areas.

The park’s trails provide a mix of shaded paths and open stretches, usually seen in municipal parks. However, Hermann Park includes the Japanese Garden and the Houston Zoo, which add an additional serene and calming environment and attraction. The Miller Outdoor Theatre also hosts events and performances, providing entertainment options after your outdoor adventure.

I usually use a combination of both Brays Bayou and Hermann Park trails for my afternoon biking.

The Hermann Park

Memorial Park

If you are looking for true wild nearby, it’s the Memorial Park for sure. Most of the park’s trails are wild and have different elevation levels, offering a range of difficulty levels. Whether you’re looking for a challenging bike ride or a tranquil hike, the forested trails and scenic surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for your adventure.

The Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail is popular for road bikers and runners, offering a paved path that looms around the park. For a more rugged experience, the park has several dirt trails that wind through the woods, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature.

I personally like the wild trails for mountain biking. The Green Ridge trail is a nice starting point for anyone. Then, there are some cross-junction trails, including the Blue, Yellow, Purple, and Red trails in the deeper section of the park.

The park is 24-hour open and very safe. You will find people, even in the dark hours, hiking or biking alone along the trails.

Memorial Park Wild Trails

Terry Hershey Park

Terry Hershey Park, a little far (approx. 30 minutes from the Houston Downtown) is a hidden gem with beautiful, shaded trails. The paths follow the banks of Buffalo Bayou, offering a peaceful ride or hiking amidst nature.

The park offers a variety of trails suitable for all levels of biking and hiking enthusiasts. The terrain ranges from easy and flat to more challenging, giving you options based on your skill and preferences.

Terry Hershey Park is a local favorite for its well-maintained trails. It also has a bike park at the end of the Anthills trail. By far, the Anthills seemed to be the best mountain biking trail to me in Houston. The paved trail for road biking is on the other side of the Bayou.

Anthills at the Terry Hershey Park

Huntsville State Park

For a day trip from Houston, Huntsville State Park is a great choice. It’s a bit farther (around an hour and 15-30 minutes), but the nature and scenery make the drive worth it. The park offers well-maintained trails and a chance to immerse yourself outdoors.

Huntsville State Park is a haven for nature lovers, featuring various trails that wind through pine forests and along the shores of Lake Raven. The terrain varies, offering opportunities for both moderate and challenging hikes. Keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife inhabiting the park, including white-tailed deer and various bird species.

The calm waters of Lake Raven are perfect for kayaking or canoeing. If you’re planning a more extended visit, consider camping at one of the park’s campsites to fully experience the natural beauty and tranquility of Huntsville State Park.

Huntsville State Park Lakeside

Concluding Remarks

In addition to these six parks, consider exploring George Bush Park and Lake Houston Wilderness Park. These spots also offer fantastic trails and outdoor adventures.

When it comes to outdoor fun, Houston has much to offer. Whether biking or hiking, these parks promise an enjoyable day in nature. So, grab your bike or put on your hiking shoes and hit the trails in and around Houston!

I was born to explore. 😊

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