This is The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land and it is a wonderful way to get close to nature. While it is challenging to find for outsiders it is the backyard of the River Park subdivision neighbors. River Park Trail runs along the mighty Brazos River between Richmond and Sugarland on either side of 99 Parkway. I can wholeheartedly state, this trail is what I seek when I get out exploring and it is all too rare of an experience here in Houston. Trail entrances are discretely nestled between homes which back up to levees that surround River Park Subdivision preventing flooding when the Brazos River exceeds the banks.
The Elusive River Park Trail Rubric
|1 low quality||2 average quality||3 best quality||Score|
|cost||expensive, charge per individual||small fee||free||3|
|trail length||requires laps to get adequate workout||1 mile minimum||loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum||3|
|trail material||broken sidewalk cement, grass||gravel, dirt, sand||paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)||1|
|trail width||hardly large enough for single||single but easy to pass||double wide, easy to pass, side by side||2|
|bugs||doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing||carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites||like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat||1|
|view||grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by||visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind||visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind||3|
|crowd (quantity)||too many people to maneuver as desired||some passing required but doable||comfortably populated||?|
|crowd (culture)||hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals||people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals||friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed||?|
|cleanliness||nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell||trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics||spotless, clean||2|
|safety||not getting out of the car, too dangerous||share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs||minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs||2|
|parking||sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park||adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail||adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail||2|
|amenities||not encouraging the hanging out in any way||limited water, limits to any desired amenity||toilets, benches, workout section, water||1|
The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugarland is actually a struggle to score, virtually impossible using my rubric and perhaps is more of a flaw in my rubric than the trail. The trail still earns a score of 20, without determining a rating for crowd quantity and culture. I left this blank because I did not see another person on the trail to make a crowd judgment. There is evidence people use River Park trails but the only people I saw were in River Park neighborhood just outside the trail. A woman walked her dog, and another neighbor asked how the trail was looking since it was about a month after Harvey and there was significant flooding.
Let Me Give You The Breakdown
Cost, is free perhaps residents of River Park pay a maintenance fee with their HOAs? I am curious about that and I would love some input from a resident. Trail length is adequate, with loops and meandering natural paths as well as human-created paths, options seem endless. Trail material is challenging at most levels. Deep leaves, sand, rugged terrain with rocks, it is a workout even at a slow pace. Since I push a double stroller I imagine I struggle more than most might as I trudge along. I also found myself trecking off the intended trails, which is understandable considering the flooded Brazos River passed through the area dragging branches, and creatures, and debris along the trail making it was difficult to identify. This is why I can not provide accurate information about it's normal status is since I have only seen it at it's worst. Not that it was a bad experience, it felt more natural than I expected but was not surprised considering the location. Without a doubt there are bugs, so I covered myself in some Deet. Not my worst bug experience and not really a big deal. I found an unusual red spide with black spikes on it's back in a large web stretched across the trail. It was impossible to miss right at eye level, and while I found it frightfully intimidating I was not hasty in my retreat as I admired it's perseverance as it cut a large twig from her impressive woven home. The view of The Elusive River Park Trail is absolutely magical. Tree covered, trails right on the bank of the Brazos River. Dare I say it provokes a spiritual experience. Which is what I seek when I adventure out into what nature I can find in this big city. It was very clean as far as trash, considering the surging river from the banks, a couple of cans and a tire was really all I noticed. As far as safety, I feel there are some significant risks, which is not just the trail degradation but also the lack of people. I imagine it is not always such a danger, but the water swept tree branches across trails, the debris from the storm made other hazards. I could not see the trail most of the time, and unintentionally wondered off and had to turn around and go back on more than one occasion. The misplaced dirt and tree branches also made it difficult to watch out for some creatures with camouflage defense mechanisms. My heart raced, not just because of my great workout from the steep inclines I pushed my stroller up, but also because I did not feel secure. I suggest go with a group, and I always share my location with my Love and give him a time I will check in. It is absolutely worth visiting, but do take precautions. Parking is free, but it is in front of homes in a neighborhood. It is not much of a hike from the various trailheads, to an appropriate spot on the street. Amenities, there nearly are none. No bathroom, but the nearest city park in Sugar Land; Memorial/ Brazos River Park does have some creature comforts which I use before I head out into the wilderness of River Park Trail. There are some benches and some maps and trail name signs. Just no real accommodations so come prepared.
I am thorough and not brief, but I hope you find the information about The Elusive River Park Trail useful and occasionally entertaining. This is the information I feel I need and wish I had before I get out and explore any trail so it is my goal to give you the details so you can explore safely and confidently! Let me know what you think about The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land or if you want to read about a particular trail!
Happy (Running) Trails!