Tag Archives: Houston area trails

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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 in Sugar Land

 

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.The Elusive River Park Trail

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.The Elusive River Park Trail

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!

Priscilla

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Black Hawk Running Trail of the Houston area nestled in Dixie Farm Road Park and branching off into comfortable neighborhoods is a delightful find. Running trails in the Houston area are plentiful. Finding running trails that provide a runner with some basic amenities is easier said than done. Thanks to my Foursquare app I stumbled across the reviews and found it was a reasonable distance from my house so here we are!

Black Hawk Trail Dixie Farm Road Park

It is nice to see trees!

However, due to the short stature of the pines which line the trail and the gully you will find yourself baking as you stroll along at Black Hawk Trail. Much to my delight, there is a fork in the main loop trail we came across that had some wilderness appeal. Tall trees and thick underbrush. There was the pleasant scent of wood and foliage. It was very nice to experience the reprieve from the scorching sun.

Black Hawk Trail Dixie Farm Road ParkWhen I take my kids on trail runs I usually offer a compromise: First we run the trail, and if everyone is civilized and cooperates, we will stop at the playground.

I like when we can all find an activity at the same place.

Dixie Farm Road Park PlaygroundDixie Farm Road Park not only provides access to Black Hawk Trail but also has bathrooms, a towering playground with a supple fall zone and shade, picnic tables, workout station, and a front porch swing. Something for everyone makes it worth a trip and see how it fits your needs.

 

Check out the Black Hawk Trail Running Rubric:

With an overall score of 29 it is worth another visit in my opinion.

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)  3
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  2
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 2
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  2
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  3
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  3

So, this is Houston, and in the Bayou City, we are constantly enduring significant heat and humidity. With that being a factor when considering the best trails of the Houston area to get out on especially during the summer I suggest early mornings or a day with a good breeze to help cool you off if you hit Black Hawk Trail.

What do you think about Black Hawk? How does the Trail Running Rubric help you decide where to run?

 

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla

 

 

The coastal city of Seabrook prides it's self on their community wide, interconnected trail system, with at least 10 miles spanning from one side of the city to the other. While doing research online about local area trails I found this little gem on the city government website; a nature path and running trail and less than an hour from my home. (which I consider a reasonable distance to travel to exercise in nature, especially living in a city where most week day commutes are over an hour) I was very excited to find a place that encouraged trail running and bird watching so conveniently located. Plus, one of my favorite features in nature: water! This is a beautiful coastal view, with trees and wildlife surrounding a lively and fun filled park.

trail running seabrookThe parking lot is packed, but we find a spot next to the buzzards picking through the dumpster. (nature is truely all around us!) I notice an overflow lot outside the park fence for those days when everyone has the same idea to head out to the coastal park. The sounds of the ocean waves as they gently break along the rocks is so soothing I opted not to turn on the music and zone out to the beat. There is the convenience of a park bathroom, which after a 45 minute drive is absolutely necessary. The park looks out on the gulf, picnicing families have overtaken most of the large wooden picnic tables. There are children of all ages running around on the playground and climbing on the hills and tire structures. There are multiple families camped out on the very large doc, fishing, chatting, listening to some rap music, children chase each other with bait fish. We can see a huge white cruise ship going out a few miles down the coast line. We are there at sunset and the sky is beautiful pink and orange framed by white caps of choppy water.  trail runningThe trail directly off the park is gravel and a reasonable width in most areas. There is a small water inlet on one side of the trail, with a fence preventing people from exploring, and a sign warning against it. An enclosed cemetary sits unassumingly on the other side of the trail located toward the from of the trail head, and the front of the park. There is also a sign at the mouth of the trail stating the presence of toothy wildlife, for people to be aware. Tall water grasses, and flowering bushes line either side of the winding trail. Safety markers also are posted periodically throughout the trail, to provide a more specific location for emergency services, in case help is needed. The trail is very relaxing, and my family and I enjoyed the entire visit. We did not feel comfortable running on the trail with the stroller, due to the number of people, and the potential to collide with them coming around a corner blinded by the abundance of follage. It was less than a mile in distance in one direction, and while the city promotes the use of the trails as an interconnected system, it appeared we would have to venture out onto a small road to get to the next gravel trail. My boyfriend and I did not feel comfortable taking the stroller out onto this two lane road, to get to the trail we saw up the road on the way into the park.

20160131_164330_resized I admitted to myself a couple of times, my discomfort in the environment, and I felt unsure about going out with the kids by myself. All of my concerns are completely unfounded, and mostly based on a feeling...and I may also be a wee bit paranoid. When I see a group of people all wearing the exact same color clothing, but not the same like a team or club would wear, I find it kind of suspicious of indicating membership of a gang. I could be very wrong and I do hope that I am wrong. I saw regular patrols by marked police cars, and at no point felt like my life was in danger. I just took note, and spent a bit of time cautiously observing the environment for a change in tone and culture. As the park came around to time to close, I saw an increase in patrolling, and the park goers actively packing up.

Pine Gully Park Trail Running 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   1 - with potential to expand at risk of safety
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)   2
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side   3
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   3
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   1
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   2
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean   2 - trail and park clean, but signs, especially the trail map is completely covered
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   3
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water   3

I feel it should be noted, things like bugs, or parking are going to based on day by day conditions. Overall, the trail scores well at a 28 out of a possible 36 points. I would easily return to explore and hang out at the park with the family. I enjoyed the sights of the trail, and my indescribable connection with all things water puts the view far above the rank of 3 for me. I recommend you get out and try it, take the family and your stroller and do some walking or running if you can find the rest of the trails. 😉

20160131_164003_resized20160131_164810_resized20160131_164635_resized20160131_164528_resized

20160131_164220_resizedLet me know what you think and how your visit ranks on the trail running rubric. Hit me up if you have any questions or comments you can reach me at  prenatalmothersfitness@gmail.com or class details at premofitness.com and as always: Happy trails (running)!!

Best Health!

Priscilla