Tag Archives: houston trails

1 Comment

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

20160129_163310_resized

Rice University Running Trail  of the many Houston Trails is a beautiful, tree covered loop surrounding the Rice campus, and adjacent to the medical centers.

20160129_163007_resized

                                     The trail running rubric shows a score of 28 on my personal rubric I use to evaluate my experience running with my stroller on the trails in the surrounding area.

RICE UNIVERSITY RUNNING TRAIL - HOUSTON TRAILS RUBRIC:

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free  3 - free public space
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum  3 - loop about 3 miles and just turn around to adjust the distance
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)  2 - loose gravel, like running on sand
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side  2 - passing possible, occasional departure from trail to pass oncoming runners
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 - small cluster of micro flies in a couple of areas
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 - beautiful trees and foliage, campus and neighborhood architecture,
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  2 - some crowded passing
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 - mostly runners concentrating on the run, some smiles
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean  3 - very clean
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 - tree stumps with faded orange paint, a lot of parking lot intersections w/ posted yield to cars
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 - charge to park on campus, but free parking in adjacent neighborhood
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water   1 - no toilets, one water fountain location

The Rice University Running Trail of the Houston Trails rubric does not account for a few issues I wanted to mention. Parking on campus does have a fee, but a couple of blocks away from the university you can find neighborhood street parking with no restrictions. While pushing my stroller I found the trail difficult due to the width, and the tree stumps, and the narrow ramps between drive way parking lot intersections with the trail. I would occasionally scoot a bit off the trail while passing oncoming runners and double stacked walkers. This seemed to be encouraged based on the breakdown of the edges of the trail, like it was extended outside the trail perimeter to allow for some unofficial widening. I also saw some individuals stepping off the path as they passed me. From my view it did not appear necessary to pass safely, but I suspect my double wide stroller looks intimidating in comparison to the trail width. 20160129_165307_resized (1)

 

Also, I would like to stress the value of staying on alert due to the many intersections where cars cross the path of the trail to enter and exit the parking lots surrounding the university. Consider going at off times, to reduce risk, the cars have the right of way, not the pedestrians, signs are posted as a reminder.

20160129_170659_resized 20160129_163121_resized 20160129_162823_resized

Rice University Running Trail - Houston Trails
Map My Run App screen shot of the Rice University Running Trail - Houston Trails

I have this quirky mindset, where if I don't have a water bottle on my person, I begin to panic I might die of thirst, and start contemplating sucking the last few drops of fluid out of puddles on the ground...SO...I always pack multiple waters into my stroller before I set out. However, located on the Rice University Running Trail of the Houston Trails; there is the convenience of a water station for those on the trail working up a thirst. But, there is no bathroom facilities located on the trail, which is a bummer, because it takes me some time to get to the Rice University running trail, and I personally prefer to have access, just in case. I guess; if one became desperate for relief, one could use a near by business, or seek out a restroom on the university. I imagine that would be frowned upon, but when a person is in that situation of urgency, the power of persuasion or obliviousness or indifference becomes a trait.

I really enjoyed the urban nature experience I found on the Rice University Running Trail of the Houston Trails, I think everyone should try it; stroller, sprinter, dog walker, really EVERYONE! I do feel the trail culture was primarily runners, healthy, fast pace runners, that actually lapped me while I took my walk and stopped to take pictures. I, at no point, ever felt like I was unwelcome, I never saw a scowl, nor heard a groan, because I was crowding the trail with my stroller on what might have appeared to be a leisurely walk. There are walkers, people with backpacks, people waiting for the bus, and I did see a couple of moms with strollers or older kids walking on the trail. But, I am not sure this trail suited me, I would go back of course, and I would recommend it to others. It is awkward to attempt to describe, and as a blogger, it probably seems silly that I am at a loss for words to adequately describe why; but this trail is just not a good fit for me and my stroller. 20160129_164810_resizedLet me know if you want to know more about the trail, I have tons of great pictures of the grand trees and the sights on the trail I will share more if comments request I do so. I would love feedback about your experience on the trail or what you think about the rubric, or how I scored the Rice University Running Trail. I am happy to answer any questions you may have and I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy trails (running) from stroller running Mama!!
Best Health!
Priscilla