Tag Archives: running trails

The Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston is a part of a much larger trail which runs through the entire Houston area. I have taken a hike through the untamed grasses of the Buffalo Bayou Trail in Katy, and I have taken a run through the Heights along the Buffalo Bayou Trail. But the Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston is my FAVORITE stretch of the trail. The trail is lined with parks, art installations, towering sky scrapers, the bayou (of course) trees and flowers and no matter the direction you head there is a good chance you will find yourself within walking distance of a spectacular eatery, event, or venue.Buffalo Bayou Trail in Downtown Houston

 


 

Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston 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)  3
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  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 unappealing 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

Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston earns a score of 32 out of 36! Keep in mind this is a score based on my typical experience and my own experiences vary from day to day based on the area or even the day or time of day. Some of the things I love or can ignore about the trail may be undesirable for you that is why I give a detailed breakdown below.

More Than 12 Reasons to Visit Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston

  1. Start with the cost: which is FREE (Yea!) Don't get me wrong, if you are in downtown Houston there is a good chance you are going to spend money, but there are days I go and I don't spend money so it is possible.
  2. The trail length is seemingly endless, although the Bayou does flow into the Houston Port I'm not confident the trail is accessible throughout the Houston area.
  3. The trail material varies, there are pedestrian paths made of an asphalt material and there are shared paths made of cement. The trail also is occasionally made of a gravel material. The trails that line the bayou do erode due to water and weather (nature really) and there may be some closures while repairs are made.
  4. The trail width is reasonable for passing on comers, the bike access trails are even wider and allow for safer passing space.
  5. There are bugs, those nuisance gnats that seem to linger right at face level. The combination ducking and nose and mouth exhale keeps them from entering the orifices on the face. (That is a special evasive technique I find effective when I see them ahead of me on the trail) I rarely see a mosquito and I do not use bug repellant on this trail. I have freaked at the sight of an enormous looming shadow which turned out to be a large butterfly. Before I knew what was approaching the growing shadow made my heart jump out of my chest and I felt compelled to duck down as I saw the giant shadow come across my own shadow looking like a pterodactyl and then the beautiful large wings of a black and blue butterfly dropped into my path and I gasped at it's beauty and laughed at my panic. (Oh nature!)
  6. The view is hard to beat! It is why people live in the city. Our city scape really does compliment the parks and bayou features that intersect our bustling community. This is one green space that feels like a buffer from the city and provides peace and nature while providing a constant reminder that you never actually left the city. Now, not that I want to be negative, but occasionally there is graffiti which does quickly get washed away by city maintenance. Also, the bayou is essentially rain water drainage, and especially after a storm, there is an unattractive collection of trash floating in the water. I see the city making an effort to keep the area clean and I appreciate their effort.Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston
  7. The crowd (quantity) is never too much. I feel safe when I pass and I never feel like if I were to injure myself I would wait for days to be found and rescued.
  8. The crowd (culture) is absolutely diverse. I have been cheered by other runners, I have had friendly chats, and inquires as far as safety and convenience. The people I meet are really nice, and the people I don't meet keep respectfully to their self, even the vagrants.
  9. The trail is clean. There is some washout from the higher ground after storms but I have seen this cleaned up over time by trail maintenance. There is the trash in the bayou I mentioned earlier but I have also witnessed the cleanup method, and they use a net funneling method to keep it from spreading downstream. There are trash cans lining the trail and also as mentioned before there is some graffiti in some of the underpass areas, but I don't think these linger.
  10. I feel safe when I run the Buffalo Bayou Trail at downtown Houston. The trail is regularly patrolled by security, maintenance workers, and mounted police. I am always on guard, which I feel is a necessary state of mind as a mother and in public. I have also witnessed convict clean up crews, so, there is that. I know there are wild animals on the trail, I have never seen any man eaters, but there are some underpasses where bats have made a home, and I personally have a slightly irrational fear of zoonosis, so watch yourself, but it is unlikely you have anything to worry about from the wildlife in the area.
  11. Parking is free in some lots and depending on when you come to the trail it may be metered. Free lots are located at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park, but it is small and can fill up quickly but there is parking across the street at the city lot C which is free on the weekends. The Lost Lake area also has a free lot, but it fills quickly too. It can be hit or miss depending on where you want to start on the trail.
  12. Of course the places I chose to park also accommodate my need for amenities. The Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park lot is near bathrooms, there are canoe launches, bike rentals, dog park, playground, open grassy spaces, water fountains, desirable sites, and attractions, food trucks park on the circle on Saturdays, I have seen a couple of ice cream vendors on various other days parked on the circle. The trail is within walking distance of a multitude of restaurants, museums, and other attractions. When the downtown events are in full swing people will walk the Buffalo Bayou Trail to get to these events and avoid parking directly on site or enjoy the leisurely walk.

    Runners Looking For Hills in Houston

    This trail may meet your needs if you are looking for a good HIIT workout. If the highs and lows on the trail are not enough there are stairs which take pedestrians from street level to trail level located at intervals along the path. These stairs make a great addition to the runner's workout especially those looking for hill sprints for that extra cardio kick. Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown HoustonThere are infinite possibilities for entertainment so get out on the town! The Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston will not disappoint come explore our city up close let me know what you think!

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla


11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park TrailsThe Lake Houston WIlderness Park Trails may be my favorite trails to explore and hike here in Houston. I have compiled a list with 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails and I am eager to get back there and give the trails a run. The Lake Houston Wilderness Park has a $3 entry fee for patrons 13-64 with options for annual passes for individuals for those who visit frequently or a group rate for special events, there are also various fees for camp site rentals (follow the link above to inquire about the details). Submit your email and follow the contest rules to be entered to win your very own individual pass to Lake Houston Wilderness Park! Drawing will be held August 31st, 2017 so HURRY! This is real wilderness, with dirt roads, wild animals, and untamed trails.11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails

After studying the map (posted online and provided at the front) I decided to take the family on the longest trail or combination of trails, the Peach Creek Loop Trail which connects to the Ameri-Trail. Nearly the entire time we were protected from the sun by the kind and tall timbers. There were only small pockets of pipe line routes which are completely cleared of all foliage and was nothing more than a thin strip of waving groomed grasses as far as the eye could see. The trail follows the creek the entire way, which was one of my primary motivators for taking that trail. About 2-3 miles down the trail we ran across a cyclist, who was toting a rake. He said he volunteered to help keep the trail cleared using the rake to remove unruly undergrowth, leaves, and snakes. (He didn't see any snakes on this particular day) I asked about the trail's distance and he informed me that the map did not state the distance correctly. I can't say what the accurate distance is to make it to the end because we turned around shortly after we ran into that volunteer. (My oldest said she was tired and hangry.)

Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails Rubric

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free  2
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) 2
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 3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  3
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  3
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water  3

Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails earns a score of 30 and of course, the experience can vary depending on the conditions of the trail at the time of any particular visit. From my experience and my opinion, it is a wonderful trail and I am eager to get back to see how far I can make it on that trail. I also was impressed with the calories burned even though I took the trail at the pace of a hike and not the run I intended. (Mostly because of those hangry complaints I mentioned earlier.) As you may have noticed in the bottom right corner 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trailsof the map my run App screen shot I show 1,200 calories burned during the 4.4 miles hiked. Which with my double stroller and the rugged terrain we managed at two and a half hours. Yes, I look forward to doing it again! So, I have come up with a list with 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails I have attempted to be as thorough as I can while also being as brief as I can. Honestly, I'm not known for my brevity. (Sorry!) However, I do cover all the topics addressed in the Trail Running Rubric and I think the details can be beneficial. Better to be prepared than to find yourself in a pickle (especially if you have youngin's and a stroller!)

11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails

  1. Starting with the cost: It was a meager fee to enter, and being the only adult it was a total cost of $3 and completely worth it! Consider a membership if you plan to become a regular.
  2. The trail length: more than adequate, and since the park has multiple trails to chose from I would think you have enough options as a runner to find something that suits your preference. For the trails I took, Peach Creek Loop Trail and Ameri-Trail it was so long I did not find the end during my time at the park.
  3. Trail material is dirt spotted with tree roots, sand and the occasional grassy area where the pipe lines run. For those pushing a stroller, I have done some research, and some may agree some may not but in my opinion jogging stroller with a locked out front wheel is going to be the easiest way to push through the sandy areas and it will be an intense workout that no wearable calorie counter can measure.
  4. As far as trail width it was as expected wide enough to navigate the double stroller, and for mountain bikes, but there were people stepping to the side to pass by my entourage and a decrease in speed was required to avoid potential hazards.
  5. The bugs were minimal during our visit but there are absolutely bugs. I received two separate accounts of massive swarms of deer flies attacking patrons in previous weeks during the summer. I saw a few large specimens of these deer flies drafting off my stroller, but we were never bitten. I did use bug spray with DEET and one of those bug repellant fans for the kids in the stroller, this may have helped. I don't love dousing myself in poisons, but a bite from a deer fly will make me run at speeds my heart and lungs and legs can't keep up, and then there will be tears, and bouts of panic...so I don't chance it and if I were you I would at least pack it on the run.
  6. The view is absolutely what I seek out when I get out in the wilderness. I want a view of water and a view of trees. This particular trail followed the Peach Tree Creek and it is a nice size creek. When we entered the trail head from the parking spot we were met with a beautiful red bridge and saw families playing in the shallows areas. It was a very inviting site especially in the heat of the day but because of the shade provided by the towering trees and the breeze coming off the water, we were comfortable with the conditions of the day. We did not come prepared to climb into the water to cool down after the two and a half hours of hiking, but next time we will!
  7. The crowd as far as how crowded and demographic was well suited for the area. Families, pets, hikers, bikers, campers, it was not too much not too little and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
  8. With regard to cleanliness the trail was clean, I did see a couple of full water bottles at a bend, I suspected it was left by someone further down the trail looking to lighten the load but to rehydrate on the return. I would have picked it up to dispose of if I thought it was actual trash. At some points on the trail, there are wide open areas where you have panoramic views of the creek. There did appear to be some dumping at some of these spots, but the deterioration and age of these objects were not unappealing and I found myself more curious than disturbed.
  9. Safety is always an important topic when in the wilderness. As far as the trail there is the potential for debris, which increases the risk of snake bite. Consider your surroundings and don't take any unnecessary risks. One particular danger my oldest and I faced was the tree roots sticking out on the trail caused by erosion. 11 Reasons To Explore Lake Houston Wildlife Park TrailsWatch your step, be sure your toes are protected in proper shoe attire. As far as the trail safety there were also some areas that were washed out, I had to get my kids out of the stroller to maneuver some of the areas where the trail falls off into the creek. I did find my mind was at ease with my oldest there to help me manage the little ones when they climbed out. As always when in the Bayou City, watch for man eating alligators. I did not see any, I did not hear warnings but water ways connect to each other and it would be naive to assume an alligator or two has never ventured to the vicinity. I was also informed that people get lost on these trails, and then have to call the ranger station area for a rescue. These people are at risk of dehydration or heat related symptoms which can be dire, be cautious. Make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you should be expected to check in, if something does happen to you, then your back up plan is for someone to look for you. Please do be safe, I always pack 3x the water I think I will use (the benefit of a stroller) but find a camel pack or wear a back pack and PLEASE be prepared and it doesn't hurt to study the trail maps before you get out in it. Ask for the paper map just in case your phone dies and come prepared and be aware. A typical risk no matter where you go hiking is getting caught in rising flood water if the weather changes suddenly. The sand on the trail does not only pose a risk of you possibly losing your footing or twisting an ankle but if you see sand on a trail it is logical to assume the river bed does occasionally cover that area. Don't go out for a day trip unless you know the weather forecast for that area.
  10. The parking situation also requires being aware of the maps and being directionally inclined. You don't want to park and then find yourself hiking along the road to the trail head. By the way, this is a dirt road environment, hiking the road to get to a trail will leave you covered in dirt every time a car drives by. Plan for parking, which is free, and adequate in most circumstances. Perhaps in the height of camping season, the parking spots become scarce but on the day we went in the middle of July it was plentiful.
  11. The amenities were primitive but suited to the situation, I honestly do not recall seeing a water fountain but there are toilets and even showers, which considering the dirt and sand we brought home with us (more than when we go to the beach) I might have our clan shower off next time and bring a change of clothes. Again follow the map to find the bathrooms, there are port-o-potties which I tend to do all I can to avoid so pay attention and spend a little extra time seeking that which might make you more comfortable. 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails

Let me know if I missed any important features or aspects of the trails and I hope you enjoy and find more than 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails!

Best of luck! Drawing will be held August 31st, 2017

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla