By Maureen Allen –
March is the perfect time of year to set some goals and strive to become healthier. If the gym isn’t your element, then hiking could be just the thing you’re searching for. Despite being the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston boasts some hidden trails tucked away. Venture out and get moving!
Terry Hershey Park
Terry Hershey Park is a long, narrow, 500 acre park that follows Buffalo Bayou from George Bush Park Hike and Bike Trail to Beltway 8. Its hiking trails wind through it with access points all throughout the park. Parking is easily available at Highway 6 and Dairy Ashford, and fountains are speckled along the way. The terrain varies from pavement, gravel and grass. This trail is great for leashed pets, joggers, bikes and you!
Memorial Park’s hidden trails feature many wild flowers, creeks and other gorgeous greenery that is sure to speak to your soul. With over 30 miles of trails scattered within the park for running, walking and hiking, it is perfect for all skill levels. The park offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are allowed on the trail if kept on a leash.
Brazos Bend State Park
For the more adventurous hikers, nature may have a few surprises in Brazos Bend State Park, located in Needville. Three interconnecting hike and bike trails are located around three lakes: Hale, Elm and 40-Acre. These trails are known for viewing alligators! The foot trails lead to the hardwood forest. Pets are allowed, but only on a leash, and the leash must be six feet long or less. Do not allow pets to drink from or enter the water.
Mercer Arboretum is 22 miles north of Downtown Houston near Bush International Airport. The entrances on the west and east sides of the road are well marked, and there is free parking with picnic areas, playgrounds and toilet facilities. The park includes 300 acres of gardens and walking trails, bogs and playgrounds. There are no significant hills on the trails, so hikes are relatively easy. Mercer Arboretum is generally open from 8 am to 5 pm, but hours may vary during the year.
Sam Houston National Forest
If you want to venture out a little bit, Sam Houston National Forest offers 129 miles of trails. It passes through the eastern edge of the forest near Montague Church on FM 1725 near Cleveland and continues on the western edge near Richards. The terrain is pretty flat – no surprise – with some wet areas, but there are bridges for easy creek crossings. Trailhead parking areas are at main access points.
Hiking is a great way to relieve stress, get fit and challenge yourself. If you’re curious to find out more about trails near you, the AllTrails app is a great way to casually surf through trails. It’s free and will tell you everything you need to know before you hit the trailhead!