We all know that Texas has some amazing hikes. You can explore the mountains at Big Bend or hit the trails at Palo Duro Canyon, but these and many of the other most popular hiking trails in our state require a bit of driving from Houston. Sometimes, you just want something a little closer to home.

Thankfully, there are still some worthwhile, exciting hikes in and around Houston for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy while staying safe and socially distant right now.

Check out some of our favorite hikes around the Houston area below.

 

Memorial Park

Spanning nearly 1,500 acres, there’s plenty of space to explore in Memorial Park. Hike your way across more than 30 miles of trails that twist and turn through the park, sometimes stretching over small creeks. Just make sure you’re aware that many trails are shared with mountain bikers.

 

Brazos Bend State Park

 

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Just 45 minutes from downtown Houston, Brazos Bend State Park transports you from the hustle and bustle of the city into a world where wildlife thrives. With 37 miles of hiking trails around the lakes and through the woods, you’ll have plenty of chances to explore the ecological crossroads of Brazos Bend. You’ll likely see many birds feeding in the wetlands, and you’re also almost certain to see some alligators, so stay cautious.

 

Sam Houston National Forest

If you’re up for a short drive outside of Houston to the Huntsville area, Sam Houston National Forest’s 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail offers some great opportunities for outdoor lovers. Part of the trail has even gained National Recreation Trail status. The trail consists of a few major sections and has multiple connecting loops. Make sure to check out the Big Creek Scenic Area where the trail is lined by streams and beautiful flowers.

 

Jones State Forest

houston hiking

credit: TAMU.edu

W.G. Jones State Forest is one of the country’s biggest working urban forests. The forest is surrounded by Conroe, The Woodlands, and unincorporated Montgomery County on all sides. There are easily accessible cleared paths throughout the forest that are perfect for hiking, biking, and exercising.

 

Baytown Nature Center

 

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About 20 minutes east of downtown Houston, you can find the Baytown Nature Center. The 450-acre peninsula offers hiking trails through the woods and the wetlands. Plus, hikers can enjoy views of the San Jacinto Monument and Fred Hartman Bridge.

 

Galveston Island State Park

Want to head down to the beach for some hiking? Galveston Island State Park offers some great trails for hiking (and biking). The trails are pretty short and you can hit most of them within a couple of hours. The trails all will take you over footbridges across ponds and marshes, giving you some views of the various wildlife in the area.

 

Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail

If you’re looking for something a little less rugged, the Buffalo Bayou Trail offers a few miles of paved paths for walking, jogging, or biking. It’s located right in the heart of the city, and there’s plenty of available parking.

 

Armand Bayou Nature Center Trail

 

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Here are some pictures of our discovery loop from this weekend. Check out the #rainbow over the bison platform!

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Enjoy over 5 miles of well-maintained walking trails, including the Discovery Loop Boardwalk and bison viewing platform at this park on Bay Area Blvd. in Pasadena. On your hike, you might see some of the 370 species that call the Armand Bayou Nature Center home.

 

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Houston Arboretrum Trail

The arboretum has a series of trails that let you explore nature right in the middle of the city. Just last year, they opened up another new trail that offers more unique views and a pleasant hike. Another thing we love is that some of the trails allow ADA access for those in wheelchairs. You can see a full trail map here.

 

Looking for more outdoor fun? Check out our guide to the best Houston outdoor activities.