Houston Guide: 11 Best Houston Neighborhoods For Hiking and Biking
Best Houston Neighborhoods
Houston ranks first in Trust for Public Land’s 10 most populous U.S. cities with highest total acreage of parkland. With over 52,000 acres of green space, Houston offers 23.6 acres per 1,000 residents – well above the national average of 13.7 acres per 1,000 residents.
The city has several projects geared toward going greener over the past few years: park maintenance, adding more trails, and promoting biking. Bayou Greenways 2020, for example, is an ambitious project that will convert 3,000 acres of greenspace along Houston’s many bayous into linear parks and trails.
Houston Bikeways and Houston Bike Plan is an initiative that aims add active transportation to the list of ways to get around the Bayou City.
While Houston has a number of top neighborhoods with good accessibility, traffic is still a major headache at times, and the city hopes that these projects can help alleviate the problem.
Whether for recreation, exercise, or transportation, residents can look forward to better hike and bike trails within the next two years.
Here are 11 of the best Houston neighborhoods with great access to hike and bike trails.
“I moved from Toronto to Houston and running is a huge part of my daily routine. I wanted to find a great area where I could get out and run. Paige and the Houston Properties Team are exceptional, and I could not be happier!”
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HOUSTON RUNNING AND BIKING GUIDE
|Neighborhood||Nearby Parks||Median Sales Price||Also Notable For|
|Memorial Park Area||Memorial Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, Weiss Park||$1,430,000||Most Accessible, Most Expensive|
|Houston Heights||Heights Boulevard Park, Milroy Park, Marmion Park, Harvard Park, Donovan Park, White Oak Park Greenway, Stude Park, White Oak Park, Woodland Park, Proctor Park, Montie Beach Park, Halbert Park, Love Park, Lawrence Park||$462,000||Top Ranked Schools|
|Rice Military||Eleanor Tinsley Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, Johnny Steele Dog Park, Spotts Park, Cleveland Park, Memorial Park, Nellie Keyes Park||$444,500||Best Appreciation|
|Energy Corridor||Terry Hershey Park, George Bush Park (Barker Reservoir), Cullen Park, Bear Creek Pioneers Park (Addicks Reservoir), Nottingham Park, Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, Millie Bush Bark Park||$358,100||Top Ranked Schools|
|Oak Forest||TC Jester Park, Brook Hollow Park, White Oak Bayou Greenway, Watonga Parkway Park, Candlelight Park, Oak Forest Park, American Legion Park||$354,250||Best Appreciation|
|Museum District||Hermann Park, Reckling Park, Brays Bayou Greenway, Urban Forest||$629,000||Best Appreciation|
|Medical Center||Hermann Park, Reckling Park, Brays Bayou Greenway, Urban Forest, Texas A&M University Park||$237,900||METRORail Access|
|River Oaks||Pumpkin Park (River Oaks Park), Olympia Park, Sleepy Hollow Park, Meyer Park, Elliott Park, Homewood Park, Pine Valley Park, Live Oak Park, Autry Park, Kirby Park||$1,977,500||Most Expensive|
|West University||Judson Park, Huffington Park, Mulberry Park, Colonial Park, Friends Park, Whitt Johnson Park, Wier Park||$1,284,000||Most Expensive|
|Timbergrove||Jaycee Park, West 11th Street Park, Timbergrove Manor Park, White Oak Bayou Greenway, Little Thicket Park, TC Jester Park||$437,000||Best Appreciation|
|Downtown Houston||Discovery Green, Root Memorial Square Park, Sam Houston Park, Tranquility Park, Sesquicentennial Park, Allen’s Landing, Quebedeaux Park||$255,000||Most Accessible|
Houston features a vibrant hiking, biking and running scene, centered around its many parks and trails. With such a lively scene comes variety, as clubs can range from casual/social groups to fitness groups aimed toward athletes.
Club sizes can range from 30 to upwards of 300 members.
Most clubs are free to join and are open to all ages and fitness levels, while others will require a fee and comes with training sessions with experts. Meetups are usually held weekly, and there are plenty of events to join in and around Houston to fill your calendar.
Houston hiking, biking, and running clubs and organizations also sponsor, volunteer for, and promote events.
Whether you’re looking to cap off your workout with a beer with a group of people equally passionate about your hobby, hoping to learn the ropes from experts, or looking to have serious training partners for your next marathon or race, you can find a club in Houston to suit your needs.
Below are just some of the groups and clubs in and around Houston:
Houston Cycling Resources
- Houston BCycle
- Houston Bike Plan
- Houston Bikeways Program
- Buffalo Bayou Partnership
- Guide to Houston’s Bike Clubs
Clubs and Groups
Houston Running Resources
Houston Events Calendar
Houston Running Clubs
- The Houston Area Road Runners Association
- Houston Striders
- Runner’s High Club
- Memorial Run Club for Young Professionals
- Bayou City Road Runners
- Houston Hash House Harriers
- Cypress Running Club
- Bay Area Running Club
- Fort Bend Fit
- Kenyan Way
- Houston Fit
- In Flight Running
- Al Lawrence Running Club
- CityCentre Running Club
Memorial Park, one of the largest urban parks in the state, spans over 1,400 acres within Houston’s Inner Loop. Several neighborhoods enjoy easy access to the park, including Camp Logan, Crestwood, Glen Cove, Arlington Terrace, and Rice Military.
The park features several trails, from nature trails to more challenging mountain bike trails. The Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail, a 2.9-mile track made of crushed granite, is a popular destination for joggers and cross trainers.
Future trail developments will connect Memorial Park’s trail network to the Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, connecting it east to downtown Houston.
Other popular destinations within Memorial Park include the John Bredemus-designed 18-hole municipal golf course, and the Houston Arboretum. Picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, and other facilities are also available within the park.
The Memorial Park area features some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the Inner Loop (Crestwood and Glen Cove). Arlington Terrace, one of Houston’s best gated communities is located just a couple of blocks away from the park.
- Trails: Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail, Arboretum Outer Loop, Mountain Bike, Triangle Trail, Purple Trail, several others
- Parks: Memorial Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, Weiss Park
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking, Mountain Biking, Running
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Memorial Park Tennis Center, Running Trails Center, Picnic Loop, Fitness Center
The Heights is one of Houston’s best neighborhoods in terms of real estate appreciation and accessibility. It is one of the state’s first planned communities, and both old and new homes line the area’s streets.
There are 6 historic districts within the Greater Heights area, each featuring a distinct set of Victorian, Craftsman, and Colonial homes. Many are protected by deed restrictions. Newer townhomes and a few condos have also become quite popular in the area.
Residents of The Heights need not stray far to find dining, retail, and entertainment options. There are over 400 Yelp-rated establishments in the area, alongside several parks, community centers, and hike and bike trails.
The Houston Heights Association (HHA) is one of the most active community organizations in Houston, responsible for maintaining historic sites and parks, planning activities like the Lights in the Heights tours, enforcing deed restrictions, and running the constable program.
- Trails: Heights Hike and Bike Trail, White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail
- Parks: Heights Boulevard Park, Milroy Park, Marmion Park, Harvard Park, Donovan Park, White Oak Park Greenway, Stude Park, White Oak Park, Woodland Park, Proctor Park, Montie Beach Park, Halbert Park, Love Park, Lawrence Park
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Stude Park Community Center, 19th Street Shopping District, Love Park Community Center, Milroy Park Community Center, the Historic Heights City Hall & Fire Station, Montie Beach Community Center
The Rice Military/Washington Avenue area is located east of Memorial Park, north of the Buffalo Bayou, and west of downtown Houston.
The neighborhood’s location in between these key districts provides Rice Military residents with great access to several outdoor entertainment areas. The Buffalo Bayou Greenway runs south of the neighborhood and connects several parks along the bayou.
Rice Military is also one of Houston’s most accessible neighborhoods, with several bars, cafes, restaurants, and stores lining Washington Avenue.
Caceres, one of Houston’s best gated communities, is located within the neighborhood.
Like most resurgent Houston neighborhoods, townhome developments are on the rise in the area. Mid-rise condos and single-family properties are also available in the Rice Military area.
- Trails: Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade, Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trails, Memorial Park Hike and Bike Trails, Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail
- Parks: Eleanor Tinsley Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, Johnny Steele Dog Park, Spotts Park, Cleveland Park, Memorial Park, Nellie Keyes Park
Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Memorial Park Golf Course, Waugh Drive Bat Colony, Cleveland Park, Washington Corridor, Hogg Bird Sanctuary
Home to headquarters and regional offices of corporate giants in the oil and energy industries, the Energy Corridor offers a mix of work and play.
With over 25 million square feet of office space, the district is a major business and employment hub with over 100,000 employees. Apart from the Energy Corridor’s growing roster of dining, entertainment, and retail options, more than 26,000 acres of urban park areas border the district.
George Bush Park, Bear Creek Pioneers Park, and Terry Hershey Park are among the most popular weekend destinations in the Energy Corridor/Memorial West area.
A section of the Brays Bayou Greenway will also run along the area south of the Energy Corridor.
Several neighborhoods and gated communities add to the area’s appeal with active lifestyle amenities like swimming pools, lakes, and walking trails. Some of Houston’s Best Gated Communities are within the Energy Corridor/Memorial West area, including Lakes of Parkway, Parkway at Eldridge, Parkway Terrace, Royal Oaks Country Club, and Talia Trails.
- Trails: George Bush Park Hike and Bike Trail, Terry Hershey Park Hike and Bike Trail, Brays Bayou Greenway
- Parks: Terry Hershey Park, George Bush Park (Barker Reservoir), Cullen Park, Bear Creek Pioneers Park (Addicks Reservoir), Nottingham Park, Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, Millie Bush Bark Park
- Trail Activities: Biking, Walking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: American Shooting Center, Lakeside Country Club, Royal Oaks Country Club
5. Oak Forest
Located just outside the Loop, Oak Forest is one of the best Houston neighborhoods for land value appreciation.
It is home to Oak Forest Elementary School, one of the best rated elementary schools in Texas. Compared to neighborhoods with similar top-ranked elementary schools, Oak Forest offers the most affordable housing options.
One of the largest communities within Harris County (behind Sharpstown and Kingwood), Oak Forest is made up of 18 sections. Parks, schools, and commercial establishments are minutes away from Oak Forest homes.
The White Oak Bayou Greenway runs through the neighborhood, stretching northeast to an area near Jersey Village and Beltway 8 and wandering southeast to downtown Houston.
Oak Forest is known for its homes sit on large lots (by Houston standards). Lot sizes can range between 7,000 to more than 10,000 square feet. Most homes in the neighborhood date back to the 1940s and 1950s, though many have been torn down and replaced with new construction homes.
- Trails: White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail
- Parks: TC Jester Park, Brook Hollow Park, White Oak Bayou Greenway, Watonga Parkway Park, Candlelight Park, Oak Forest Park, American Legion Park
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Frisbee Golf Course, Mytiburger, Watonga Bridge Bat Colony
The Museum District, located just north of the Texas Medical Center area, boasts of having the second most number of museums in a contiguous area. Nineteen culture, arts, and scientific institutions and museums call the district home.
More than 8 million visitors flock to the Museum District annually. The Museum of Fine Arts, the Children’s Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Hermann Park are command most of this foot traffic.
Located about 3 miles away from downtown, the Museum District is one of the most accessible neighborhoods in Houston. B-Cycle and METRORail access, as well as its location along South and Southwest Freeways, provide residents with fairly easy commutes.
The Museum District features one of the hottest real estate markets in the Inner Loop, both in terms of real estate appreciation and land value appreciation. Real estate in the district include condos within several upscale mid- and high-rise residential buildings, patio homes, townhomes, and single-family homes.
- Trails: Marvin Taylor Exercise Trail, Brays Bayou Greenway Trail, Rice University Trail
- Parks: Hermann Park, Reckling Park, Brays Bayou Greenway, Urban Forest
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston Zoo, Reflection Pool, Buddy Carruth Playground, Hermann Park Golf Course, Centennial Gardens, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Children’s Museum of Houston, Museum of Fine Arts
One of the largest medical complexes in the world, the Texas Medical Center boasts of over 30 member institutions in various medical specialties.
The Medical Center area is also one of Houston’s main employment centers, with over 100,000 workers commuting to the district daily. It is one of Houston’s most accessible neighborhoods, and residents and visitors can take advantage of the district’s METRORail, B-Cycle, and bus services.
Upscale condos and luxury townhomes are popular in the neighborhood, though single-family patio homes are also available in the Medical Center area.
The Texas Medical Center campus sits south of Hermann Park. The Brays Bayou Greenway cuts through the district, extending east toward the University of Houston and Greater East End and west toward George Bush Park. Some sections of the Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trails are still under construction.
- Trails: Marvin Taylor Exercise Trail, Brays Bayou Greenway Trail, Rice Military Trail
- Parks: Hermann Park, Reckling Park, Brays Bayou Greenway, Urban Forest, Texas A&M University Park
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston Zoo, Reflection Pool, Buddy Carruth Playground, Hermann Park Golf Course, Centennial Gardens, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Children’s Museum of Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, NRG Park, NRG Stadium, NRG Astrodome, NRG Center, Reliant Arena
8. River Oaks
One of Houston’s most exclusive and most expensive neighborhoods, River Oaks is made up of luxury estates and upscale townhomes. The median sales price of homes in the neighborhood is at well over $1,900,000.
Spanning a 1,100-acre area south of the Buffalo Bayou, River Oaks offers a mix of grand mansions, traditional homes from the 1920s and 30s, luxury condos, and townhomes in gated communities.
With its private police department, River Oaks is one of the safest places in Houston to hike, bike, and run. River Oaks also features several parks, and residents are just a drive away from Memorial Park and the Buffalo Bayou Greenway.
The River Oaks Country Club is also located within the neighborhood. It features a golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming area.
River Oaks homes also have excellent access to major job centers and several retail and dining hotspots.
- Trails: Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trails, various trails at Memorial Park
- Parks: Pumpkin Park (River Oaks Park), Olympia Park, Sleepy Hollow Park, Meyer Park, Elliott Park, Homewood Park, Pine Valley Park, Live Oak Park, Autry Park, Kirby Park
- Trail Activities: Biking, Walking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: River Oaks Community Center, River Oaks Shopping Center, River Oaks Country Club, Hogg Bird Sanctuary, Memorial Park, Buffalo Bayou Greenway, River Oaks District, Highland Village
Known for its top-ranked schools, upscale homes, and strong property values, West University Place is is a “city within a city” subdivided into 26 blocks.
One of Houston’s most expensive neighborhoods, West University offers a mix of old and new homes, with prices averaging over $1,000,000. New construction in the neighborhood can sell for much higher.
The independent city also features great real estate appreciation rates and excellent accessibility.
Located just west of Rice Village, residents are just a few blocks away from several retail, dining, and entertainment options. For outdoor activity options, West U offers a number of great parks with facilities for bird watching, sports, and running and biking.
Like River Oaks, West University also has its own police force and boasts of “one of the best crime rates in all of Houston”.
- Trails: Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, Rice University Trail
- Parks: Judson Park, Huffington Park, Mulberry Park, Colonial Park, Friends Park, Whitt Johnson Park, Wier Park
- Trail Activities: Biking, Walking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: West University Place Recreation Center, Rice Village, Brays Bayou Greenway
The Timbergrove/Lazybrook area sits just inside Loop 610, north of Interstate 10. Timbergrove boast of strong property values, posting impressive land value and real estate appreciation over the past decade.
Like nearby Oak Forest, Timbergrove is known for its homes on spacious lots. Sizes range from 7,000 to upwards of 20,000 square feet, large by Houston standards.
Most Timbergrove homes were built in the 1950s and 1960s, though new developments have also permeated through the neighborhood. Townhomes and single-family home options are available in the area.
Made up of two subdivisions, the neighborhood is under two HOAs, the Timbergrove Manor Civic Club and the Timbergrove Manor Neighborhood Association. Both enforce deed restrictions, maintain common areas, and oversee security (Citizens on Patrol).
Residents also have excellent access to a stretch of the White Oak Bayou Greenway, whose linear trail connects to the Heights Hike and Bike Trail.
- Trails: White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, Heights Hike and Bike Trail
- Parks: Jaycee Park, West 11th Street Park, Timbergrove Manor Park, White Oak Bayou Greenway, Little Thicket Park, TC Jester Park
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Disc Golf Course at TC Jester Park, 19th Street Shopping District, West 11th Street Nature Park
11. Downtown Houston
The vibrant epicenter to the country’s 4th largest city, Downtown Houston features easy access to two main branches of the Bayou Greenways 2020 project (Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou).
The project aims to transform “3,000 underutilized acres of land along the bayous into linear parks and connecting 150 miles of hike-and-bike trails to parks and communities”.
Downtown is located at the heart of Houston’s Inner Loop, and is home to some of the city’s best retail, entertainment, sports, and cultural hotspots. Over 150,000 workers commute to downtown daily, employed by the 3,000+ companies that operate out of the district.
One of Houston’s most accessible districts, downtown offers several options, including the METRORail, the bus system, Houston B-Cycle, and Greenlink.
Just under 3,000 residents call downtown Houston home, and unlike other neighborhoods in the Bayou City, homes in the area are mainly condos and lofts.
- Trails: Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade, Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, White Oak Bayou Greenway, Heights Hike and Bike Trail
- Parks: Discovery Green, Root Memorial Square Park, Sam Houston Park, Tranquility Park, Sesquicentennial Park, Allen’s Landing, Quebedeaux Park
- Trail Activities: Walking, Biking, Inline Skating
- Popular Destinations Nearby: Downtown Aquarium, Theatre District, Minute Maid Park, George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center
1. The Houston BCycle. The Bayou City’s bike share program has 56 stations and over 400 bikes in Downtown, Montrose, Midtown, the Heights, the Museum District and more. Riders can visit any B-Cycle kiosk to purchase a single trip, or they can sign up for a membership online and get unlimited 60-minute rides throughout the system. Additionally, the BCycle mobile app provides a live-updated map of the system and tracks health and trip data for each member.
2. Bikeway network. The Houston Bike Plan and the Bikeways Program aims to make Houston a bike-friendly city. These programs are centered around improving safety, promoting ridership, increasing accessibility, and developing facilities for a high quality bicycle network. The Bayou City currently boasts of more than 300 miles of interconnected bikeways spread across 500 square miles.
3. Bayou Greenways 2020. The Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative is an ambitious park project aiming to turn 3,000 acres of greenspace along Houston’s bayous into linear parks. The project also includes the development of hike and bike trails along the greenways and connecting parks along the route.
4. Active transportation. These projects are all mostly aimed at not only promoting outdoor recreation and healthier lifestyles, but active transportation as well.
5. Plenty of urban park areas. With over 52,000 acres of parkland, Houston offers a lot of options. It ranks first among the 10 most populous cities in the country in total parkland, with 23.6 acres per 1,000 residents (well over the national average of 13.7 acres per 1,000 residents). Memorial Park and Hermann Park are two of the largest within the Inner Loop.
6. Wide variety of trails. There are a lot of trails from which to choose in Houston, from Memorial Park’s crushed granite Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail to Terry Hershey Park’s dirt and grass Anthills. Trail surfaces, difficulty, and length vary widely.
7. More venues for recreational family activities. Taking your kids out for a biking or hiking expedition around Houston is a great way to spend weekends.
8. Pet-friendly walking trails and parks. Many of Houston’s nature trails and greenways are pet-friendly, just be sure to take note of leash laws. Some dog parks (Memorial Park, included) feature washing and drinking stations.
9. Meeting like-minded people. Hiking, running, and biking clubs who organize regular events are a great way for you to socialize and meet like-minded people. These clubs are very open to newbies, who can learn a lot from the club’s more experienced people.
10. A new way to see the Bayou City. Exploring Houston’s bayous and parks on foot or on two wheels can be a great experience. Beautiful views of the bayous and downtown’s skyline also provide an excellent backdrop to your new riding hobby or jogging route.
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