Hiking Memorial Park [Houston, TX, USA]

Tucked away in the urban jungle of Houston, Texas there is a beautiful escape: Memorial Park.

Over 7,600 acres of forest and parkland make the park an amazing break from city life. If you live in Houston, Texas, and you’ve never visited, take a trip this weekend.

Admission is free.

Address: N Picnic Ln, Houston, TX 77007

Their website.

Bridle Trails

I parked at the running headquarters center and crossed the bridge over Memorial Drive to the Bridle Trails loop.

Running Center
It was easy to find a spot on a Tuesday morning.
Down the stairs
Cross the bridge and follow the stairs to Bridle Trail.
Lots of bike paths
Throughout the park there are a ton of mountain biking courses, which is kinda funny because Houston doesn’t have any hills or mountains.
Drain
Common sense tells me not to get close to the scary tunnel.
Wild
Beautiful wild trail.

The Bridle Trail was a little more rough than the rest of the park. It’s pretty much assumed that people are using their horses here rather than walking.

Horsey
I visited the stable area. It’s on the North-side of the loop.

Hogg Woods Trail

After finishing the Bridle Trail you can cross Memorial Drive and take the Hogg Woods Trail loop. It is really a mountain biking trail which makes it pretty fun (and technical) to hike!

Steep path
It’s hard to take a picture that accurately shows how steep a trail is…
Palmetto
There were some beautiful Palmetto plants at the Southern end of loop.
Tunnel
The ominous tunnel that leads to the Houston Arboretum.

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The Houston Arboretum is a trip on its own! It is definitely the highlight of Memorial Park and has several miles of beautiful trails.

After sprinting through the scary tunnel I ended up at the Northern section of Arboretum trails.

R.A. Vines Trail

My favorite picture
My favorite picture of the day. It really was wonderful to have the park mostly to myself.
Path
This section of the path was a breeze to walk. And surprisingly contained no spiders!
Tree over arrowhead loop
This tree decided to do a barrel roll over the Arrowhead trail.
RA Vines Trail Trail
The R.A. Vines Trail had several beautiful boardwalks.
The Swamp
The swamp. I stuck around to look for turtles or gators, but didn’t see any.

Inner Loop Trail

Smarties Break
Smarties are an excellent source of sugar on the trail 🙂
My smarties spot
Where I stopped to eat my six smarties rolls (thank you Halloween!).

Southern Meadow Trail

South Meadow Trail
South Meadow trail has a great overlook of the meadow. Plenty of birds chirping and wildlife.

Outer Loop Trail

Big Texas Blue Sky.
Big Texas Blue Sky.
Nature Center
The Nature Center. I didn’t stick around long because of all the children’s field trip groups.

Running Trails

The Purple Trail

Purple Trail
Purple Trail starts with a very long, straight, and uncovered section. Skip this and take the red trail instead!
Purple Trail
The purple trail eventually leads into the forest area of the park.
Sandy Trails
My running shoes definitely let all the sand in.
Trails
This would be an excellent running or biking route, if you live close. Check out Mr. Squirrel getting a sniff of me.

The Yellow Trail

Yellow Trail
I took the Yellow Trail back. It was another mountain biking trail, with plenty of twists, turns, and even a couple jumps!
Mossy Roots.
“Mossy Roots.” My next band name.

Review and Recommendations

Memorial Park is massive compared to other city parks! We are very lucky as Houston-residents to have access to this free area of forest trails and sports fields.

Did I mention there is a three mile running loop? And miles of more trail I didn’t see?

It is a big and beautiful park you should visit.

Skip the Purple Trail. Skip the Outer Loop Trail in the Houston Arboretum. Other than that, you can’t really go wrong.

Also, remember to pack your smarties.

Smarties Carnage
Gotta stay fueled.

Erika and I visited on a Sunday a week after this post was published. It was packed! Of course it was a beautiful day to be outside so it is to be expected. Enjoy these two additional pictures 🙂

Charlie
Charlie.
Friendly Butterfly
Friendly butterfly wanted a handshake.

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