Are you looking for the best bike trails in the Houston area? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Houston is home to some of the best biking trails in the nation. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, there’s something for everyone. From miles of trails and picnic areas to wildlife habitats and downtown Houston views, Houston has it all. Here are some of the best bike trails in Houston, TX.
Introduction to Houston’s Trails
Houston is a great city for cycling enthusiasts. With miles of trails and plenty of picnic areas, you’ll be able to explore the city and its surroundings. The Houston area also boasts some of the most diverse wildlife habitats in the country. From birds and mammals to reptiles and amphibians, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quick ride or a great trail, Houston has it all.
The city also has plenty of parks and green spaces for cyclists to enjoy. From the Buffalo Bayou Park to the White Oak Bayou Greenway, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing ride or a challenging trail, you’ll be able to find it in Houston.
Houston’s Best Bike Trails by Types
Houston has been making great efforts to become a “biker‘s city.” There are bike lanes on many major streets, and new trails are being created all the time. For those who love the feel of the open road, there are plenty of great road biking options in Houston. The Bentsen Trail is a 14–mile paved path that follows an old railroad bed through public lands in Anahuac and into the Gulf of Mexico.
For a scenic ride through Houston’s parks and green spaces, check out Buffalo Bayou Park—it’s home to a 5–mile paved trail that runs from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street in downtown. For mountain bikers who love to explore the woods, there are several spots throughout the region. The Lone Star Hiking Trail is just over 70 miles long and stretches across three counties when you include its side trails.
Let’s explore the top best 10 trails:
Best Bike Trails for Mountain Bikers
If you own a mountain bike, there’s no better place to ride than Bear Creek Park. The park offers more than 52 miles of trails for all levels of riders, from the flat, smooth trails in the Bear Canyon area to the more difficult single-track trails found in the Wildcat Ridge and Bear Hollow areas. The single-track trails are marked with difficulty ratings at each intersection, so you can select a path that matches your skills.
There are also plenty of picnic areas and large open spaces where you can take a break and enjoy the views. Bear Creek Park is open every day of the year, but it does have some hours restrictions on certain days so be sure to check their website before planning your trip. For example, they close all biking trails on Sundays during the summer months. Mt. Houston is more than just a popular spot for downhill bikers; it also has 13 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails as well as over 20 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails suitable for riders of all skill levels. Trails range from beginner to expert level and some include long climbs up remote ridges with spectacular views.
Best Bike Trails for Road Bikers
If you’re looking for a scenic and relaxing ride, the Memorial Park Loop is perfect. The trail is paved, flat, and open to a number of different types of users. You will often see runners, walkers, and dog walkers enjoying the park along with cyclists. The trail weaves through the park and offers access to several amenities, including the picnic area, playgrounds, sports fields, golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts, restaurants, and more. At almost 7 miles long, this easy ride can be enjoyed by beginners and casual cyclists who are looking for some exercise without having to work up a sweat.
There are several other paved bike trails in Houston that are great for road bikers. The 10-mile Cy-Fair Trail runs along Hwy. 290 in north Harris County. This rail-to-trail project opened in 2016 after being converted from an old Union Pacific Railroad line. The newest addition to the city’s bike trail system is the Bayou Greenway Trails at Terry Hershey Park. This network of trails follows Buffalo Bayou from Hermann Park to the Tidwell Park picnic area at Airline Drive in east Houston. It is made up of four sections of former highway land acquired by the city for green space use over the past two decades.
Best Bike Trails for Families
For a fun family outing, follow the paved trails along Brays Bayou in Houston. The trail is an 11-mile stretch that follows the bayou from the George R. Brown Convention Center to its intersection with Loop 610. There are plenty of spots to stop and picnic along the way as well as access points to explore the waterway. For a shorter ride, consider taking a spin along Greenlink Trail.
This 4-mile paved path runs through Emancipation Park and Sam Houston Park. You can also access it from Emancipation Park’s parking lot off Dowling Street. For a similar family-friendly ride, check out Terry Hershey Park Bike & Hike Trail. This 1.75-mile trail winds through the woodlands and wetlands of Terry Hershey Park and offers multiple points for entry/exit as well as several picnic areas along the way.
Best Bike Trails for Nature Lovers
For those looking for a trail with a little more to offer than just scenic views, the Sam Houston National Forest is the perfect spot. The forest contains more than 150 miles of trails, spanning five different management areas. For those who want to bike through the forest, the Lake Rim Management Area has several trails that are open to bikers, including the Lakeview Trail and the Spur 526 Trail. The former is paved and 2.5 miles long while the latter is unpaved and 4.5 miles long.
If you prefer dirt paths, check out the Blue Bluff Trail or Bear Creek Management Area’s Piney Woods Loop or the Piney Woods Trail System. While all three of these trails are suitable for mountain bikers, Bear Creek is also open to hikers and horseback riders. Finding a great bike trail isn’t hard when you live in Houston—just look at any of our city’s many bayous! The Buffalo Bayou Park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The park has been undergoing major renovations over the past few years thanks to a $58 million bond that was approved by voters in 2014. Today, there are miles of paved trails for cyclists, runners, and walkers alike along with plenty of green space for picnics and outdoor workouts. There are even special zones for dogs!
Houston’s Favorite Bike Trails
Houston is home to a variety of great bike trails. If you’re looking for paved routes, then check out the Katy Trail, which runs along a former railway line and is about 12 miles long. It starts at the Houston Museum District, then heads south toward the Rice University area before turning west and ending at the Buffalo Bayou Park.
Along the way, you’ll find access points to roads (so you can cut across to get to them if you need), benches and shelters, plenty of wildlife, and various spots to take a break and enjoy the view. If you’re looking for more of an urban experience, then check out Buffalo Bayou Park; it’s known as one of the largest parks in Texas and is home to more than 20 miles of paved biking trails that wind through scenic landscapes.
You can also access the trails from various points around town—visit the Buffalo Bayou Bikeway website for more information. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, then head over to Terry Hershey Park near The Woodlands. Here you’ll find 20 miles of trails through wooded areas with small lakes, ponds, streams, and waterfalls. Plus there are campsites open year-round where you can stay overnight or just take a break for a picnic lunch.
Let’s explore the top 10 bike trails:
Memorial Park: Miles of Trails, Picnic Areas, & Wildlife Habitat
If you’re looking for a park with trails, Memorial Park has you covered. With 50 miles of trails, it’s the largest urban park in the country. These trails are divided into three categories—hiking only, hiking/mountain biking, and hiking/equestrian. The trails are open 7 a.m.–dusk year-round and offer beautiful views of the downtown skyline and Buffalo Bayou Park. The trails are also popular spots to see wildlife such as red-tailed hawks and white-tailed deer.
Additionally, there are picnic areas within the park as well as restrooms at regular intervals along the trails. Memorial Park is home to many attractions including the Houston Zoo and Golf Club, Miller Outdoor Theatre, and an arboretum with several gardens. Dogs are allowed off-leash in designated areas within Memorial Park as well as in Buffalo Bayou Park. The park is free to visit, but there is a parking fee on weekends and holidays from 7 a.m.–7 p.m., with fees up to $20 per car during peak hours of 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Terry Hershey Park: A Great Place to Bike Ride
Located in the Houston suburb of Humble, Terry Hershey Park has plenty of trails for bikers to explore. The park also has a dog park, disc golf course, and a sports complex with baseball fields, softball fields, soccer fields, and a BMX track. The park’s main trailhead is conveniently located at its entrance on the north side of Highway 59. The 2-mile trail here is paved and suitable for road bikers and those on hybrid or mountain bikes.
After the entrance, the trail passes by Lakeview Pavilion before veering right and traveling through the forest. About midway down the trail, you’ll come to a split that takes you left to an overlook of Lakeview Pavilion and back toward the park entrance. The second main trailhead is located off Park Drive just east of Highway 59. This more wooded section of the trail features more technical sections suitable for mountain biking as well as some scenic views of Humble along the way.
Hermann Park: The Best Place to Mountain Bike
If you’re looking for a fantastic place to mountain bike, then it doesn’t get much better than Hermann Park. The 690-acre park has more than 15 miles of trails that are divided into three different loops: the Red Loop, the Blue Loop, and the Green Loop. The Red Loop is for more experienced riders. It features a lot of technical trails, challenging climbs and steep descents, and breathtaking views of the skyline.
The Blue Loop is best for beginner and intermediate riders. It’s a bit more flat with fewer steep hills and obstacles. Finally, the Green Loop is great if you’re looking for something quick to do with the family or if you’re just getting started in the sport. The park also offers picnic areas with grills, pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms, and drinking fountains. You can rent out one of the pavilions if you want to spend the day here with friends or family. And while you’re in the area, don’t miss out on some of our favorite Houston restaurants!
Heights Hike: A Quick Ride to Downtown Houston
If you’re looking for a quick ride outside of The Heights, the Buffalo Bayou Park is one of the best places to bike in Houston. Located near downtown Houston, this massive park is home to various hiking and biking trails that are perfect for all levels of riders. The 10-mile long Buffalo Bayou Park trail is open from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street. There’s also a three-mile paved trail located at the Sabine Street Bridge called Heritage Trails.
This section of the park provides stunning views of downtown Houston, as well as access to popular restaurants and shops. Reaching the Buffalo Bayou Park from The Heights is fairly easy; simply head south on Studewood Avenue until it crosses Main Street. Turn left on Main Street and follow it until it ends at Shepherd Drive. Turn left onto Shepherd Drive and follow it until you see the park on your right side. Parking is limited in this area so be sure to bring some extra change with you because street parking can get crowded during peak riding hours.
Buffalo Bayou Hike: Explore the Bayou City
The Buffalo Bayou hike is a Houston must-do. This urban hike along the bayou lasts approximately two hours and covers about five miles. You start at Shepherd Drive and end at Sabine Street, with many stops in between. Buffalo Bayou Park is the largest urban park in the U.S., spanning over 600 acres and 14 miles of trails along the waterway itself. The hike crosses many bridges and offers views of the skyline, parks, wildlife, and even a few boat houses along the way.
Along with the natural beauty of Buffalo Bayou, you’ll see remnants of Houston’s industrial past as well as its modern culture—the hike takes you through historic neighborhoods as well as industrial areas that now have restaurants and bars. Plan to bring extra drinking water on this hike; there aren’t many refreshment stands along the way. After finishing your hike, explore downtown Houston by bike or foot!
Buffalo Bayou Park: Enjoy Great Trails & Views of Downtown Houston
Buffalo Bayou Park stretches for 8.5 miles through downtown Houston, offering several miles of trails for cycling and walking. The park is also home to a number of unique attractions, including the Houston Bike Barn, skatepark, and playground. Buffalo Bayou Park can be accessed in several locations, including Sabine Street, Waugh Drive, Hermann Park, and Shepherd Drive.
Different sections of the park have different feel. For example, the area near Sabine Street tends to be less developed and has a more natural feel with trees lining the bayou. On the other hand, areas closer to downtown have more buildings and attractions such as the Houston Bike Barn. Sabine Street is also home to the Sabine Promenade section of Buffalo Bayou Park. This section features a scenic two-lane concrete path that overlooks the bayou. It’s an ideal spot for runners and cyclists alike.
As you ride along, keep your eyes peeled for alligators that call Buffalo Bayou home! Memorial Park Loop Trail is another popular section of Buffalo Bayou Park that offers about 1.8 miles of paved trail that is suitable for road cyclists. This route starts at Allen’s Landing and travels west past Emancipation Park before looping back east toward Allen’s Landing again.
White Oak Bayou Greenway: Enjoy the University of Houston & Green Space
Take a ride on the White Oak Bayou Greenway, which runs from downtown Houston to the North Shepherd area. It’s a beautiful paved trail with several access points along the way. Highlights include the University of Houston and Emancipation Park. There are several acres of green space alongside this trail, so you’ll never feel far from nature. You can also explore the Allen Parkway and Downtown Park areas, which have their own bike trails for both road cyclists and mountain bikers.
And don’t miss BBVA Compass Stadium while you’re in the neighborhood. The Houston Dynamo soccer team plays here, so you can catch a professional game while you’re out on the trail. This 10-mile stretch is a great option for families who would like to ride together and enjoy some scenery. There isn’t much steep elevation here, and it’s easy to access from several points along the way. You can even take a break at one of the many parks along this route or stop in at one of the local bars or breweries on your return trip into Houston’s city center.
Watonga Parkway Park: A Great Place for Mountain Bikers
Watonga Parkway Park is a great place for mountain bikers to enjoy a challenging ride. Located in Huntsville, TX, this park offers roughly 15 miles of trails, which are open from sunrise to sunset. Watonga offers a challenging creek crossing that’s great for experienced riders. The terrain here is rocky and hilly, so be prepared to pedal your way to the top. If you’re looking for an easier ride, there are plenty of flat trails as well.
There are no restrooms at this park, so bring some TP if you plan to spend some time here. The park does have picnic tables and water fountains, so pack a lunch if you want to stay awhile. While you’re in Huntsville, be sure to check out the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and the Huntsville State Park while you’re there.
George Bush Park: Explore Wildlife Habitat & Picnic Areas
George Bush Park at Woodland Hills is one of Houston’s largest parks. At approximately 2,700 acres, it’s the largest park in the Houston MUD system. This park features sand hills, bottomland hardwood forest, piney woods, and open grasslands. The park also includes recreational facilities such as picnic areas and ball fields, hike/bike trails, a disc golf course, an equestrian trail system, and a wildlife habitat area with three nature centers. Bike riders can enjoy an 8-mile paved trail that loops around the perimeter of the park.
The trail is popular with road cyclists who enjoy the views of the park. There’s also a dirt trail for mountain bikers that snakes throughout the park. At the Nature Discovery Center, you can learn more about the wildlife in George Bush Park. The center offers interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for kids. For example, they offer “Critter Camps” where kids can learn about nature and help care for wildlife residents of the center like bats and garter snakes.
Downtown Houston is home to two of the city’s best bike trails. Buffalo Bayou Trail offers 13 miles of paved paths with several access points from downtown. The northern section of the trail has access points that are easily reached via METRO Light Rail, making it easy to quickly hop on your bike for an urban adventure. The southern section of the Buffalo Bayou Trail runs through Memorial Park and connects over to Hermann Park, where you can explore more than 300 acres of green space with its own trail system.
The Heights Bike Trail is another popular route. It runs along White Oak Boulevard and links up to the Buffalo Bayou Trail in multiple places. If you’re looking for a more urban trail experience, check out the Discovery Green Loop. This short loop is 1 mile long and is a great option for beginning cyclists or those looking for a quick ride in town.
Houston to Austin Trail
If you’re looking for a trail that will take you from Houston to Austin, we have good news for you. The Houston to Austin Trail is part of the Lone Star Hiking Trail system, which spans more than 600 miles across Texas. The portion of the trail in Houston runs roughly 11 miles from the intersection of Briar Forest and Westheimer Roads in the Galleria-area to Wilderness Park in Bellaire.
The trail is open to bikers, walkers, runners, and equestrians. It’s also open to pets on a leash (within certain boundaries) but keep in mind that there are no waste cleanup stations or water sources along the trail. This section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail offers great views of both the city and the local wilderness areas. You’ll see plenty of trees and plants (including invasive species like bamboo). You’ll also spot plenty of wildlife along this route, including hawks, red-tailed hawks, eastern screech owls, pileated woodpeckers, wild turkey, armadillos, raccoons, opossums, fox squirrels, cotton rats, and deer.
Bike Rental and Repair Options
If you want the convenience of riding through the city and don’t own a bike, there are plenty of places where you can rent a bike! Houston B-Cycle (houston.bcycle.com) is a public bike share program with many stations throughout the city. You can check their website to see which stations are close to your destination. They also offer annual passes for frequent riders and have special membership rates for college students. The cost to rent a bike is $8 for 24 hours and $15 for 3 days.
The bikes are equipped with helmets, saddlebags, and front and rear lights. If you prefer to ride your own bike, you can find lots of great repair shops around town, including Bicycle Sport Shop (bicyclesportshop.com), Bicycle Lane (bicyclelanehouston.com), and Bike Texas (biketexas.com). For more information about Houston’s best bike trails, check out our guide to the Buffalo Bayou Park or learn more about Houston’s bike trails!
Houston has some of the best bike trails in the nation. Whether you’re looking for a quick ride or a challenging trail, you’ll be able to find it in Houston. From miles of trails and picnic areas to wildlife habitats and downtown Houston views, Houston has it all.
So, if you’re looking to explore Harris County and the Houston area with the best bike trails, you’ve come to the right place. From Memorial Park to George Bush Park, there’s something for everyone. So, grab your bike and explore Houston’s best bike trails today!