I knew about Buffalo Bayou Trail but never took the time to explore until just recently. The Bayou itself runs from the notorious Houston Ship Channel around the north side of downtown to the west side before meandering westwards and paralleling Allen Parkway. The Bayou itself is not a sight, in fact, its probably better to not look directly into the Bayou. However, the trail is a pleasant walk easily integrated into whatever activities you have planned for downtown, near-town, Washington Corridor or Montrose.
You can get to to the trail from the west side of downtown via just about any of the east-west streets or anywhere along Allen Parkway; just look for a bridge and likely that bridge will have a set of stairs leading down to the trail. There places to pop up at Bell St for the density of oil and gas high-rises, another at Prairie for the Wortham and Buffalo Bayou Centers, one for the Aquarium and many that allow access to either Montrose or Rice Military.
It looks like they are building out the north side and east side trails, since the paths were closed with a “building in progress” look. There is a separate path that runs along the Bayou from EaDo out to the ship channel but it does not appear to be connected to the rest of the system. Yet.
In most spots parallel to Allen Parkway there are separate walking and biking paths which allows different transport modes to peacefully coexist, however they merge in downtown. The paths, bridges, benches and everything else are kept in immaculate condition. There’s nothing to watch out for save a few ducks, who apparently think the trail is for them.
The trail is lit up at night; its not great lighting but it will keep you from biking off the trail and into the Bayou. Its particularly interesting to explore this path at sundown; the highly reflective skyline of downtown slightly beyond the cobalt blue lights they installed under the freeways make the city look like an anime setting.
You can customize this walk to your liking. I did an 8-mile return from the north side of downtown at Prairie St, across the Aquarium, under the Sabine St. Bridge, past Montrose and coming close to River Oaks. Then back. It was a 3 hour walk, stops included
You could do this with flip flops and water bottle; its that easy.
Wortham Center for cultural. Bayou Center for entertainment including Sundance Theatre. Main St. for craft cocktails. Aquarium. Volleyball, soccer, dog park, exercise courses and picnic areas are along the Allen Parkway segment.
The views of downtown are second only to those from the north side; you’ll see the city from a very different perspective. You’ll see some funky art installations, which frankly I did not know existed before walking the trail. I was fascinated by the metal Buddha-ish figures welded together from various alphabets.
This is a very heavily traveled path at all times; if you’re looking for solitude, keep looking, however if you like knowing other people are always around, you’re in luck.