THE HOUSTON ARBORETUM & NATURE CENTER already has its own new arborgator, field stations, and Woodway entrance, but the city’s coolest outdoor hidden gem has something else to celebrate: Its beloved Ravine Trail is open again. We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the exceptional weather of late than with an evening walk in this nature sanctuary, with the bats flapping overhead, the ravine gurgling and the flowers in bloom.
It’s all part of the arboretum’s Master Plan, which the nonprofit launched in 2012 after half of its trees died thanks to the devastation of Hurricane Ike and years of drought, with an aim to restore itself into a resilient, sustainable natural ecosystem (some piney woods, but mostly prairie and savanna).
It's working: during Hurricane Harvey, the pimples-and-dimples landscape acted as a sponge, and the Arboretum saw almost no damage.
While the Ravine Trail has been closed off for three years due to flooding, erosion, and washout, it's now ready to show off its native riparian ecosystem to the public. There are two new bridges over the ravine— one even has an ADA accessible concrete trail leading to it—and there’s a boardwalk system, new native plantings to improve bio-diversity and prevent erosion, and lots of shade.