Image: Amy Kinkead

Sensitive to the sun? Unless you go walking at night or in the wee hours of the morning, you're going to need the protection of a thick canopy of trees. Under the leafy oaks of our three favorite walking paths, you'll be hard-pressed to tell you're in the city at all. 

Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary

A little over 17 acres along Rummel Creek is what remains of Edith Moore’s original 180-acre homestead in west Houston, along with a restored log cabin built in 1932 from the native loblolly pines that still shade its meandering paths. Quaint wooden bridges over vine-shrouded bayous lend a fairy-tale feel to the landscape.

Look for:

Carolina chickadees, downy woodpeckers, green herons, and more; this is prime birdwatching territory.

Look out for:

Truncated hours; the sanctuary gates are open 7 a.m.–7 p.m. (9 p.m. during the summer).

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

This Memorial Park preserve provides a wonderful respite just across 610 from the Galleria. Full of wildlife—coyotes were recently spotted—the trail is popular with students, researchers, birdwatchers, and Houstonians who need a regular dose of the natural world.

Look for:

The R.A. Vines trail, which mimics East Texas wetlands and traverses some terrain with actual elevation—hills, here, in Houston!

Look out for:

Crowded trails close to the entrance; avoid them by heading for the Outer Loop trail, where jogging is prohibited.

Terry Hershey Park

Bordering both sides of Buffalo Bayou from Beltway 8 all the way to Highway 6, this massive park sprawls across 500 verdant acres. Paved asphalt paths that follow the tree lines are popular with both joggers and bikers, while walkers and hikers favor the dirt paths tucked along the bayou’s scenic, shady banks.

Look for:

Rabbits, armadillos, turtles, owls, raccoons, and other wildlife that still occupy the park’s pristine, 6-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou, which has remained largely unchanged for decades.

Look out for:

Muddy, washed-out hiking paths and bike trails after rains.

 

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