The pandemic seems to be petering out now (still put on your mask), and Houston's biking boom is holding steady. And, believe it or not, Houston is a bikeable city — as courageous and timid cyclists discovered when the mask mandates started in 2020. For the past few years, bike lanes have been slowly inching their way across the city and, in doing so, have turned areas like Downtown, the Museum District, and the East End into burgeoning biking hotspots.
Cycling in Houston is not without its downsides; however, regulars on Houston's streets know that there's still a lot of growth needed before the Bayou City can compete with more bike-friendly locales like Austin, Portland, and Seattle. Progress is still progress, though, and per the Houston Bike Plan, adopted in 2017, the city is well on track to continue leveling up on its bike-ability.
Since not all neighborhoods in Houston and its surrounding areas are bike-friendly, we've put together a list of our favorite biking spots in Houston to help you handle the best places to start your biking journey. Houston has myriad offerings for those daring enough to saddle up, from highly bikeable neighborhoods like the Museum District and the Heights to tree-lined green belts in City Place and Kingwood. And with convenient offerings like Houston BCycle, it's never been easier to get your pedal time.
See below for a guide to the best biking spots in the Houston area, which features streets, trails, and bike lanes that will make you fall in love with the city.
Located east of Downtown, the Greater East End includes neighborhoods like EaDo, Eastwood, Second Ward, and the East End and some of the most bikeable streets in the city. Bike lanes in the area have been increasing over the past couple of years, but one of the best spots to bike in the area is the Harrisburg Hike and Bike Trail, a 5-mile trail and on-street bikeway. A previous life was a train track that cuts through the neighborhood.
The Heights is growing, and so are the trails. While the idyllic historic district of the Heights offers much in the way of views for Houston cyclists window shopping for houses, the neighborhood has bike trails that will help you see the community from the safety of a dedicated path. The crown gem of courses in the area is the Heights Hike and Bike Trail, which spans 4.6 miles and takes you along White Oak Bayou through cool stopping points like M-K-T Heights and Donovan Park (for the kiddos).
Downtown Houston used to be a controversial place to bike, but those days are in the past due to the marked bike lanes that have popped up in the area. Downtown bike lanes can take you from Discovery Green to spots like Buffalo Bayou, HCC, Sam Houston Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and the White Oak Bayou Greenway. Street biking is also a lot of fun Downtown, especially since street traffic in the area has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Just make sure you follow all traffic laws and stay alert to your surroundings.
The White Oak Bayou trail extends 17 miles through the city, and it's one of the longest continuous bike trails in Houston. Located between Rice Military and the Heights, the trail runs alongside White Oak Bayou and offers some of the best views you can find of Houston's Downtown Skyline. Several bridges along the path, so you'll get a good workout on the trail.
Extending 14 miles through Houston's central and southern areas, Brays Bayou Greenway Trail is quieter than trails like Buffalo Bayou and White Oak, but it's packed full of views for a lazy day of cycling. The course also connects to the Medical Center, which has ample lanes for those looking for a bit of urban exploration to end or start their ride.
As the holy grail of Houston bike trails, Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail has quite a lot to offer. The 15-mile route, located just outside Downtown, follows a picturesque stretch of Buffalo Bayou across the city. Perfect for both short and long rides, the trail offers a great view — and people watching as you cycle — and treats like the Waugh Drive Bridge, which houses an estimated colony of 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats.
As one of the largest urban parks in Texas, Memorial Park has a lot to offer pedestrians —including a staggering 30 miles of trails. But if you're a biker, and especially a mountain biker, you'll want to forgo the pedestrian trails and cycle your way over to the Color Trails, which offer the best mountain biking you can find in Houston through its six tracks: The Green Ridge Trail (1.7 miles), The Triangle (0.8 miles), the Yellow Trail (0.8 miles), the Orange Trail (0.8 miles), the Blue Trail (1 mile) and the Purple Trail (1.8 miles).
The Museum District offers some of the friendliest streets in Houston, complete with a host of bike lanes along streets lined with oak trees, parks, and beautiful structures. The area is also home to Hermann Park, easily one of the most picturesque spots in Houston to bike through. A bike ride through Hermann Park also offers you the opportunity to visit beautiful spots like the Japanese Garden, the McGovern Centennial Gardens, and Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Located to the west in Memorial, the Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail provides cyclists access to 10 miles of deliciously wooded trails. The track is heavily shaded with a mixture of gravel and paved paths, meaning it's a great trail to take if you're looking for a reprieve from the Texas heat as you cycle. The track, which provides a breezy route along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, conveniently connects to the George Bush Park Hike and Bike Trails to the west.
North Houston's City Place offers cyclists — and all outdoor enthusiasts — convenient access to the Spring Creek Greenway, the longest urban forested corridor in the nation. Spanning 40 miles, the greenway provides bikers access to the Spring Creek Nature Trail, a 14-mile natural surface trail that charts a course alongside the meandering and tranquil creek. If you're looking to immerse in nature during your ride, this is the best spot in the Houston area.