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Houston To-Do’s: Jog or bike Houston’s Bayou Greenways

With thousands of visitors converging in Houston for the big game, there is so much to see and do and, of course, eat. Why not check out a few of Houston’s greatest views while burning those extra calories?

Houston is transforming its bayous into Bayou Greenways with linear parks and hike-and-bike trails. While the project is still in development, nearly 60 miles of trails are already in the ground. The Bayou Greenways are the perfect place for Houston visitors to go for a jog, ride a bike, or explore the city from a different perspective.

Some of the best running, hiking and biking options in Houston include:

5 Mile Run: White Oak Bayou Greenway – Downtown

Located just west of Downtown Houston, White Oak Bayou Greenway stretches almost 15 miles from downtown to the city limits. One of the best five-mile runs is along the hike-and-bike trail between downtown and Stude Park.

Start at UH-Downtown at 913 Girard St. From this spot, you’ll take in a historic view of Downtown at the city’s birthplace: Allen’s Landing. Then, travel west along White Oak Bayou Greenway to Stude Park. Along this route you will see stunning views of the downtown skyline, bustling neighborhoods with Victorian-style homes, native trees and flowers, and, if you’re lucky, some wildlife including turtles, herrings, egrets and bald eagles. After enjoying all Stude Park has to offer, circle back and grab a bite to eat at Toasters, a downtown café located a couple of blocks from where you started.

7 Mile Run: Brays Bayou Greenway – Mason Park

Brays Bayou Greenway traverses 30 miles from the Houston Ship Channel westward to the city limits. If you’re looking to get in a long run, this 7-mile route along Brays Bayou Greenway will take you through the historic East End area, home to Houston’s early history and industry and the city of Harrisburg, the seat of government for the Republic of Texas in 1836.

Start at Mason Park, 541 S 75th St., and travel 3.5 miles west along Brays Bayou Greenway to Gragg Park. Along this route, see rolling views of Brays Bayou, swaying native grasses, the historic Gus Wortham Golf Course and the quaint Idylwood neighborhood. Before turning back, take a break at the newly renovated Gragg Park, complete with art sculptures, walking trails and playground equipment. Bonus: the historic NASA Manned Spacecraft Center is located in the park and is the current home of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

When running in Houston, take note of the higher humidity – often near 70% – which is great for the skin but affects your breathing (and ladies, your hair).

In the last five years, tremendous effort has been underway to increase the city’s hike-and-bike trails and parkland. One of the most ambitious projects in the country is in progress by the non-profit Houston Parks Board and the City of Houston. Bayou Greenways 2020 is transforming 3,000 acres of parkland and building nearly 80 new miles of hike-and-bike trails for a total of 150 miles of trails along Houston’s nine bayous. When complete in 2020, 60% of Houstonians will live within 1.5 miles of a Bayou Greenway.

So, if you may have indulged in Houston’s culinary scene and are feeling the need to get out and move, no matter where you live or where you're staying, there’s a trail and park by you.