Situated near the Gulf of Mexico, Houston is the fourth most populated city in the US as well as the largest in Texas.
As a result of its high population, ten-lane highways, and a packed high-rise skyline, for a long time, Houston has seemed a fairly daunting place to run.
However, thanks to an investment of $100 million dollars being put into the development of park and trail projects, the city is quickly increasing in popularity with runners.
High humidity and sweltering heat aside, Houston now has a much wider range of running trails suitable for all levels of runners.
To give you an idea of the great running trails on offer in and around Houston, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best running trails, looking at where they are and what they offer.
If you’re a tourist wanting somewhere quick and easy to run, or a local wanting to find something new, be sure to stick around!
Buffalo Bayou Park
Buffalo Bayou Park is the centerpiece of a $30 million dollar urban revitalization plan that has created one of, if not, the most scenic and photogenic green spaces in the city.
Located west of Houston’s downtown, at the park you will find a range of trails varying in length.
The main Buffalo Bayou trail runs for 15 miles, suiting more experienced runners, while the 4.8-mile loop suits those who want a more relaxed, easier run.
From one end to the other, the smooth, paved trails at Buffalo Bayou Park offer incredible skyline views of the city and the opportunity to run through other parks, waterways, and forested areas.
Bordering Houston’s Museum District and Houston Zoo, Hermann Park may only offer a short trail 1.5 miles in length, but it shouldn’t be ruled out.
The park is easily accessible, has a beautiful landscape, and has plenty of variety when it comes to exploring as you run.
Whether you’re a tourist wanting to see what the city has to offer, or a local wanting to get away from the busyness of the city, this park has something for everyone.
The perfect spot to run in the morning, the easy, flat paved trail at Hermann Park takes you past a beautiful reflection pool, a large golf course, a gorgeous Japanese garden, and more.
You even have the opportunity to make the run longer by heading through Hermann Park’s gravel trails to the University or nearby Museum District.
What was once one of George H.W. Bush’s favorite running spots in Houston, Memorial Park has a fantastic 2.8-mile running loop perfect for anybody looking for a quieter, less competitive place to get some running in.
Another relatively flat trail, the path here is easy to run on, taking you through a lovely green space and alongside a lake.
There’s not too much more to say about this trail except to tell you to come here if you want an easy run away from the pressures and stresses of city life.
If you’re looking for a location that offers short and long-distance running, the Brays Bayou trail found near Rice University and Medical Center is a great option.
Offering runners a 14-mile-long trail with underpasses and paved sidewalks, this trail gives you a great opportunity to choose how far you run.
Passing through the Greenway Trail, this Brays Bayou running location is actually a waterside trail that offers some escape from the city. Aside from a variety of running options, runners will also appreciate the lack of other runners.
Nice and quiet, you don’t need to worry about this trail becoming overloaded with people. This trail could soon be even better as work is continually done to improve the trail.
White Oak Bayou Trail
Experienced runners looking for a trail that offers longer distances should visit the White Oak Bayou Trail. Starting at the Heights or Rice Military, this trail gives runners, hikers, and cyclists almost 17 miles of continuous, undisturbed trails.
A paved, flat trail, you can expect to see some of the city’s most beautiful areas during your run.
As you run, you’ll be greeted with unparalleled views of the city, beautiful greenery, and maybe even some of Houston’s wildlife. We love how this trail gives us more freedom to choose how far we run and how intense the run will be.
Just remember your water bottle as there aren’t too many water fountains.
Montrose Running Trails
If you’re looking for somewhere exciting and interesting to run, while still having plenty of running options available to you, Montrose is where you’ll want to head.
Montrose is one of the most colorful, intriguing, and fascinating neighborhoods in Houston making it an awesome location for anybody wanting to explore as they run.
As the area is mostly residential, there are sidewalks in abundance. This makes running a lot smoother and easier.
Offering various different routes and the chance to run long or short distances, as you run you’ll be able to admire the wonderful street art Montrose has to offer, explore the Museum District, and pay the Menil Collection a visit.
The 2.7-mile looped running trail found at Rice University is a popular running spot with the locals. Voted the most beautiful college campus in the United States on a number of occasions, it’s not hard to see why so many people come here for their morning run.
Featuring scenic fountains, plenty of shade, and well-structured gravel paths, the Rice University loop trail is the perfect place to get your daily exercise in, even in the hot Texas sunshine.
While you could quite easily run this route a couple of times to increase your distance, pairing the trail with Hermann Park will make things more interesting and give you a longer 4.5-mile trail.
George Bush Park
Situated near the Energy Corridor to the west of Houston, George Bush Park is an enormous park with thousands of acres of open green space. Within this park, you’ll find an 11-mile running trail ideal for any level of runner.
Whether you want a long jog or a quick intense workout, this paved route will serve its purpose.
Along the trail, you can expect to see a number of lakes, plenty of greenery, and a couple of bridges. If you live near the park or find yourself near this area, definitely check the park out.
West University/Boulevard Oaks
The West University and Boulevard Oaks running trails take you through one of the city’s most impressive and picturesque neighborhoods, with the famous Oak canopies a frequent feature.
A real treat, this trail is the place to get all of your running training in whilst also getting an insight into the wild lifestyle of Houston’s elite.
Lined with stunning greenery, enormous oak trees, and incredible homes, this paved trail shows you a side of Houston not many people get the chance to see.
Running along this trail you can expect a relatively flat, easy run that can be easily adapted to be as short or as long as you want it to be. A lot of runners add to their mileage by running through to Rice University too.
Terry Hershey Hike And Bike Trail
Found in the wooded, very green neighborhood of Memorial, this trail is a big hit with runners, walkers, and cyclists. The Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail has a brilliant 10-miles worth of trails, varying in difficulty but never getting too hard.
Relatively flat underfoot, the paved and gravel trails here are a great spot to come running during hotter days as there are plenty of trees lining the trails. This gives everyone plenty of shade as they run.
If you want to get out of downtown without having to travel too far, this trail is a very good option.
While running in Houston may seem daunting at first, thanks to the hard work the State of Texas has put into developing and revitalizing Houston’s green areas and parks, running is now massively growing in popularity in the city.
As you can see from our list, there are a wide variety of different places to run in the city, with each trail offering something different.
Some trails offer runners the chance to hit the trail hard over long distances, while other trails let us get our morning jog in while exploring Houston’s most colorful parks and neighborhoods.
Now we’ve provided you with a list of the best running trails in Houston, why not take some time to think about where you want to run next. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with some options you have never seen or heard of before.
If so, why not check those out first. Enjoy!