11 Amazing Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Houston

Kids walk a nature trail at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Photo courtesy of the Houston Arboretum
Kids walk a nature trail at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Photo courtesy of the Houston Arboretum
10/16/20 - By Carrie Taylor

Houston's urban sprawl may not bring the word "hiking" to mind when thinking about things to do with kids. But let me tell you, the city has many amazing pockets of forests, streams, and wetlands that can be accessed by some pretty great hiking (as well as biking) trails. And we're not talking paved trails in the middle of a tree-less park; the easy hikes below make you almost forget you live in one of the country's biggest cities.

All of these parks and hiking trails are easily accessible for small children, and many are stroller and wagon friendly. Be prepared to add hiking to your list of favorite family activities after checking out these kid-friendly trails and parks.


Mayde Creek Trail
Mayde Creek Trail is an easy paved trail. Photo by Michael Martin/CC BY 2.0

Mayde Creek North Hike and Bike Trail - West Houston

19008 Saums, Houston 77084
This paved 1.4-mile trail runs along Mayde Creek and begins at Cullen Park, which is a great destination on its own. The park has a splash pad, plenty of shade and benches, and a cool wooden playground with balance beams and plenty of structures for climbing. The Mayde Creek trail is paved and perfect for anything with wheels or simply walking.

Terry Hershey Park - West Houston

15200 Memorial Drive, Houston 77079
There are three trails branching from Terry Hershey Park off Buffalo Bayou. The massive park has a playground, and while many of the trails on its property are popular for biking, many are still fit for a nice hike. There are multiple trails to choose from, ranging from paved to unpaved. View a map of the property to plan your day and choose the perfect route.

Little Cypress Creek Preserve - Cypress

14900 Telge Road, Cypress 77429
This 57-acre preserve is a great place to see some indigenous wildlife, from birds to butterflies to reptiles. Expect a more rustic atmosphere than other county parks; the trails are not paved, but you can use jogging strollers and there are benches near the wetlands along the trails. There is a one-mile interactive trail with information signage that involves a QR reader as well as a .7-mile non-interactive trail. There are bathrooms on-site, but no playground.

RELATED: Splash Pads Around Houston

A trail in the woods at Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
Kids enjoy the nine trails at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. Photo via Flickr

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center - Memorial

4501 Woodway Drive, Houston 77024
We love visiting the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center for its amazing amenities like the educational nature center and events, and its trails are no exception—there are nine trails that take visitors around the beautiful property. 

Gourley Nature Trail - Spring

6727 Cypresswood Drive (Collins Park)
7700 Cypresswood Drive (Meyer Park)

The Gourley Nature Trail is a fairly new Houston-area trail in that it was constructed as a part of the Cypress Creek Greenway. It is a .5-mile long, is 10-feet wide, and connects Collins and Meyer parks. There are benches as well as informational signs along the trail.

Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center - Humble

20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble 77338
Spend the day at Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center, which runs next to Spring Creek in Northeast Houston, and your family won't run out of things to do. Aside from the actual Nature Center learning building, there are numerous trails (all of which are wheelchair accessible) that range from 1.2 to .29 miles long. Check out the map to plan which trails you would like to hit during your visit.

RELATED: 16 Houston Parks with Lots of Shade

Lake Isabel, Lake Houston Wilderness Park

Camp, hike, or bike at Lake Isabel, Lake Houston Wilderness Park. Photo by Jill Carlson/CC BY 2.0

Lake Houston Wilderness Park - New Caney

25840 FM 1485, New Caney 77357
Spend the weekend camping or just a day trip at Lake Houston Wilderness Park, and hike to your heart's content! There are 20 miles of hike-and-bike trails, including smaller options for little kids like Hoot Owl Trail (.3 miles) and the Lake Isabel Loop Trail (.4 miles), or tackle the longer Loggers Loop (3.6 miles) and AmeriTrail (3.8 miles). Near the park entrance, there is a Nature Center as well as some restrooms.

Challenger Seven Memorial Park - Webster

2301 West NASA Boulevard, Webster 77598
The nature trail loop in the Southwest Houston park takes you into the woods and up close and personal with wildlife. It passes the park's lake, wetlands, prairie restoration area, bird sanctuary, and observation towers that overlook the wetlands. There is also a playground and restroom facility on-site.

RELATED: Must-See Parks Around Houston

Lone Star Hiking Trail in the Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area in the Sam Houston National Forest
Lone Star Hiking Trail in the Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area is in the Sam Houston National Forest. Photo by Adrian Delgado2012/CC BY 2.0

Sam Houston National Forest - New Waverly

394 FM 1375 West, New Waverly, TX 77358
Located about an hour north of Houston, Sam Houston National Forest offers visitors access to the 128 mile Lone Star Hiking Trail. The trail can be hiked year-round and is home to a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife. Make sure you also check out Little Lake Creek Wilderness and Big Creek Scenic Area when you visit; in fact, you may just want to book a campsite and spend the whole weekend exploring. 

An alligator crosses Spillway Trail in Brazos Bend State Park
Kids may be thrilled to see alligators crossing the Spillway Trail in Brazos Bend State Park. Photo by Mike Fisher/CC BY 2.0  

Brazos Bend State Park - Needville

21901 Farm to Market Rd 762, Needville, TX 77461
If you're looking for an alligator heavy adventure, Brazos Bend State Park is the place to go. The main trail loop winds around a lake that is full of alligators of all shapes and sizes, so make sure your eyes are peeled while you walk! Various lookout points allow you to safely take in views of alligators in their natural habitat, and there are several trails that you can hike and bike away from the main lake trail as well. There's also a playground for the kids to burn off any extra energy and plenty of picnic spots. 

100 Acre Wood Preserve - Cypress

14236 W. Cypress Forest Dr. Houston, TX 77070
Northwest Harris County is home to Precinct 4’s 100 Acre Wood Preserve, which features pocket prairies, wetlands, forests, and almost two miles of wooded trails. The trails eventually connect to the nine-mile Cypress Creek Mountain Bike trail system, so you can easily take hikes of varying lengths. There is also a one-mile Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible paved trunk line trail within the preserve.


Originally published October 23, 2017

Places featured in this article: