Armand Bayou Nature Center

5.00 Miles
8500 Bay Area Blvd.
More Info
6 February 2005, just inside the entrance. (Photo by rtjones731)
(Photo by rtjones731)
2-6-05 just off the trails, several sightings (Photo by rtjones731)
(Photo by rtjones731)
Well maintained and great for youngsters. (Photo by rtjones731)
Taken on a prairie trail last October (Photo by rtjones731)
(Photo by Eveline)
(Photo by Eveline)
Sign to the entrance of the Nature Center. (Photo by Lone_Star)
If you look closely, you'll see turtles bathing in the sun. (Photo by Lone_Star)
This "fuzzy stuff" in the tree branches is called Spanish Moss. (Photo by Lone_Star)
The signage in the park is excellent. Signs are posted at each key intersection. (Photo by Lone_Star)
A good view of the Armand Bayou is provided along the Martyn Trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Nice bird blind along the trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
This is along the Karankawa Trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Massive lichen on a log. (Photo by Lone_Star)
This is what East Texas used to look like in the old days. Sadly, 98% of all prairie lands have been converted to human use. (Photo by Lone_Star)
There are two bison on the Martyn Farm. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Log Entries
A Very Nice Nature Center
By Lone_Star on 3/2/2013
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

The Armand Bayou Nature Center was a pleasant surprise.  It is a well managed facility and worth the $4 admission charge.  There are several trails you can take, including:

  • Martyn Trail
  • Karankawa Trail
  • Lady Bird Trail
  • Prairie Interpretive Trail
  • Discovery Trail

A printed trail map is available at the Entrance Building, but signage is excellent.  Direction signs are posted at key intersections and distance markers are provided every 1/4 mile on the first three trails listed above.  In addition, there are lots of educational displays and signs to help you learn more about the wildlife and ecosystem in the nature center.  I recommend you spend time upfront reading the signs as they will help set the stage for the rest of your experience once you are out on the trails.

All of the trails are interesting in their own way.

The Martyn Trail (1.32 miles) takes you to the bayou, across some forested wetlands, and to bird blinds and wildlife viewing platforms.

The Karankawa Trail is a little longer (1.38 miles) and also takes you to the bayou, the boat house (a small shack on the shore of the bayou), and to observation points.

The Lady Bird Trail is longer still (1.5 miles), takes you to an observation point along the bayou and brings you back through grassy prairie lands.  If you don't want to walk the full 1.5 miles, there is a short loop cut-off that will cut the distance to about 1/2 mile.

The Prairie Interpretive Trail takes you out onto a natural prairie.  It mentions a lot of wildlife, but I didn't see any.

The Discovery Trail takes you through the restored Martyn Family Farm.  It gives you a good idea of what living there must have been like in earlier days.  There are two bison on the farm, so be sure to swing by and admire these massive beasts.

There is a lot of poison ivy and thorny bushes in the park, so I would advise staying on the trail and wearing long pants.  In my opinion, hiking off-road in shorts is rarely a good idea.  Also, part of the trail can get muddy so I would not venture the trails after it has rained.  Best to wait a few days unless you're willing to get muddy.

The Armand Bayou Nature Center is along the path of the Bay Area Hike & Bike Trail and across the street from where the Armand Bayou Hike & Bike Trail starts at the intersection of Red Bluff Road and Bay Area Blvd.  Catch either one of those trails if you want to hike further, but be aware that both of these trails are long.  You can read my logs of those two trails here and here, respectively.

Great hike for close by...only saw 3 other people on the trail
By clytmnstra on 2/8/2013
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: N/A

We saw 6 deer and a bald eagle, heron, finches, pelicans, turtles and 2 bison.  Nice variety of trails (gravel, straight, winding, dirt, grass, prarie).  Would love to go back in the spring when things are growing and green.  (it was a little muddy on the Lady Bird Trail since it had just rained a day ago).  My hiking partner for the day had done a stretch on the Pacific Crest Trail and she thought the trails here at Armand were really nice.

Not bad for the location
By wesley on 5/5/2006
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
A good park for being in the middle of the Pasadena/Clear Lake area; has three loop trails that cover the different areas of park. I enjoy hiking down to the bayou and sitting on the bench for a while right next to the water. With a three dollar price for each adult you get 5 miles of hiking trails along with the reenactment area it is a good place to get out and away for a day. The only complaint I had was the amount of spiders that where out, it must have been there mating season or something, as the amount of spiders present was overwhelming and actually caused us to turn back on some of the trails.
By itchy on 5/31/2005
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: N/A
By itchy on 5/17/2005
Rating: N/A Difficulty: N/A Solitude: N/A
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: N/A
Nice shady place to hike in the hot weather. Love to canoe Armand Bayou, too.
Nice Hike
By surfpup on 2/12/2005
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Very nice hike through the Bayou. Deer, Turtles, Armadillos, Birds throughout the park.
Nice Area
By Eveline on 2/12/2005
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.20 Miles Duration: N/A
Volksmarched this area after a rain. Lots of water on the trail.
Pleasant day hike through the wooded trails
By rtjones731 on 2/6/2005
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Guides are availble at predetermined times to assist in describing and identifying the flora and fauna. This mild winters day allowed me to witness a water snake by the pond, several Armadillos rustling through the forest litter and a few deer, with one 8 point buck not yet shed of antlers. The prairie trail has been too wet of late for most, but makes for good solitude for the rest of us. Again, this is a wonderful, close in place to experience a brief respite from the hectic daily grind.
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