Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

2.00 Miles
3stars (3.17)3
1star (1.17)
1star (1.33)
4501 Woodway Dr.
More Info
View Of The Trail
Typical view of the trails. (Photo by Lone_Star)
There are several boardwalks through the low lying areas. This is one of the longer ones. For an arboretum, it was disapppointing to see mostly dead and fallen trees. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Couch Birding Observation Deck
This elevated wooden observation deck takes you out into the trees near Buffalo Bayou. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Excellent Signage
You won't get lost on the trails. There are direction markers EVERYWHERE! (Photo by Lone_Star)
Lily Pond
Nice pond, but the turtles were FAKE. C'mon! (Photo by Lone_Star)
Entrance Sign
This is the entrance sign off Woodway Drive. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Log Entries
Disappointing Experience
By Lone_Star on 2/27/2013
Rating: 1star Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 1star
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 40 minutes

I can sum up the Houston Arboretum & Nature in 4 words:  ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FIELD TRIP!

For those of you that want to know more, it is a place inside Memorial Park that is free of charge.  However, after walking this location, I would have felt ripped off had I paid more than a couple of bucks as it was in very bad shape.

Behind the Nature Center, there is a "tangled mess" of trails.  The Outer Loop trail defines the perimeter and several other trails criss-cross throughout the interior.  On the day I went, parts of the Outer Loop trail were closed because they were resurfacing them.  This didn't make a lot of sense to me because all they were doing was putting fresh dirt over the old dirt and gravel and making it a bit more smooth.  I couldn't see the value in doing that since the old dirt and gravel was easy to walk on.

I was expecting the be "Wow'ed" with lots of tree exhibits, interesting ecosystems, and exotic wildlife.  What I saw was a bunch of dead trees, many of which had fallen over or broken, and fake turtles in the lily pond.  There was no more wildlife or birds than I see on my hikes outside the arboretum.  According to their website, apparently the 2012 drought caused a loss of 50% of the tree life and enabled some invasive species to make their way into the arboretum.

One far point, called the Couch Birding Trail takes you to a lookout amongst the trees along Buffalo Bayou.  Problem was there were no birds and you could hardly see the bayou.  Everything kept turning up short of expectations.

I had hoped to spend a few hours here learning and enjoying the grounds, but I ended up leaving in 40 minutes.  This looks like a place where Elementary Schools take field trips to get the kids out of the classroom and teach them about nature.  Kids might like it, but I didn't.  I hope this place can rebound and make a comeback.

By wesrader on 1/11/2010
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: N/A

Not a bad hike for being inside Loop 610!  Some car noise on the westernmost trail, but that faded quickly and the rest of the hike was quiet.  Nice changes of scenery, going from heavy woods to meadows to small ponds within a short distance.  Some elevation changes in the northwest section of the hike, but overall pretty flat.  You'll pass others as you hike, and sometimes even a class of elementary school students on a field trip.

By Eveline on 12/14/2002
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 1star
Distance: 6.20 Miles Duration: N/A
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