Long "Down And Back" Trail
By Lone_Star on 3/4/2013
Distance: 11.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes
The Armand Bayou Hike & Bike Trail is a long, gravel trail that starts at the corner of Center Street and West Fairmont Parkway and runs for 5.2 miles to the intersection at Red Bluff Road and Bay Area Blvd. It provides no solitude as most of it runs along the side of Red Bluff Road and cars scream by at 55 mph.
The Armand Bayou Hike & Bike Trail connects to several others:
First, you can connect to the Holly Bay Trail at Village Grove Community Park which takes you to the Holly Bay Court Sports Complex. This is one place to park. You can read my logs of the Holly Bay Trail and Holly Bay Court Sports Complex here and here, respectively.
Second, at Village Grove Community Park, you can also connect to a trail that leads to the Holly Bay Spur Parking Area along Fairmont Parkway. This is another place to park.
Third, you can also connect to the Bay Area Hike & Bike Trail, which crosses on the other side of Red Bluff Road and Bay Area Blvd, near the Armand Bayou Nature Center. You can read my logs of the Bay Area Hike & Bike Trail and the trails at the Armand Bayou Nature Center here and here, respectively.
As an aside, this is a good log to talk about hiking surfaces and the importance of good footwear. If you hike from the connecting bridge at the Village Grove Community Park, it is about 5 miles down to the end of the trail at Red Bluff Road and Bay Area Blvd. If you do not have a ride waiting for you, it is another 5 miles back!
The point I want to make is that this 10 miles on gravel is a lot harder than 10 miles on a paved or dirt trail. The reason is slippage. When your shoe pushes off, it slides back a bit due to the lack of traction. This causes your legs to expend more energy for propulsion. Additionally, as your shoe lands on gravel, there is some slippage. This causes your foot and ankle to move around in an effort to gain balance. 10 miles of this and the result will be blisters and sore feet/legs. My advice is to put moleskin on the "hotspots" of your feet and to wear good shoes/boots and thick wool socks that will wick away moisture from your feet and keep them dry. Cotton socks get damp and can contribute to blisters.