Buffalo Bayou To The Second Ward
By Lone_Star on 10/24/2013
Distance: 12.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 55 minutes
Today, I hiked the part of the Buffalo Bayou Hike & Bike Trail that I was unable to complete on my previous hike (October 15, 2013). Specifically, I hiked the section on the south side of Buffalo Bayou in northeast downtown. I also hiked Tony Marron Park as well as the Harrisburg and Sunset Rail Trails and Hidalgo Park. Rather than loop back and move my car from place to place, I thought it was easier to simply hike from one trail to another through the streets of Houston.
Since this was a varied hike, I will discuss each section separately.
I parked my car and started my hike at Tony Marron Park. The park had a playground and some open, grassy areas, but overall the park was rather dirty.
I then hiked out of Tony Marron Park on the Buffalo Bayou Hike & Bike Trail heading west towards downtown Houston. The trail was paved cement in some places and dirt trail in others. Some parts of the trail were poorly maintained and overgrown and it did not take you through a very nice or safe part of town. Just past the railroad tracks beyond Jensen Drive, the trail ended abruptly and you could not go any further due to a fence. This is noteworthy because on my October 15th hike, I had to turn around while crossing an old, out of service train bridge that crossed Buffalo Bayou. I was disappointed because I thought that if I could have gotten all the way across, I would have been able to hike along the south bank of Buffalo Bayou to Tony Marron Park, which was my original hike plan on October 15th. Today, I learned this was not possible. From what I can learned, the Buffalo Bayou Hike & Bike Trail is not a single continuous trail, but rather two disjointed sections -- one that is mostly on the north side of the Buffalo Bayou (i.e., the part I hiked on October 15th) and another segment on the south side of the Buffalo Bayou (i.e., the part I hiked today). If this isn't clear, please look closely at my two .GPX track files to see where these segments run.
Back to today's hike - after I was forced to turn around, I hike back to Tony Marron Park and then kept going east along Buffalo Bayou to Lockwood Dr. Along the way, I got a view of the inner bowels of the city's junk metal scrap yards. Noisy, ugly, smelly, industrial...
At Lockwood Dr., the trail ended so I turned right and started walking through the streets of the Second Ward to pick up the Harrisburg Rail Trail. This is intended to primarily be a bike trail, but it will be useful to pedestrians (hikers and joggers), too. However, it should be noted that this trail is currently under development. They were still pouring the concrete when I hiked it. I should also point out that the map shown on the "View Alternate Map" link shows the trail veering onto Harrisburg Blvd, but I think this is the way they want you to go right now while the real trail is being developed. If you look at my track file, you will see that the trail runs between some housing developments and runs parallel to Harrisburg Blvd.
When the Harrisburg Rail Trail ended, I then walked further through the Second Ward to pick up the Sunset Rail Trail. This trail is finished and runs adjacent to the railroad tracks all the way to Hidalgo Park.
When I arrived at Hidalgo Park, I walked around and through the park. I should mention that the Second Ward is primarily Hispanic and at times I felt like I was walking through a Mexican border town. All the businesses were Hispanic and I found that Hidalgo Park commemorates the founder of Mexico. I welcome and appreciate diversity, but I'm not sure why the park commemorates a foreign hero rather than a domestic one.
Anyways, on my way back, I decided to take Navigation Blvd back as a short cut since I did not see any benefit to hiking back the same way as there was not much to see. I just want to make that clear to anyone reading this log because my track file consists partly of trails joined together with some urban walking.