The Buffalo Bayou Trail in downtown Houston is one of the prettier, but more confusing urban trails we’ve been on. The rolling, paved trail runs along both sides of the Buffalo Bayou River in the shadow of the city’s dramatic skyline. It traverses pretty riverbank parks, dips under several bridges, occasionally requires street crossings, and seems to be a part of a not-well-marked tapestry of trails.
We had chosen to ride this trail because the reviews of the 34-mile Brays Bayou Greenway Trail were not good. One warned of alligators on the trail after significant rains (which we’d had the day before). We’re not sure this is true, but dodging gators is not our idea of a fun ride!
About 6.5 miles from where we started near the western trailhead, we came to a chain link fence across the trail. There didn’t appear to be a detour or construction signs, but it had come to an end – FAR short of the 15 miles it was purported to run. The map showed another span of trail across the river and a few blocks away, but we couldn’t find it. So, we returned on the opposite side of the river, finishing a loop of only 13 miles.
Eager to get in some more riding on the warm but very windy day, we recalled that the western trailhead was on Memorial Drive, so we rode along a narrow sidewalk for a mile or so to “Texas’s largest urban park,” the 1466-acre Memorial Park. One lap around the park is almost three miles, but we rode on a network of cinder and packed dirt trails and on a wide walking circuit around a municipal golf course. This is a very popular park and there were lots of walkers and runners on the trails and a fair amount of car traffic on the roads that traversed the park.
Ultimately, we were able to cobble together a 25-mile ride which was about all we were up for against the strong winds. As is our custom, we returned to our car and Googled “brewery nearest me.” That led us to a really great one a few miles away called BuffBrew – Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company.
The large 3-story brewery with a colorful entryway lie next to a working railroad, which was interesting to peer down on as the trains went by. But the real draw was the view of the Houston skyline in the distance. And the beers were great! They make over 100 brews and there were probably 30 on tap at the second story bar and balcony, including wild flavors like Cranberry Wit, Dreamsicle and Key Lime Pie ales, Chai and fig porters, and MUCH more. (Check out their beer list – if only to read the clever names of beers, like Amaretto by Morning.) Sadly, they didn’t do flights, so Kellie belly’d up to the bar and took total advantage of the nice bartender (and slow time of day) to order samples of eight different beers. Among her favorites was Y’alloha, which tasted much like Mango Cart Ale, and Coconut Mole’ stout.
Jim ordered their More Cowbell IPA and their Comrade Cowbell Imperial Red Ale – both of which he enjoyed as we sat on the balcony overlooking the trains and cityscape.
Had a different experience on this trail? Let us know in the Comments section below.