Lace ’em up for the best running & jogging trails in Greater Houston

Take to the trails along Buffalo Bayou for some terrific skyline views | Courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Break a personal record—or just break a sweat—at our picks for the best running and jogging trails in Greater Houston.

From scenic urban paths to secluded wooded trails, we’ve gathered a handful of the best spots for your next run or jog in Greater Houston.

Take to popular parks inside the loop and find no shortage of fellow runners to pace with, or head to further reaches from Downtown and enjoy some of the best nature trails the city has to offer.

The Best Running & Jogging Trails in Greater Houston

Running & Jogging Trails Inside the Loop

Memorial Park remains the featured running destination in the city of Houston | Courtesy of Memorial Park Conservancy
  • Memorial Park – One of the go-to spots for Houston runners, the 3-mile Seymour Lieberman Trail that runs along Memorial Drive and loops around the park’s golf course is a popular gravel path where you can generally find fellow joggers at any given time of day. If you’re in search of a more shaded path in the area, then try the various wooded trails on the southern side of Memorial, which wind through native ecosystems and range from easy 3/4-mile segments to more challenging 2-mile routes. Learn more.
  • Rice University – For a shaded 3-miler, check out this popular gravel path that loops the university campus nestled in the Medical Center. A popular spot for runners, especially in Houston’s hotter months, much of the trail is under a canopy of oak trees that line the perimeter of Rice—which means keeping an eye out for exposed roots that are marked for high visibility along the route. Parking is tricky in the surrounding neighborhoods, but there’s plenty of paid parking available on campus. Learn more.
  • Buffalo Bayou Park – For one of the most scenic runs in Houston, take to the popular 5.6-mile loop that stretches along Buffalo Bayou from Downtown to the Shepherd Street bridge. Along the way, you can combine various lengths in parallel paved and gravel paths to best meet your experience level, and enjoy slight hills and elevation changes for a nice challenge as you take in stunning skyline views. Learn more.
  • Hermann Park – Treat yourself to a relaxing run in one of the city’s major urban green spaces at Hermann Park. The 1.5-mile loop trail takes runners on a scenic tour of the park, passing by the Miller Outdoor Theatre, McGovern Lake, the Sam Houston Statue and the Reflection Pool, with plenty of opportunities for a quick distraction, such as the jaw-dropping Japanese Garden and the Houston Zoo. Hermann Park can get very busy during peak hours, so runners are recommended to rise and shine for early runs. Learn more.

Running & Jogging Trails in Greater Houston

Cullinan Park offers a scenic trail through wildlife habitats in Sugar Land | Courtesy of Visit Sugar Land
  • Terry Hershey Park in Energy Corridor – Further west along Buffalo Bayou, the network of trails in Terry Hershey Park stretches from Beltway 8 to Highway 6 and the spacious George Bush Park. Along this 8.5-mile route, you’ll find various trails that offer scenic and peaceful runs that cut through a leafy natural environment. We recommend you get started on the cluster of lighted Cardinal and Blue Jay Trail Loops found on the northwest end of the park, as well as the Quail Trail that bridges Eldridge Parkway to the Beltway. Learn more.
  • Cullinan Park in Sugar Land – In this 750-acre preserve that teems with wildlife and native habitats, a handful of running and walking trails offer flat and casual paths with scenic views of the lake and through some wooded areas. A mix of paved and dirt paths, the 3.5-mile Three Sisters Trail will loop you around the park, but smaller trail offshoots can offer views of nearby Oyster Creek, too. Learn more.
  • Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve in Northwest Houston – Off Highway 249, this 80-acre preserve offers a paved, 1.8-mile running path that loops Marshall Lake and provides plenty of nature sightings with turtles, cranes, and even some water snakes that inhabit the area. Flat and not particularly challenging, the run route here makes for a great place to de-stress with some beautiful views. Learn more.
  • W.G. Jones State Forest in Conroe – Just north of the Woodlands, this multi-use state park offers immersive running trails among wooded areas of champion and sweetleaf trees. The 7.2-mile Middle Lake Trail offers flat, shaded paths that wind around one of the park’s featured bodies of water, and the shorter Sweetleaf Nature Trail takes joggers across bridges and branches of waterways in a beautiful beginner route. Learn more.

Other notable trails: 30 miles of trails along the bayou at the Brays Bayou Greenway; the hike and bike trails of the spacious George Bush Park; the gorgeous nature trails in the 7,000-acre forest of Spring Creek Greenway; paved trails along the Phase II area of Cullen Park; the shorter, paved lakeside trails of Meyer Park; 2.5 miles of trails along the Brazos River at Sugar Land Memorial Park; and easy trails in the 6-acre Mason Park.

Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve offers an easygoing casual trail through an area teeming with wildlife | Courtesy of Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve

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A longtime Houstonian, Justin Jerkins keeps an eye out for all sorts of happenings in H-Town, including breweries, sports, concerts, must-see destinations and much more while serving as Editor-in-Chief of 365 Things to Do in Houston.