TrailsClick the following links for a self guided tour checklist and summary.
Palmetto Multi-sensory Trail: Dedicated in June 2011, this new 1/3 mile loop is specifically designed for visually impaired individuals. A project of Leadership Houston Class 29, this trail offers many interpretative stops that educate visitors about the natural world here at the Arboretum. We encourage sighted visitors, school groups, and families to use the Palmetto Multi-Sensory Trail to educate young and old about nature, the environment, visual impairment and overcoming physical challenges using the other senses.
Carol Tatkon Sensory Garden: Located on the north side of the Nature Center, the Carol Tatkon Sensory Garden (opened in 2003) is a delight to all the senses. Although most of us rely primarily on our sight to explore the world around us, take time to touch and smell as you explore this small, fragrant garden. Stay awhile or relax on a bench and listen to the sounds around you. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a lizard basking in the sun on the stone wall, or a hummingbird feeding on the flowers.
Alice Brown Loop / Ravine Overlook: Deck Ideal for families with strollers or visitors in wheelchairs, the Alice Brown Loop is an improved trail that is easily accessible to all. Beginning behind the Nature Center, this short loop parallels the driveway and leads to a small pond. Along the way, be sure to stop at the Ravine Overlook Deck where you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the forest from the canopy above to a stream below. This deck can be reserved for weddings and other gatherings and is easily accessible from the driveway. For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
R.A. Vines Trail: Experience a real East Texas swamp right here in the heart of Houston along the R.A. Vines Trail! Located just a short distance from the Nature Center Building in the middle of our urban forest, this shallow wetland is home to a fascinating array of aquatic insects, reptiles, fish and tadpoles. Look carefully and you might notice that herons and raccoons have left their muddy tracks on the boardwalk as evidence of their night-time hunting expeditions! The R.A. Vines Trail crosses a ravine and winds its way through some of the most interesting terrain in the Houston area. Don’t miss it!
Outer Loop: A good choice for distance hikers who wish to avoid the hectic jogging trails of Memorial Park, the Outer Loop is a two mile trail which encircles the Houston Arboretum. Come and walk early in the morning to see many kinds of birds, urban mammals and insects, or bring a friend and enjoy a short break from Houston’s hectic city streets. This wide trail provides plenty of edge habitat which is attractive to birds and other wildlife. The southern portion of the Outer Loop has a wonderful remote feel, and is a perfect place to pause and reflect about nature.
Coggie Pearson Trail: Walk along the Coggie Pearson Trail and be transported to a part of Houston rarely experienced elsewhere. Beginning along the Alice Brown Loop, this scenic trail descends a steep ravine and follows alongside a seasonal creek more typical of East Texas. Bordered by some of the largest sycamore trees in Harris County, the Coggie Pearson trail has been revegetated with native Texas plants with the help of our many dedicated volunteers. Along the way, notice how run-off from heavy rains has carved into the surrounding landscape to give a fascinating glimpse into our local geology.
Meadow, Pond & Observation Decks: If you like to watch wildlife, head out to the meadow along the eastern edge of the Arboretum. Here, at the transition between East Texas Pineywoods and the Gulf Coast Prairie, little bluestem and other native grasses provide food and shelter for all kinds of small mammals and grassland songbirds. A one acre pond lies in this meadow and provides a year-round sanctuary for dragonflies, fish and turtles. Listen for the "jug-o-rum" calls of bullfrogs from the observation deck, and look for snakes swimming in the water in search of prey.
Charlotte Couch Birding Platform: The Charlotte Couch Birding Platform overlooks Buffalo Bayou and is located a short 20 minute hike south of the building. You’ll see the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center from an entirely different perspective from this elevated platform. This secluded spot overlooking mature riparian habitat is a great place to see birds and other wild creatures. Towering Sycamores, Oaks, and Pines suggest a time when the bayou was wild and untamed.