In Houston, weekends are made for outdoor activities. Many residents love to enjoy the local bayous, whether it’s canoeing, boating, kayaking or strolling along the lush green banks. The waterways in Houston are environmental treasures that residents love to explore. The serenity of the floating along the bayous provide a stark contrast to the urban sprawl that occasionally peeks into the green canopy.
Local Paddling Trails
Texas has a “Paddling Trails” program that develops public inland and coastal waters for watery trails that weave throughout the state. Each of the 8 trails are mapped and clearly marked with signage. They are easily accessible for day trips and support a variety of settings for all levels of paddling experience.
The Houston area has over 26-miles of paddling trails, that begin at Highway 6, the outskirts of the city’s limits. The trails then flow downstream all the way into downtown’s Allen’s Landing. Houston canoeing trips can take from 1.5 to 4 hours to complete a segment of the paddling trails depending on the water levels and flow rates and it takes more than a day of paddling to navigate the entire trail.
Canoeing Buffalo Bayou
The areas most popular waterway is Buffalo Bayou. It’s a semi-natural stream with weathered banks that expose the beautiful geology of wind-sculpted sand, sandstone, and red Beaumont clay. Great egrets, herons, hawks, and other birds have commonly sighted hunting and drinking quick gulps from the waterway. The bayou and its tributaries provide an ideal habitat for cottontail rabbits, turtles, fishes, snakes, and few lonely alligators.
If you don’t have your own canoe, a variety of canoes and kayaks are available for rental along with additional paddling equipment and gear, from local companies that provide canoe rentals and guides in Houston.
They have several options. You can book a carry-out trip, where everything you need is packed on a trailer for you and all you have to do is hook to it and go. Or, if you’ve got your own stuff and are familiar with, equipment preparation, trip logistics, planning sessions, and outfitting they’ll help you plan a do-it-yourself canoeing adventure.
Monitor the water conditions, during Houston weekend canoeing trips. They are heavily influenced by the water releases from two reservoirs, Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Stormwater runoff, sewage treatment plants, and natural springs can also affect your trip. You should never attempt to navigate in high and turbulent water conditions. Always avoid log jams, known as “strainers”, which can be hazardous, it’s best to portage around them.