Walking Tour: Buffalo Bayou

  • Start Allen's Landing Park
  • End Kitchen at The Dunlavy
  • Length 3½ miles; three hours

To avoid the heat, do this walk in the morning. Start where Houston began at Allen's Landing Park on Buffalo Bayou. Stay at water level here and begin walking west on the south side of the muddy waters of Buffalo Bayou. Recent work has resulted in a curvaceous network of walking and biking paths along the bayou. Down here, the Houston skyline soars overhead while a vast tangle of elevated highways and bridges attest to the local love of the automobile.

After a half mile pause for a rest amid the fountains of Sesquicentennial Park. Now walk up to street level and follow Smith St southwest for three blocks until you get to an often-overlooked local landmark: Tranquility Park. Highly stylized, it is meant to evoke a sense of the moon’s surface through raised features and water. Look for the plaques recalling the mission of Apollo 11, which was controlled just down the road at NASA.

Exit the southwest corner of the park and walk one block northwest on Walker St where you can descend steps down to the Buffalo Bayou path.

Walk generally west along the slow-moving water for about a quarter-mile until you reach the Sabine St bridge. Cross north and stop off at the Water Works, a former utility building that’s the de facto headquarters of Buffalo Bayou Park and which offers refreshments, galleries, park information, bike rental and more.

Stay on the north side of the bayou and walk the curving paths west. Stop to smell the flowers at various meadows and botanical features. Pause to look back at the Houston skyline. After 1.5 miles, you’ll reach the lush Green Tree Nature Area, where you can spot dozens of bird species and appreciate the original vegetation of the area.

Cross back south on the Waugh Dr Bridge and turn west. After a short distance you’ll see the cool waters of the restored Lost Lake. Nearby you can get refreshments of all kinds at Kitchen at The Dunlavy.