explore the arboretum
Five miles of trails and walkways wind through Houston Arboretum & Nature Center’s 155-acre nature sanctuary. The trail system transverses several habitats and showcases native grasses, trees, and wildflowers. These unique ecosystems change with the seasons, so there is always something new to see. Discover the tranquility nature has to offer as you explore the trails.
learn more about our trails
Enter the Buttonbush Trail from the 610 Parking Loop to start your nature journey. Explore Arrowood Pond, stroll through a section of woodland habitat, and walk along the boardwalk at the wetlands. Stop by the Wetland Field Station to discover more about this distinctive habitat.
This connector trail is located behind the Nature Playscape and gives quick access to the Inner Loop. Near the intersection of the Willow Oak Trail is a large Post Oak tree that fell many years ago during a heavy rain event. Look for the large Eastern Red Cedar tree growing where the Inner Loop meets the Blackberry Trail, and see if you can spot birds in the nearby snags.
Veer off the Outer Loop and ramble along the sloped path towards the Couch Birding Platform. Sweetgum and Sycamore trees grow tall in the damp soil found in this riparian habitat. From the platform you can see Buffalo Bayou, the southern-most boundary of the Arboretum.
Meander along the winding Donor Boardwalk while you explore the South Woodway Pond. The wooden planks of the boardwalk are etched with the messages of some of our generous supporters who helped fund the completion of our recent Master Plan, including the restoration of the nearby savanna.
Immerse yourself in our woodland habitat as you explore the heart of the Arboretum. This shady trail intersects with several other trails if you feel like venturing further out, or stay on the trail to circle back to your starting point.
Enjoy a peaceful trek along the Muscadine Trail as you move between the Inner and Outer Loops. Pine trees and hardwood trees reach up towards the sky creating a canopy to walk under. The fallen trees along the trails are used as shelter for insects and small woodland animals, and the snags (dead standing trees) provide a lookout point for hungry birds of prey.
As you travel through the prairie, take a minute to observe the wildflowers and grasses growing here. The prairie changes colors throughout the seasons, from bright purple blazing stars in the summer to yellow goldenrod and sunflowers in the fall.
The longest of the Arboretum’s trails, this mostly gravel path will take you on a tour around the savanna, past the prairie, and through the woodland habitat that dominates most of the Arboretum. Stop by the Woodland and Savanna Field Stations to learn more about our restoration efforts of these important ecosystems.
Stroll through the restored savanna to see a healthy habitat buzzing with activity. Grasses, wildflowers, and snags (dead standing trees) provide the perfect shelter for insects, reptiles, and migratory birds.
The Ravine Trail boasts the most elevation change at the Arboretum and is a summertime favorite among visitors thanks to the cooler temperatures created by the riparian habitat. A part of the Buffalo Bayou watershed, the ravine was formed naturally by flowing water and plays an important role in flood control for the Arboretum. Wildlife use the ravine area as a natural corridor allowing them to move safely from one area to the next.
As you move between the Inner and Outer Loop, stop for a minute at the Meadow Deck to check out the Meadow Pond. See if you can spot turtles or fish in the water, survey the sky above the prairie for birds and flying insects, and listen for sounds of wildlife rustling in the grasses.
Along this accessible trail is a thriving savanna habitat full of beautiful blooms and tall grasses. Look for native wildflowers like tropical sage, coreopsis, and beebalm growing here.
This short trail follows the edge between two different habitats. Notice the wide-open spaces of the savanna on one side and the dense wooded habitat on the other.