George Bush Park

Trail
11.36 Miles
N/A
N/A
1point5stars (1.50)2
1point5stars (1.50)
1star (1.25)
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
16756 Westheimer Parkway
Houston
Harris
More Info
Photos
Blue Heron
You'll often see blue and white herons and egrets along the water near the Buffalo Bayou Dam. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Hike The Trail Or Service Road
This shot of the seemingly neverending trail was taken on the north side of the Barker Dam. You can hike the gravel service road (shown here) or the paved hike/bike path below (off to the left). (Photo by Lone_Star)
Another View Of The Barker Dam Service Road
This shot was taken on the northeast side of the dam as it bends south. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Buffalo Bayou Dam
This is a view of the dam taken from the top of the bank along Barker Reservoir. The trail under the bridge in the distance will take you to Terry Hershey Park. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Old Wooden Bridge
You won't see this old wooden bridge along the trail. It is located on the flood control channel close to and just west of the newer bridge (T-103). (Photo by Lone_Star)
Barker Dam Service Road
This gravel trail goes along the dam bordering the Barker Reservoir. There are distance markers every 1/4 mile. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Model Airplane Fields
This Houstonian is enjoying the day flying his radio controlled helicopter at the Dick Scobee Model Airplane Fields. (Photo by Lone_Star)
End Of The Trail At Highland Knolls
This is the end of the hike/bike trail at S. Fry Road. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Nice Birdwatching Spot
A view of an egret in the flood control channel that people like to walk along. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Buffalo Bayou
A view of the Buffalo Bayou and the adjoining Flood Control Channel that branches off to the right. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Long Wooden Bridge Over Buffalo Bayou
This is a view of the long, beautiful, wooden bridge that spans Buffalo Bayou along the George Bush Hike/Bike Trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Texas Railroad
This sign explains a train used to run through the Barker Reservoir back in the late 1800's. (Photo by Lone_Star)

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Log Entries
Fitness Hike
By Lone_Star on 6/10/2015
Rating: 1star Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: halfstar
Distance: 11.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 32 minutes

Decided to do some distance training with my girlfriend.  We walked along much of the Barker Reservoir bank.  Not very scenic, but a good place to get some distance in.  Some deer came out at dusk, which was nice.

Lots Of Hike/Bike Trails
By Lone_Star on 2/17/2013
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 19.80 Miles Duration: 6 hours

George Bush Park is a large park in West Houston that encompasses Barker Reservoir and many amenities including hike/bike trails, equestrian fields, sports fields, play areas, picnic areas, a rifle range, fishing spots, a dog park, a model airplane field for radio controlled aircraft enthusiasts, and more.

This is my second visit to George Bush Park.  My first visit was unplanned as I unknowingly walked into the park when I was exploring Terry Hershey Park on my first visit about a week ago.  You can read that log entry here.  Terry Hershey is just to the east of and adjoins with George Bush Park.

My goal on this trip was to hike inside the reservoir and to explore the other hike/bike trails I did not walk during my previous visit.

Before I start my log, let me state the obvious.  This is a low lying flood reservoir and it has wetland areas as well as Buffalo Bayou running through it.  I would not recommend doing this hike after it has rained or during a particularly rainy season unless you are prepared to get muddy.  Ideally, do this hike several days after the last rainfall so the ground has a chance to dry up.

I parked in a small lot off Highway 6 near Briar Forest Drive.  I walked up over Barker Dam and took the Noble Road Trail down into the reservoir heading west.  The trail is paved for a couple of hundred yards, but then turns into a wide grassy dirt trail.  There is a large unnamed scenic pond on your left with benches on the shoreline to relax on and later there is another smaller unnamed pond on your right that is also scenic.

The Noble Trail goes west a couple of miles and then turns south in the center of the reservoir.  Along the way, there are a few unimproved trails and cleared areas you can trek if you want, but be advised that there may be marshy and swampy areas further down the trail that are impassable.  Googlemaps will show these lesser unnamed trails, but if you view the satellite imagery you'll see some areas the trails runs across Buffalo Bayou and continues on the other side.  Problem is there are no bridges so you can't cross unless you want to get wet.  I wouldn't recommend it for the average day hiker.

After the Noble Road Trail turns south, it goes for another mile or so before it heads west and ends at the George Bush Hike/Bike Trail that runs north/south (from Barker-Clodine Road).  The hike/bike trail is a long straightaway at this section, so cyclists let out all the stops and travel at high speeds.  I recommend you walk on the dirt a few feet off the paved bike trail so you don't have to dodge cyclists.  You will pass some equestrian fields until you reach a fork.  If you go left, you will take S. Barker Cypress Road towards Westheimer Parkway.  If you go right (like I did), you will continue along the hike/bike trail in a westernly direction for several miles.  You will cross a nice, long wooden bridge that spans Buffalo Bayou and continues west until you reach another fork.  If you go left (south), you will cross a short bridge (T-103 bridge) and head towards the Fun Fair Positive Soccer Complex.  If you go right (like I did), you will continue along the hike/bike trail as it turns north/northeast towards the back of a nice, expensive subdivision.  There the hike/bike trail turns northwest and goes all the way out to Fry Road where it ends.

At this point, most people turn around, but I hate to backtrack so I left the park and walked south on Fry Road until I reached flood control channel T-103 just north of Westheimer Parkway.  There I headed east back into the park until I reached the T-103 bridge and the trail heading towards the Fun Fair Positive Soccer Complex.  I then walked east along Westheimer Parkway for several miles until I reached the Dick Scobee Model Airplane Fields.  I took a short detour there to watch people fly their radio controlled airplanes and helicopters.  I then got back on Westheimer Parkway and continued east until I reached S. Barker Cypress Road, turned right (south) and walked past Pavilion #3 and the scenic pond adjacent to it until I reached the Barker Dam.  I then turned left and hiked along the long gravel service road on top of the dam for several miles all the way back to where I started my hike.

In summary, George Bush Park has something for just about everybody.  It is popular amongst cyclists, joggers, and hikers.  There are parts where there is some solitude and other areas where there is none.  Good spot for birdwatchers.  I saw a few white herons and several egrets.  Printed trail maps are not available and signage is poor.  Display maps are positioned at various points within the park, but are only found along the paved asphalt trails at key intersection points.  If you are going to hike into the reservoir, it would be wise to either take a GPS (if you have one) or to spend some time prior to your hike planning your route using Googlemaps using satellite imagery.  It's a HUGE park, so do not attempt the longer remote trails if you are elderly or not in good medical condition.