Top 11 hiking spots in and around Houston

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Top 11 hiking spots in and around Houston (KTRK)

Sometimes you've got to escape the city.

Each year on November 17, Americans celebrate National Take a Hike Day, an opportunity to get out and enjoy nature and stretch your legs a bit.

Hiking is credited as a great way to get in some exercise. You can even burn between 400-550 calories per hour.

But in the concrete jungles of the Greater Houston area, where exactly can one go for a hike?

We've found 11 hot spots you can hit for your own journey through the area's greener side, listed alphabetically.

1. Armand Bayou Martyn and Karankawa Trails
With over five miles of hiking trails through a variety of ecosystems, you can have a new adventure as you explore the prairie, forest and bayou. You might even want to stop to admire to gorgeous prairie wildflowers while you're out there!

2. Bay Area Park
Located southeast of downtown Houston, Bay Area Park offers wooded flagstone trails, a gazebo near an Oasis garden, plus gorgeous views of Armand Bayou.

3. Brazos Bend State Park
The 4,897-acre state park in Needville is only a short drive southwest of Houston, and gives you the best of both the water and wooden worlds. Adjacent to both 40 Acre Lake and Elm Lake, you can find a 15.8-mile loop trail, and you can bring your dog as long as you use a leash.

4. Buffalo Bayou Trail
Closer to home, you can find an incredible 20-mile system of hike and bike trails at Buffalo Bayou Trail. Yes, the trail is paved, but there is no question this is one of the greenest and most gorgeous views of our beloved city.

5. Challenger Seven Memorial Park
Named for the seven NASA astronauts who lost their lives in the 1986 Challenger explosion, you can feel like you're in another world on its 326 green acres. Check out the nature trails for one of the best hiking experiences in the southeast side of town.

6. Frankie Carter Randolph Park
This Friendswood-area park offers spectacular nature trails, plus access to tennis courts and pavilions, too! Definitely worth checking out if you're wanting to take a walk on the green side.

7. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
In addition to boasting some great special events, there are nine (yes, nine!) incredible trails you can take for self-guided tours. Check out the Palmetto multi-sensory trail for sightseeing and the two-mile Outer Loop trail which rivals that of Memorial Park.

8. Lake Houston Wilderness Park
The expansive 4,786-acre Lake Wilderness Park has a picturesque 12 miles that'll let you take a walk in nature. You'll also find part of the trail takes you down next to Peach Creek, where you can get excellent views of wildlife.

9. Lake Livingston State Park
Check out the Pineywood Natural Trail and Livingston Trail for a nice hike through waterways and a butterfly garden, too! The gorgeous ponds give way to some possible wildlife sightings.

10. Memorial Park
This location was named one of ABC13 staff's most favorite spots for a hike inside the loop. Their 2.5-mile 'Purple Trail' will have you crossing creeks as your make your way through a leafy forest right in the middle of Houston.

11. Terry Hershey Park
The West Houston park follows Buffalo Bayou and gives way to the 5-mile Quail Trail, where you'll find multiple access points with parking and water fountains to make the adventure easy for nearby commuters after work.
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