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Each month leading up to The Woodlands 50th Anniversary celebration, content is created to honor the past, present and future of our community. During June, nature, parks and open space will be highlighted.

By Annierose Donnelly

The Woodlands is not just a place where green spaces are talked about. It is a place where the green runs throughout the community. This pioneering master planned community is a trend setter, boasting an impressive 220 mile network of interconnected trails.

These well-maintained pathways weave through the eight residential villages, connecting the residents to local businesses, workplaces and amenities. One of the most unique and appealing aspects of living in The Woodlands, the expansive trail system allows residents to live within serene nature, a benefit not typical of other communities.

Howard Hughes director of planning and development Kelly Dietrich plays a pivotal role in the
development and expansion of the trail network and public spaces in The Woodlands.

“In my time working in The Woodlands, the pathway system has grown from 50 or so miles to over 220
miles, and continues to grow,” Dietrich notes. “The Woodlands was designed so residents can walk on a pathway to a park five to 10 minutes from where they live.

“Everything is very well connected, which was purposely done by the development company.”

The trail network in The Woodlands has come a long way in the last 50 years. The first pathways were built in open space reserves away from major roads, providing a peaceful and quiet space for everyone to enjoy.

As some longtime community residents might recall, the lively and walkable area around The Woodlands Waterway of today used to simply be a drainage channel back in the 1970s.

The Woodlands Waterway includes walkable trails along the scenic community amenity.

Some of the earliest sections of the trail network are still some of the most pleasant to explore, including the paths around Grogan’s Mill, the oldest of The Woodlands’ villages. Since those early days, the pathway network has continued to develop — and grow much larger. These trails stand out as green connectors in so many ways.

“The trail network connects the community to neighborhoods, churches and schools, as well as providing a main corridor for pedestrians and bikers,” Dietrich says.

This network of trails and paths provides a seamless link between the residential villages and the village centers and The Woodlands Town Center. You can use the trails to walk or bike home from the restaurants and bars on Market Street, or after a concert at the award-winning Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

The Scenic Beauty of The Trails

A number of trails in The Woodlands truly put you into the heart of nature. Here are some notable must-visit trails:

— The Spring Creek Nature Trail is a 14 mile trail following the creek, which passes through tranquil
wetlands, lush natural wooded areas, and boasts an abundance of wildlife. Stop to take in scenic views
as the trail crosses the creek at Gosling or Kuykendahl.

— Another picturesque section of the trails is the 4.6 mile circular loop around Lake Woodlands. This path leads you through some covered sections and charming neighborhoods, all while offering beautiful views of the water from several vantage points. See if you can catch a sunset over the lake.

— The George Mitchell Nature Preserve in Creekside Park brings 1,800 acres of gorgeous scenery to explore. Here, the trails wind around ancient trees and native plant life, making it one of the best places in The Woodlands for outdoor recreation. The George Mitchell Nature Preserve can be accessed at the Flintridge Drive trailhead, near The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park, or from the aerial adventure course known as Texas TreeVentures.

Miles of Trails in The Woodlands

Hidden Gems to Discover

The 220 mile trail network in The Woodlands has so much to explore, it could take you years to discover it all. Here are some hidden gems along the trails that you might not have experienced yet:

— The Woodlands is home to a couple of families of eagles. A bald eagles nest is located near The Woodlands United Methodist Church off Grogan’s Mill Road, and another nest at Hughes Landing.

— In the heart of The Woodlands Town Center along The Woodlands Waterway, a Koi Garden is designed for quiet contemplation and tranquility amongst the hustle and bustle. You can find it just off the trail at Waterway Court.

— The Millbend Loop is a tree-covered 3.3-mile trail that weaves through Millbend Linear Park in the Village of Grogan’s Mill. Popular with joggers, it has mile markers and offers plenty of shade during the hot summer months.

As The Woodlands grows and expands, so does the trail network. With plans in place to extend
pathways to the north of the Kuykendahl Road, and along SH 242, more compelling spots to discover along The Woodlands’ trails are coming.

Looking for more trail knowledge? Check out the Parks and Pathways GIS Map and The Woodlands Township Pathways Map.


Many thanks to The Woodlands 50th Anniversary Sponsors:

FOUNDING – Howard Hughes

PRODUCER – The Woodlands Township

LEGACY – Woodforest National Bank

HERITAGE – Waste Connections Inc.

GOLD – Entergy Texas, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

SILVER – SVN/JBeard Real Estate, The John Cooper School