Enjoy exploring and discovering all the natural beauty Buffalo Bayou has to offer by downloading the Buffalo Bayou Guide below. Use the map to guide you as you walk, run or cycle along the waterway and visit the many parks and historic areas.

Buffalo Bayou Guide

Hours & Location

Buffalo Bayou Park

Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street, between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive

Monday – Sunday, lighted areas: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm; other areas: dawn to dusk

Lost Lake Visitor Center

3422 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX 77019

Thursday – Monday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Restroom Hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

The Kitchen at The Dunlavy

3422 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX 77019

Monday – Sunday, 7:00 am – 2:00 pm

Johnny Steele Dog Park

2929 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX 77019

Monday – Sunday, 7:00 am – 8:00 pm

Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area

Monday – Sunday, 7:00 am – 8:00 pm

Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark

103 Sabine Street, Houston, TX 77007

Monday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Wortham Insurance Visitor Center at The Water Works

105 Sabine Street, Houston, TX 77007

Thursday – Monday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Restroom Hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

105 Sabine Street, Houston, TX 77007

Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Click here for a complete tour schedule.

Rules & Regulations

  • Glass containers are prohibited.
  • Alcohol consumption is prohibited.
  • Littering is prohibited; use trash receptacles.
  • Scooters, skateboards, rollerblading & skating are prohibited.
  • Motorized vehicles prohibited off roadways & beyond parking areas.
  • Improperly parked vehicles will be towed.
  • Two hour parking for patrons only.
  • Vending or sales prohibited without permit.
  • Hunting or use of firearms is prohibited.
  • No smoking in city parks.
  • Dogs are to remain on leash at all times. (Dog Park Rules & Regulations)
  • Pet owners required to pick up after pets. (Ord. 2003-1275, Sec. 6-24)
  • Plants & animals are protected – do not remove or disturb.
  • Control noise levels – please respect others.
  • Destroying public property is prohibited. (Title 19, Chapt. 191 of the Government Code of Texas)
  • No swimming.

Questions or concerns – Dial 311
Emergencies – Dial 911

Parking

There are public parking areas available at Lost Lake, Eleanor Tinsley Park and The Water Works, as well as along Allen Parkway, Memorial Drive, and city streets surrounding Buffalo Bayou Park. When parking along city streets, please pay close attention to signage, be neighborly and use the pedestrian bridges to safely access the park. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

 

Restricted & Temporary Parking Options:

  • City of Houston Lot H – Over 400 spaces available for public parking on weekends and after 6 pm on weekdays. Buffalo Bayou Park trails can be accessed from Sabine Promenade.
  • American General Campus Surface Lot – The American General Campus is temporarily offering free weekend parking to park visitors. To access this parking on Saturdays and Sundays, proceed east on the Allen Parkway (inbound) feeder from Waugh. Turn right into entrance 4, then turn left to enter the surface lot. Once parked, please use paved paths and sidewalks to proceed to the crosswalk at Studemont to safely cross Allen Parkway to Buffalo Bayou Park. All garage and parallel parking within the American General Campus is private parking and reserved for office tenants only.

Bike & Boat Rentals

Visitors can rent bicycles, kayaks and canoes from Buffalo Bayou Park, weather permitting. Reservations can be made in-person or online. Please visit the concessionaires’ respective websites for more information about rentals and hours of operation.

The Water Works

The Water Works at Sabine Street is a major destination and park entry point made possible by reclaiming a four-acre abandoned City of Houston water system site. Atop a partially buried water reservoir is The Brown Foundation Lawn, a grassy plateau framed by trees with a stunning view of the downtown skyline. With the Hobby Family Pavilion, this elevated site is popular for performances and events. The Wortham Insurance Visitor Center and Terrace houses restrooms and a bike rental facility, while an entry court hosts food trucks on weekends (check out the line-up on our Facebook!)

Audio Tour:

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Cistern

The Cistern was one of the City of Houston’s first underground drinking-water reservoirs. Built in 1926, it provided decades of service until it was decommissioned. The 87,500-square-foot expanse includes 25-foot tall concrete columns set row upon row, hovering over two inches of water on the reservoir’s floor. Recognizing the significance of the highly unusual space, BBP repurposed the Cistern into a magnificent public space. In addition to tours highlighting the history and architecture of this unique industrial site, the Cistern houses an ambitious program of changing art installations. Opening December 10th, Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston co-present Rain: Madgalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern featuring 2iPM009—an abstract video piece by Venezuelan artist Madgalena Fernández. Click here for a complete tour schedule.

Watch a 3-D fly through of the Cistern captured by SmartGeometrics.

Audio Tour:

All Audio Tours

Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark

The Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark is a 30,000-square-foot in-ground facility overlooking Buffalo Bayou. View skaters of all levels work on their kickflip, ollie, fakie big spin or simply learn to stay balanced! The park is free and open to the public. Helmets are required.

Skatepark Hours and Info

Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion

Near The Water Works and the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion is one of the park’s most popular destinations. Designed to inspire a love of nature within children, features of the play area include: a boulder rock scramble, a rolling lawn, a stream and waterfall, climbing logs and stones, and a 33-foot slide. The most compelling component is a tri-level tree house/boat deck with climbing net.

Parents have easy access to parking, restrooms, park staff and the option of renting the play area’s picnic pavilion for special events and birthday parties.

Audio Tour:

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Eleanor Tinsley Park

Named in honor of the late City Councilmember and civic activist, Eleanor Tinsley, this park is one of Houston’s most popular outdoor spaces for recreation and relaxation. Recent improvements include the signature lawn named the Bud Light Amphitheater, the open-air Nau Family Pavilion, and a trail providing a direct connection to Sabine Promenade. Other points of interest are: sand volleyball court, Eleanor Tinsley Garden and Jane Gregory Garden.

Audio Tour:

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Tapley Tributary

Late Houston landscape architect Charles Tapley designed this inspirational site in the late 1970s to feature a bayou tributary, riparian plantings, granite steps and seating areas. Recent improvements include a wetland, native Texas prairie and a footbridge. Besides being a place to picnic and to view the downtown skyline, Tapley and other nearby tributaries have become wonderful outdoor learning centers.

Houston Police Officers’ Memorial

Late Texas artist Jesús Bautista Moroles’ Houston Police Officers’ Memorial commemorates the 113 Houston Police Department officers whose lives were lost in the line of duty. Shaped like a pyramid, the sculpture symbolizes a royal tomb. The Police Officers’ Memorial and surrounding grounds are guarded 24 hours a day. Each year, this is the site of an annual procession and wreath-laying ceremony.

Audio Tour:

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Johnny Steele Dog Park

One of Buffalo Bayou Park’s most active destinations is the Johnny Steele Dog Park, a two-acre site located near Allen Parkway and Montrose Boulevard. Features include large and small dog ponds, shade structures, water play features, dog washing areas, benches, and drinking fountains complete with spigots for dogs.

Limited parking for the dog park is available along the frontage road of Allen Parkway.

Audio Tour:

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  • Dog Park Regulations

    Hours:      7:00 am to 8:00 pm
                       The dog park may be closed during bad weather or for maintenance.

    • Owners are liable for damage or injury inflicted by their dog(s). This means owners are legally and financially responsible for their dog’s behavior. Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the City of Houston have no liability or responsibility for injuries in the dog park.
    • Limit of two dogs per person per visit and one hour for each dog.
    • Dogs taller than 15 inches may not use the small dog area.
    • Dogs must be properly licensed and vaccinated with City of Houston registration and rabies tags displayed on each dog’s collar.
    • Dogs must be leashed before entering and upon leaving the dog park and must be leashed in the transition area.  Owners must have a visible leash for each dog at all times.
    • Owners must have disposable pet waste materials visible at all times and must pick up their dog’s fecal matter and dispose of it in a trash receptacle.
    • Owners must have verbal and sight control of their dog(s) at all times and prevent aggressive behavior, fighting, biting and aggressive barking. Never leave your dog(s) unattended.
    • Dogs with a known history of dangerous behavior are prohibited. Immediately leash your dog and leave the park if your dog(s) behaves aggressively.
    • No puppies under four months of age are allowed in the dog park.
    • No female dogs in heat are allowed in the dog park.
    • No children age 12 or under are allowed in the dog park. Children ages 13 through 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Permitted children must be supervised by the adult and behave appropriately. No running, shouting, chasing dogs or petting other people’s dogs without their permission.
    • No dog or people food are allowed in the dog park.
    • No smoking in the dog park or elsewhere in the park.
    • Violation of City Code results in fines and no further use of the dog park.

    For emergencies – Dial 911

    Questions or concerns – Dial 311

    Enjoy the park!

Wortham Foundation Grove

Affectionately known as the “Dandelion,” the Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain’s brass starburst of pipes sprays joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers offering a cool respite from the Houston heat. The setting has been enhanced with a semi-circular grove of trees shading benches, site lighting, and open-air shelters surrounded by lush native perennial gardens.

Lost Lake

Lost Lake is on the site of a former pond that was lost in the 1970s when its dam across a natural ravine broke. The pond was restored and is situated near a visitor center housing restrooms; paddle craft rentals; The Dunlavy, a private event space; and The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, a grab-and-go food counter offering breakfast and lunch, 7:00 am to 2:00 pm daily.

Audio Tour:

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Hike and Bike Trails

The Sandy Reed Memorial Trail, the ten-foot wide concrete trail located on both sides of the bayou, accommodates cyclists, walkers and joggers. The five-foot wide asphalt Kinder Footpath, located along the bayou’s banks, is designed to accommodate park visitors who want to enjoy a walk or jog.

Download: Buffalo Bayou Trail Guide

  • Safety Tips

    Walkers/runners should:

    • Always keep to the right on trails to avoid faster moving traffic.
    • Do your best to anticipate the actions of other users and know the limits of your own abilities.
    • Keep pets on a short leash.

    Bikers should:

    • Announce “passing on left” when trying to get around someone in front of you.
    • Look ahead and behind you before turning around on the trail.
    • Pull over to the right or completely off the trail when stopping for any reason.
    • ALWAYS wear a helmet.
    • Watch speeds on bicycles and keep at least a three-foot distance from  pedestrians at all times.

    Everyone:

    • Use of headphones/ear buds is discouraged, but if you do, consider removing the device from one side so you are aware of the sounds around you.
    • Watch children carefully – don’t allow young children on trails without supervision.
    • When in a group, stay in a single file line.
    • Obey all traffic signals when crossing major intersections.  Never cross at an area without a designated pedestrian traffic signal.
    • Look both ways before crossing or merging with another trail.

Art in Buffalo Bayou Park

Audio Tour:

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  • It Wasn’t a Dream, It was a Flood

    John Runnels, 2014

    Serving as a major entry point to the bayou at Crosby Outfall, this 20-foot stainless steel canoe sculpture by John Runnels is supported by two stainless steel trees. It resembles 10 other canoe sculptures located at various eastward bayou access points.

  • Open Channel Flow

    Matthew Geller, 2009

    Open Channel Flow, a sculpture by New York-based artist Matthew Geller, features a public outdoor shower activated by a hand pump. The nearby Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark ensures that a steady flow of skaters and passersby will indulge in a refreshing spritz on Houston’s infamously humid afternoons.

  • Passage Inachevé

    Linnea Glatt and Francis Thompson, 1990

    This 28’ x 28’ art piece is constructed of galvanized steel set in a concrete slab. It takes the form of a house but is completely open to the elements and viewing from all sides. The seating and visual images highlight issues of human rights, freedom of expression, and historic and contemporary concerns.

  • Spindle

    Henry Moore, 1979

    Located on a prominent knoll in Eleanor Tinsley Park is British sculptor Henry Moore’s Spindle piece. The cast bronze abstract sculpture was originally part of the artist’s Spindle series placed in London’s Hyde Park.

  • Tolerance

    Jaume Plensa, 2011

    At the base of the Rosemont Bridge on Allen Parkway and Montrose are Plensa’s Tolerance sculptures. The human figures representing the world’s seven continents are composed of stainless steel alphabet letters from many languages. Resting on large boulders, the figures glow at night creating a constellation of beacons.

  • Monumental Moments

    Anthony Thompson Schumate, 2015

    “Monumental Moments” is a series of 6 four-foot-tall sculptures crafted from 4” high density polyethylene, a material used in marine dock bumpers. The single word thoughts – Explore, Pause, Reflect, Listen, Emerge, and Observe – are placed at ground-level in unexpected areas along the bayou-side asphalt Kinder Footpaths.

  • Down Periscope

    Donald Lipski, 2015

    Through the Down Periscope, park visitors can peer into the 87,500-square Cistern, a former City of Houston drinking water reservoir renovated by BBP. Down Periscope is housed in a jasmine-covered stainless steel arbor atop The Brown Foundation Lawn at The Water Works. Down Periscope can also be accessed online from anywhere in the world at downperiscopehouston.com.

Pedestrian Bridges

Pedestrian bridges have been constructed throughout the park, providing improved safety and important connectivity to nearby neighborhoods and park amenities.

  • Shepherd Bridge

    A project of Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Houston, this pedestrian connection was installed below the existing Shepherd Drive Bridge.

  • Rosemont Bridge

    You can cross this unique pedestrian bridge at two levels. Be sure to pause and enjoy the dramatic view of the bayou and downtown skyline. The bridge provides a valuable pedestrian connection to trails and neighborhoods to the north at Studemont Street, as well as to Spotts and Cleveland Parks to the west.

  • Jackson Hill Bridge

    Soaring a dramatic 40 feet above the bayou, this 345-foot-long pedestrian bridge near Jackson Hill Street connects with the existing bridge over Memorial Drive, providing access to Allen Parkway.

  • Carruth Bridge

    The Carruth Bridge allows park users to access the Houston Police Officers’ Memorial from other areas of the park.

“Buffalo Bayou Revealed” Audio Tour

The Buffalo Bayou Revealed audio tour is presented by Houston Public Media. This audio experience provides you with interesting facts about areas along Buffalo Bayou Park.

Listen below, or download the tour as a .zip file.

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