Sunday, December 7, 2008

Noble Road Trail

I spent two peaceful hours riding the Noble Road Trail in George Bush Park this morning. I didn't mean to ride the trail, I was cycling by on a paved trail and saw the sign. I didn't see a soul the entire time and heard nothing except an occasional airplane flying overhead.

There isn't much information about the Noble Road Trail. It's not on the park map (.PDF file), which shows a stub of Noble Road after it cross over Barker Dam. In fact I couldn't find any information about the trail on the county web sites. So hopefully this post will be Googled by those curious about this sign:
The trail head is about a half mile north of where Barker Clodine Road is closed off (Google map).

Eagle Scout Dan Shamlian of Troop 939 created the only map of the trail I was able to find, but it is severely weathered. Any Scouts looking for a project idea? Here's one.

The park is 20 square miles (Google satellite), with the larger Addicks Reservoir on the north side of I-10. Both are islands of wilderness, surrounded now on all sides by development. Large wildlife in these reservoirs is trapped. Which can be bad, because these parks serve as massive flood control basins. The picture of the Noble Road Trail above is at least 2 miles from the dam, and you can see the water level after Ike. Which can cause problems: Where do the animals go during floods? They wind up in people's back yards that ring the parks.

There is a lot of wildlife which you don't see from the paved trails. I was running across deer every 10 minutes. I also saw a group of three large feral hogs that made me more than a bit nervous. I didn't want to stick around and take pictures. I read stories.

Deep into the trail I spotted what may be the only crystal-clear stream in the Houston area. The bayous and creeks are normally Yoohoo-colored.

If you have a mountain bike and you're looking for something new, go check it out. It's an ideal ride in the winter when conditions are dry. You do not want to ride this trail in the summer or after heavy rains.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, Lou. I've been skating on that paved trail several times, and I used to run my dogs in that park before they built Millie Bush Park. I don't recall seeing that sign for Noble Road Trail though. I'll have to air up the tires and check it out.

Anonymous said...

Actually, now that I've looked at the PDF and figured out that Noble Road is what is now Briar Forest, I'm pretty sure I've walked partway down the old Noble Road with the dogs, starting from the Briar Forest parking lot. The big pond on the Google map is where we used to swim (well, the dogs, not me).

Lou Minatti said...

Yep, the place you took your dogs to swim is at the other end of the trail.

Make sure you tell someone where you're going if you're riding alone. It didn't occur to me until I saw those feral hogs that if something happened it could be quite some time before someone came along. Not to be melodramatic about feral hogs... but in my middle age the Noble Trail would not be a good place to get injured or, dunno, have a heart attack. :-) It was a spectacular day, and I was the only person on the trail.

Let me know if you need a riding partner!

Anonymous said...

There's even a Bigfoot in the Addicks reservoir:

"a large, dark brown humanoid-shaped creature standing on two legs...perhaps seven feet in height, and much wider than a man at the shoulder area"

Bob said...

You were wise to avoid lingering around the feral hogs. They are tough and mean. I shot one in the shoulder last year with 12 gague buck shot from 20 years away and it just dusted it off a bit. Very scary creatures. Tasty when mixed with venison in sausage, though.

I go biking in this area every great now and then, usually starting from Westheimer Parkway. I think I'll see if I can haul my fat ass down there next weekend and check it out.

Anonymous said...

My parents & grandparents lived in the area where the Addicks Dam is. They were forced to move because of the plan to build the dam. Their name Willie Noble, my dad; and Wallie Noble, my grandfather. I am told that Noble road is the area of the land in which they lived. My parents are dead, so my sisters and I have a lot of questions about it. We have pictures and newspaper articles, and an article with my mother's picture along with 3 of my siblings talking about having to leave their home & farm to make room for the dam to be built. I wonder if there are any relatives around that also were forced to move.

Somegirl said...

Thanks for this. It really is hard to enjoy the outdoors in Houston, so every little bit helps!

Anonymous said...

i have been riding there for awhile. kind of glad not to many people know about it, its a great get awaay, and very close to my house. I have seen snakes, hogs, deer, and many birds. Its very quiet except for the shots from the shooting range, then when you come over the hill onto hwy 6 ,its like a different world,noisy and busy. I also take the paved trail from the belt way all the way to Katy [FRY RD]without crossing over a single street. Nice trail.