The treasures of this bayou are hidden and tucked away at the end of its watershed. Three beautiful oxbows of the original bayou were left alone when a new channel was cut through the Glenbrook Park and Golf Course. The new main channel has grown semi-wild and has many trees on it as well. The wildness of this lower section of Sims Bayou and its tributaries are completely unexpected. Milby Park, Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Glenbrook Park and Reveille Park all offer recreational opportunities and water access. Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center can be used as a base for exploration of any areas of lower Sims Bayou if a shuttle can not be used. Other parks exist upstream of Reveille Park but do not have adequate parking or access down to the water. These parks are Law Park, Sims Bayou Park and Townwood Park.
Segment 1: Reveille Park to Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center (see below for description)
Segment 2: Glenbrook Park to/from Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center (see below for description)
Segment 3: Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center to Milby Park (see below for description)
Segment 1: Reveille Park to Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center
KeyMap Locations: 535S, 535T, 535U, 535Q, 535L
Length: 2 miles
Reveille Park is a charming park upstream of I-45. It has a number of large trees left over from the woods that once blanketed the bayou. The parking is not close to the bayou, so park in about the middle of the park for the shortest walk to the water. The lower bank of the bayou is actually open cell concrete that has mostly filled in with soil and vegetation. One spot where a storm sewer outlet leads to the bayou can double for an easy launching site. This part of Sims Bayou has a good diversity of wildflowers so make sure you look around.
See Trip 1 for information on Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center. Since this is a short trip, take some time and just let the slight current take you downstream. This is a big stream, second in size only to the Houston Ship Channel. Many large trees still exist in the upland areas of the bayou and several trees were planted at lower areas closer to the water. I-45 will come into view over the bayou and behind it the Glenbrook Golf Course.
The golf course has preserved many trees and is a very scenic area that blends wild with manicured. The first channel that will come up on your left is one of the living oxbows. This part of Sims Bayou is very beautiful and reminds us that all of Houston was more like this a few decades ago. Follow this wild part of the bayou for a short while and the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center boat dock will be on your left. If the nature center is closed than you can use the earthen areas at Charlton Park to take out.
Segment 2: Glenbrook Park to/from Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center
KeyMap Locations: 536P, 536Q, 536L, 536M, 536R
Length: 2 miles
Charlton Park is off of Park Place Blvd. and is a City of Houston Park. Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center is a non-profit organization right next door to Charlton Park. The Nature Center has a great boat dock but is only open till 1:00 p.m. on weekdays. They can be contacted by phone 713-643-5827, address 3997 River Dr., Houston TX. 77017. Charlton Park has a gate to the bayou section and at least two good places to use, but be careful of the poison ivy here.
Glenbrook Park is also a City of Houston park and is off of N. Bayou Dr. next to the Glenbrook Golf Course. It offers easy parking and pretty good water access. After launching from either Charlton Park or the nature center if you head to your left this will take you through the rest of the oxbow. For most of the distance around to the new main channel the bayou is fairly wooded. Stay on the lookout for stray golf balls coming from the Glenbrook Golf Course. Once you've reached the new main channel of Sims Bayou you will have two choices. With the short version you go to the right about two hundred yards or so and take the channel on your left. This is the mouth of another of the three oxbows of Sims Bayou. These oxbows are three pieces of the original channel of Sims Bayou. The rest of the bayou has been extensively modified by flood control projects. The first trail you see will take you right up into Glenbrook Park.
With the long version go the left and head downstream. Head under Old Galveston Rd. and continue until you reach a point where you must go right or left. Go to the right and into the Sims Island oxbow. Come around the northeastern peninsula of the island and the mouth of Berry Creek reveals itself. Paddle up it if you have the time, as parts of Berry Creek are wild as well. Continue through this very beautiful section of wooded bayou that borders Caesar Chavez high school. Pass under Old Galveston Rd. again, this time heading the opposite direction. Paddle close to the new main channel and take out at the trail leading up into Glenbrook Park.
Segment 3: Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center to Milby Park
KeyMap Locations: 535P, 535Q, 535L, 535G
Length: 3 miles
See Trip 2 for information about Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center. Milby Park is a City of Houston Park and is reached by taking Central Street off of Old Galveston Rd. Use the parking lot on the north side of the park closest to Hwy. 225. The bank of the bayou is a short walk away and a fairly clear area offers easy access to or from the water.
Put in at Charlton Park / Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center off of Park Place Blvd. at River Drive. You can go either direction. If you go to the left, you will pass through the rest of the oxbow and come around to the new main channel. If you go to the right you will come out of the oxbow sooner and hit the new main channel. In either case take the new main channel to the left and head downstream. Head under Old Galveston Rd. and continue until you will have to go one of three different ways. Going to your right will take you into the Sims Island oxbow. Go left either through the Park Place Oxbow or stay on the new main channel. The Park Place oxbow is very wild and leads back out to the main channel.
On your way to Milby Park you should also paddle up the mouth of Pine Gully. It is wooded up to Old Galveston Rd. and is worth the extra effort. Sims Bayou is tree lined all the way to Milby Park and is big enough for a cruise ship to travel up. Continue downstream and the park will be on the left. You will see Hwy. 225 span Sims Bayou at the end of Milby Park. An area right before the large grove of trees is your take out. Walk up through the field to the parking lot to your shuttle. Sims Bayou can also be explored downstream of Hwy. 225.