Need a shady place to exercise? The loop around Rice University is that place, and one of the most beautiful places to exercise in the loop to boot. Rice University is one of our go-to walking places in general because the campus is so lovely and they have a gem of a modern coffee shop for post-walk chatting. If however, you never set foot inside the campus, the tree lined track around the outside of the campus, known as Rice Loop, is representative of the possibilities of Texas beauty. The old growth oak trees, never let up, and line the entire trail, providing unrelenting shade and awe inspiring beauty.
This packed gravel trail is 2.9 miles long, and is comfortably wide enough for two single joggers/walkers to pass one another. If two people are walking next to one another it does make it difficult for joggers to pass. We always try to be courteous and keep to the right (driving rules), however, I noticed some joggers commit the faux pas of passing, unannounced, on the right, which makes everyone uncomfortable, but it's also an indicator that they find it difficult to pass on the left. Because it's not a wide trail, I would say this trail is more for the serious exerciser, not for groups looking to socialize shoulder to shoulder, small kids wandering slowly, bikes, etc. Health seeking individuals, looking to surround themselves with beauty and get lost in their workout, would be most comfortable on this trail.
Guest parking may always be purchased at Rice (not sure the prices) - there are several access points around the campus. Not much free parking is available in the neighborhoods around the school because it's a really busy area (medical district/school/residential) and some of the residential portions are dedicated to the school or gated. Free parking may be found at Hermann Park, just adjacent to Rice Univ. and is connected to the Rice loop trail via a crosswalk at the intersection of Main St and Sunset Blvd. Free parking is sometimes worth the extra effort and this is one of those times. It'll just add a couple of minutes onto your route and round out the distance to an even 3 miles. Perfect.
Rice Loop - put it on the short list of shady exercise trails for the hot months in Houston's summer. Listen to some music on your electronic device and soak up the beauty that is Rice.
Happy Houston Trails
View Larger Map
View Larger Map