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Houston Running and Hiking Routes: Challenger 7 Park

A NASA Disaster Memorial Recreation Area

© 2010 ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Challenger 7 Park; photo © KSmith Media, LLC

The greater Houston area is full of underutilized running routes. Challenger 7 Memorial Park is is a jewel and a prime example. It is named, of course, after NASA’s tragic Challenger space shuttle (orbiter) disaster.

It seems odd that so few runners and hikers take advantage of this 326 acre wildlife habitat. That said, the park is host to 5K races and high school cross-country meets now and then.

Running and Hiking Opportunities

This park’s running and hiking opportunities range from the paved entrance that leads from the gate at 2301 W. Nasa Parkway through the park to the now-closed boat launch at Clear Creek.

Challenger 7 Park; photo © KSmith Media, LLC
Next on the difficulty scale are the open grassy meadows, which includes the Memorial Knoll, which is a circular, steep hill with a flat top. To say the Knoll provides an ideal opportunity for hill sprints would be an understatement.

Looking for more of a challenge? Check out the maze of trails which are maintained by Harris County. Those guys have a gravy job; as stated above, the park is very underutilized.

Not challenging enough yet? There are multiple primitive trails that spider out from the maintained trails. There are usually some spider webs across the trail early in the morning and roots may trip up the unwary runner, so beware.

How to Get to Challenger 7 Park

From Downtown, head south on I-45 and hang a right on NASA Rd. 1 (or as the map says, W. NASA Blvd.)and the entrance is about 1.25 miles on the right. To check out the details of the park itself, here is the Challenger 7 Park map.

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