Enjoy a leisurely stroll in Hermann Park around the Jones Reflection Pool and McGovern Lake but don't miss walking through the Japanese Garden for a very Zen experience. More ambitious walkers can take the 2-mile Marvin Taylor Trail around the golf course but if you get tired, use the covered Greenway Trail to cut across the golf course to reduce your walk by half.
One of the most popular features in Hermann Park, the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool measures 740 feet long and 80 feet wide. Sculpted stone edges create an attractive border for the pool and a black bottom offers maximum reflection. Both sides are lined with beautiful mature live oak trees.
The scenic, eight-acre lake offers Park visitors a beautiful spot to relax and watch birds or take a pedal boat ride. Major improvements to the lake were started in 1999 when the old lake was drained, enlarged, and concrete edges were added for safety. The lake now includes three islands, with two islands set aside for migratory birds. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted for children under 12 and senior citizens over 65 at Bob's Fishing Pier. Pedal boats are available for rental in Lake Plaza.
Japanese Garden Hours:
March 1 - October 31: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
November 1 - February 28: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
With its waterfalls, bridges, and stone paths that wander among crepe myrtles, azaleas, Japanese maples, dogwoods, and cherry trees, the Japanese Garden is a peaceful hideaway in Hermann Park. The garden was designed by world-renowned landscape architect, Ken Nakajima. Natural materials are used, such as rock, wood, and plants, to give a feeling of serenity. The Japanese Garden features a teahouse and winding paths to explore the lush gardens.
On October 19, 2012, 20 cherry trees were planted in the garden to commemorate the original gift of cherry trees to the United States by Japan in 1912.
The Japanese Garden is open daily for your enjoyment and there is no admission charged.
The entrance to the Japanese Garden is near the Pioneer Memorial obelisk just off Molly Ann Smith Plaza near the Heart of the Park. The closest parking lot is Lot A located just off Sam Houston Monument circle. To get to the Japanese Garden from Lot A, follow the decomposed granite path along the Jones Reflection Pool under the double allée of trees and you'll see the entrance just off the plaza with the obelisk. View our interactive map for more information.
For more information on the history of the Japanese Garden, click here to visit the Houston Parks and Recreation Department's page.
The Marvin Taylor Trail offers runners and walkers a picturesque two-mile path, much of it under the shade of historic live oaks. Renovated in 2011, the former carriage trail now features a decomposed granite surface with concrete curbs, new light poles, and improved drainage. The trail is named for Marvin Taylor, a community leader who helped organize runners and neighbors to clean up Hermann Park. His volunteer group was one of several that joined forces to become the Friends of Hermann Park, now Hermann Park Conservancy.
The Pedestrian Greenway gives joggers and walkers a safe and convenient way to cross the Hermann Park Golf Course. The quarter-mile long trail is partially covered with overhead fencing to protect pedestrians from golf balls.
Bayou Parkland is an 80-acre oasis for native plants and wildlife, nestled along Brays Bayou. Scenic trails, wetlands, prairie meadows and an urban forest offer a diverse nature experience. A multi-use pavilion provides a comfortable place for picnics. The area was once cut off from the Heart of the Park, but is now accessible through a pedestrian underpass below North and South MacGregor.