We had a few hours to kayak on Saturday so we decided to give Buffalo Bayou a shot since we've run & biked by the bayou for so many years w/out seeing what was really "up river." We parked at the gravel lot on the corner of Woodway & Post Oak near 610 and managed to find a route to the bayou that was heavily overgrown w/ brush. There were also several homeless very nearby apparently living under the Woodway bridge.
The beginning part of the trip from Woodway until the "railroad rapids" (Southern Pacific railroad tracks through Memorial Park) was pretty filthy and covered with tons of garbage. Once you pass this area the bayou really opens up and there is a lot more scenery as far as birds, greenery, sandy "beaches" etc. You almost forget you're paddling in downtown Houston.
The most interesting part of the trip came near the Waugh Street Bridge when an alligator about 6 ft long surfaced a foot or two away my wife's kayak then quickly disappeared. I had heard of gators devouring the fallen bats from the Waugh Bridge, but had never seen any proof. They apparently do exist this close to downtown.
The remaining stretch to the Sabine Street take out is easily the nicest part of the approximately 2 hour journey. The bayou has far less debris and some very nice views of the downtown skyline. Exiting the bayou in front of the Sabine Street Lofts is a bit of a challenge as you have to crawl from your kayak into the thick mud at the "canoe launch."
It was an interesting trip for any longtime Houstonian to make, but probably not a repeat trip.
Plenty of accommodations available in the galleria area, but you won't need any to take this short trip
Exit Woodway from 610 and park in the gravel area alongside the woods at the intersection of Post Oak & Woodway.