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Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report

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Offline tjavery

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Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« on: August 21, 2008, 09:05:08 AM »
I'm a little late with this one, but last April, a friend (and hiking buddy) of mine asked me to spend a Saturday afternoon on the Lone Star Trail. The trail is not continuous, but sums up to over 100 miles. We decided to hike an 11 mile section of the trail starting at the Big Creek Scenic Area and finishing up at Parking Lot #10. This is all within the Sam Houston National Forest.



We took two vehicles to make the 1-way hike possible. We met up at Parking Lot #10, parked one vehicle, and then drove over to the Big Creek parking lot in the other vehicle. This is my buddy here taking a shot of the trail:



The trail was well established, well maintained, and fairly level. Except for the humidity, hiking was pleasant and easy. We were blessed with overcast skies which helped keep temps a little cooler.

The woods were deep and green. It was neat to hike underneath the pine giants.



My buddy took me to a secret spot off-trail to visit a mighty oak spanning across an unnamed creek. His uncle had found the tree a long time ago when he worked with the Sierra Club to establish and maintain this section of the Lone Star Trail.

The trail passed by the Double Lake area and we stopped there for a picnic lunch. Double Lake is really a giant pond and there are facilities there for picnicing and camping. It's reachable by road, BTW, you don't have to hike there.

The trail becomes just a little less developed past Double Lake. As we headed west, we lost it a few times and had to double back. It was, however, continuously marked with tabs of aluminum nailed into the tree trunks. (you can see one in the first photo I posted above)



The trail crosses the East Fork of the San Jacinto River. When we hit the river, the trail appeared to turn left (south) and disappear. We lumbered along the muddy banks and had to climb over a huge fallen tree. We scared up some massive snake that quickly slipped off into the water.

We're not sure if the trail proper had been washed away, but we found crossing over a huge tree that had fallen across the river. I was glad not to have been forced to wade through the muddy water, especially with our new reptile friend lurking about.

On the other side, we wondered around for about 15 minutes until we picked up the trail. We pushed on.

We came across this little box turtle in the middle of the trail and stopped for a break.



After 11.25 miles, we reached Parking Lot #10. It took us almost 5 hours total, parking lot to parking lot.

The hike was quite pleasant and fairly easy. Aside from the two groups of men and boys (we think they were church groups) with heavy packs that we passed on the trail, we had the place to ourselves.

I'd definitely go back. Just not during hunting season :-)

Before the hike, I generated a custom map. And here's a file that contains the GPS waypoints. I took my GPS on the hike, and the pre-plotted waypoints were pretty accurate. I've yet to download our actual track from the hike (yes, I've been lazy... uh, busy).

Also, I took a snapshot of the map at the Big Creek Scenic Area trailhead. It has more detail of the trails in the local area.

Thinking ahead....

There is another section of the Lone Star Trail that we want to hike next. Starting at the Big Creek Scenic Area, the trail goes roughly south & south-west about 15.25 miles to Montague Church. This would merit another 2-vehicle approach to make a 1-way hike possible. We actually discussed hiking this last May, but the hike didn't happen, then it got to bloody hot. We'll definitely go back, but only when it gets cooler and the rednecks aren't out blasting forest creatures :-)

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2008, 09:38:29 AM »
Nice hike TJ. I've never been to the national forests of Texas, incredibly. A situation I need to correct ...

The box turtle shot reminds me of the "pet" I had as a kid. He had that same pissed-off look.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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chisos_muse

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2008, 09:49:29 AM »
Nice hike TJ. I've never been to the national forests of Texas, incredibly. A situation I need to correct ...

The box turtle shot reminds me of the "pet" I had as a kid. He had that same pissed-off look.

LOL, I had one too. I brought him home from a hike that my Dad and I did while he picked his "mushrooms"....no, not those kind....anyway, his name was "Tutley" and my Mom hated him like she hates most animals and I got tired of her complaining and released Tutley back into the wild by the lil creek behind our home... :icon_frown: I'm sure he liked it better than the small glass aquarium anyway....


Very nice photo's TJ! :icon_biggrin: It's good to get out and hike in different places but I find that I'm always wishing I was in another park. :icon_rolleyes:

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2008, 11:09:08 AM »
What a great trail hike there.....and where is this?, :eusa_hand:..i know. I have not looked it up on Google Earth, maybe just a quick hint?.

 I just showed my wife the tree shot, where the stream runs under. We have never seen a tree like that before, :eusa_clap:
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline mountaindocdanny

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2008, 11:16:46 AM »
My oldest and I did that hike as a "out and back" back in March of 2004. It was his one year old birthday and we did it as his first "father-son" overnighter. I have very fond memories of that stretch of trail and the great trip we had. Beautiful area. Thanks for sharing. I remember seeing the "tree bridge".

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oldfatman

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 12:24:23 PM »
H2U2,
Look north east of HOuston Texas

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 02:40:33 PM »
Now you're talking 'bout my backyard!!  I try to get out there fairly often, being that it's less than 45 minutes from my house.  There are several nice loops on the west side.  It's an awesome area.  I'm in the process of hiking the whole thing in little day hikes with the wife.  We were out there two weeks ago and ran in to a search and resque party that was out looking for someone that had been missing for a week.  The SAR party ask us if "we had smelled anything".  :icon_eek:

The Lonestar Star Hiking Trail Club takes care of the trail maintenance.  They have an awesome website with good detailed maps.

http://www.lshtclub.com/

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2008, 02:47:48 PM »
There used to be a bridge at the San Jacinto River, but it was washed out some time ago.  That tree you went across on is the unofficial bridge for now.  There is a plan currently underway to replace the bridge.

Do have coordinates for that tree that you wouldn't mind sharing?  That's pretty cool looking.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 02:49:58 PM by TexasAggieHiker »

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2008, 05:45:13 PM »
Rather than do a 2-vehicle shuffle you can do several fine loop trails from a number of trailheads - see the Lone Star Hiking Trail Club maps for details:
1- Little Lake Creek Wilderness Loops (3), North Wilderness, South Wilderness, Sand Branch.  All the loops intersect like a figure-8 so you can do various combo's and variations.
2- 4-Notch Loop - a nice ~6 mile loop
3- You can make your own loop by locking up Mtn Bikes at one of the parking areas then riding back to your vehicle, this is a good combo multi-sport trip.

Winters Bayou scenic area is also very nice but it's an out-and-back hike without a 2nd vehicle shuttle.
The "Big Woods" section is also one of my favorites and is well off the beaten path.
BDann, KDann, Chef, and I hiked this trail during hunting season and although we did see hunters they were generally respectful and we did not have any trouble with them nor them with us.   Double Lakes Recreation Area makes a nice car-camping basecamp because you can go down to Big Creek and back (~10-11 miles) or can go the other direction down to the San Jacinto River.  Huntsville State Park also lies along the trail and makes another good car-camping basecamp but the trail in this area is less scenic and passes by subdivisions and other developments.
The Stubblefield Campground (A NFS campground) lies on the trail at the North end of Lake Conroe and has free hot showers but is otherwise a small somewhat grungy campground commonly populated by noise-making drunken idiots.
There are also several designated primitive backpacker campsites along the route of the trail but you are officially allowed to camp almost anywhere along it's 128 mile length.   Bring a water filter and watch out for the poison ivy which is common and seemingly everywhere during the summer... TWWG

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2008, 01:19:17 PM »
Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Homero - Hit http://maps.google.com/ and then type in Coldspring, Texas. When the map pops up, pan due south of Coldspring and then you'll see Double Lake (look for the green area on the map). The Big Creek Scenic Area and also Parking Lot #10 do not show up on the map, but you can check out my map or the Lone Star Hiking Club site (as mentioned by others - thanks!) for more details.
Moderator note: or skip the panning and click

TexasAggieHiker - The spanning tree in my 3rd photo above is just south of Double Lake. Going south, about 1/2 mile after you cross Road #220 (ref. the USGS topo maps), you'll come to a wooden footbridge. Before you cross it, take a left and follow the creek less than 100 yards to the tree. 30.53812N 95.12218W Datum: WGS84

TWWG - Thanks for the info! My friend and I want to explore more of that territory.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 01:34:59 PM by RichardM »

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2008, 03:01:46 PM »
Thanks for the info tjavery!

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Lone Star Trail (East Texas Hike) Day-Trip Report
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2008, 05:04:53 PM »
I have been to Conroe,Tx.  That is where the Goodyear blimp used to hover in some field. I just don't know now a days, but one day i will return there again. Thanks TJ & Moderator.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

 


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