Lone Star Hiking Trail, Sam Houston National Forest, Texas

The Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) and its subsidiary trails cover 128 miles of piney woodlands in the Sam Houston National Forest, north of Houston. It is divided into 3 section, west, central and east. The west section is 40 miles of the trail running between Richards Texas and the Stubblefield Campground on Lake Conroe. In this area, trail (singular) is a misnomer. The area south of Hwy 149/FM 1375 is a complex of 7 different trails providing many loop and point-to-point options giving the hiker a choice of day hikes or spending many nights under the stars. The woods of east Texas are flat and full of tall pines. There are plenty of bayous but foot bridges keep the crossings dry. Look for large mature pines with painted blazes indicating areas where the red-cockaded woodpeckers are feeding. Houston is very hot and muggy in the summer so consider later fall through early spring for your hike.

The Big Map: The map on the right is free for download but probably better used for planning. It is nominal 1:24,000 based on USGS 7.5 minute quads and has been sized to print to scale. The area covered is just the west portion of the LSHT south of Subblefield Campground where multiple trails provide convenient options for custom loops. A legend is provide to help identify the different trails.

Ready to Print Maps: Karen Somers, author of the authoritative trail guide for the LSHT has provided the following ready-to-print topo maps of the entire trail (pdf format, 8.5 x 11 paper). They are copyrighted but free to download for your personal use. Want preprinted waterproof maps? Jump to "To Buy Maps" at the bottom of this page.

LSHT Section 01. Richards to FM 149
LSHT Section 02. FM 149 to FM 1375
LSHT Section 03. FM 1375 to Cotton Ck Cemetery Rd
LSHT Section 04. Cotton Ck Cemetery Rd to Hwy 75
LSHT Section 05. Hwy 75 to Four Notch Rd
LSHT Section 06. Four Notch Rd to FS 207
LSHT Section 07. FS 207 to Ira Denson Rd
LSHT Section 08. Ira Denson Rd to Double Lake CG
LSHT Section 09. Double Lake CG to FM 2666
LSHT Section 10N. FM 2666 to FS 2025
LSHT Section 10S. FS 2025 to FM 1725

Lone Star Trail Description: In 2009 Karen Somers published "The Lone Star Hiking Trail, the Official Guide to the Longest Wilderness Footpath in Texas." It has trail descriptions broken down into 10 sections to correspond to major access points, trail mileages and black and white topos. Basically everything you need for day hiking, through hiking or selecting your custom backpacking trip. In addition, the Lone Star Hiking Club has an excellent description of the Lone Star Trail. They are also responsible for building and maintaining the trail. Drop by their site and a give them the kudos they deserve.

Info: What I call the Richards Loop was featured in Waypoints, Backpacker Magazine, May 2007, Midwest Edition. USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle topographic maps are Richards, San Jacinto and Moore Grove. I have seen some newer versions of the quads that show some of the trails, but on most, the trails are not shown. The Lone Star Hiking Club is a great resource with the trail description mentioned above and a full set of GPS based maps completed in 2007 on their LSHT Yahoo site. Contact the Sam Houston National Forest in Waverly TX at (936) 344-6205. And you can click this link to buy Karen's Lone Star Hiking Trail guide book.

Driving Directions to Richards Trailhead: From Houston, go north on I-45 about 40 miles to Exit 87, Conroe/ Highway 105. Turn left (west) on Highway 105 and go 13 miles to Montgomery. Go north on FM 149 14.3 miles to Forest Service Rd 219. Turn right, go .1 miles and trailhead parking lot is on right.

To Buy Maps: To buy waterproof maps, email Karen Somers. The maps are $3 each for single maps and $25 for a set of 11. Shipping and handling is $5 per order, up to a full set. Payment is by Paypal. Please, do not email me (Charlie) about these maps.


All photos courtesy of Karen Borski Somers
Copyright © 2009 Karen Borski Somers

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