A CONCISE THRU- HIKER'S GUIDE FOR THE LONE STAR TRAIL

By: Don Brewington,  Lone Star Hiking Trail Club

Revised March 21, 2014 by Dave Wade

and the Wednesday Morning Bunch

 How to use the new water source availability ratings. Each water source in this guide is given a permanent Drought Resistance Of Point Source (D*R*O*P*S) rating on a scale from 1 to 5, the more D*R*O*P*S, the better.

SSSSS 5 D*R*O*P*S    Withstood the 2011 Drought 

SSSS   4 D*R*O*P*S    Nearly withstood the 2011 Drought

SSS  D*R*O*P*S    Possibly drying up each summer

SS   D*R*O*P*S   Likely to dry up each summer

S             D*R*O*P*S    Water present only in wettest times, and may appear stagnant




   Additionally, on our website, we will publish a LSHT Drought Index. This will be a single number covering the entire trail system, updated monthly.

  • For any individual water source, if the D*R*O*P*S is higher than the LSHT Drought Index,  that source should have water.
  •  If the D*R*O*P*S is lower than the LSHT Drought Index, the source will likely be dry.
  • If the numbers are equal or within 1/2 point of each other, the availability should be considered uncertain.
  • For example, if the Drought Index is "2", then all water sources with only 1 D*R*O*P*S will be dry, all water sources with 3 to 5 D*R*O*P*S will have water, while the water sources rated D*R*O*P*S should be considered questionable

The DROPS rating is used only for the availability of water, not the quality of water. All water should be treated. None of the water locations in this guide have been tested for purity. Use at your own risk. Pond water is more likely to be available and but also more likely to be unhealthy.

 

Important note: The bridge over the East Fork of the San Jacinto River is washed out. This bridge was located at mile 71.1 in the Magnolia Section. In times of high water, the crossing is hazardous and can remain so for days at a time. An unmarked, unofficial, and difficult to follow detour has been mapped and is available at http://www.lonestartrail.org/docs/sanjacdetour.pdf . The text of the detour is found at the end of this document. Use the detour at your own risk!

Maps and trail information can be obtained from the Sam Houston National Forest in New Waverly, Texas. Covered are cautions and signs that appear on the trail. The following guide is my experience with through hiking of this trail. Water is most important. If you do not have someone supplying you with water and food along the trail, I suggest you cache a few gallons at various spots along the way. The trail is mileage marked from west to east. There are two marker system; one with 4 x 4 post with the miles carved on top and the other is by metal 2 x 4 plates that are red with a white diamond that will have the miles in the diamond. The markers on wooden posts should be considered obsolete. These markers do not coincide but they are within a half-mile of each other. If it has been raining the low lands can be muddy and some of the creeks will be difficult to cross. If there are high winds, find an open area and watch out for falling trees and limbs. In wet weather the Winters Bayou section could be messy and difficult to hike.

 There are several "Road Walks", the longest being five miles, where the LSHT leaves the woods and follows public roads. All Road Walks and their twists and turns should be considered unmarked as far as the LSHT is concerned. You must have maps or a printed guide to successfully  navigate the road walks.

Consider installing the Maprika App and the associated LSHT Maprika Maps (http://lonestartrail.org/maprika.html) on your smartphone. The LSHT also shows up when zoomed in on Google Maps, but  3G service is not available in all areas.

Trail Description start on West Side near Richards, Texas

The Trailhead is located off TX 149 on FS 219. From the trailhead you will see the blaze signs which are 2' by 4' metal plates are nailed to trees. Most of these metal blaze signs will be painted white on the main trail. There are many side trails of animals and old logging trails, so watch for changes in the trail. If you walk for 5 minutes and do not see a blaze sign, back up till you find one and see where you missed the trail. There are many sharp turns, so stay alert. When talking with a hiking partner, it is easy to miss a turn. Carry a compass in the event you get lost and need a way out. Study your maps so you always know where you can exit (Plan B it is called.)

At 0.13 miles the trail splits. Stay Left. The right trail is Little Lake Creek Trail and is marked with an orange stripe on the blaze sign. If you went Left you will go under a power line at 0.24miles.

There may be trees down across the trail so watch where the trail goes.

Mileage WEST END OF RICHARD SECTION (START OF TRAIL)

0

Trailhead #1 Richards. Start of Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT, Main Trail)

0.13

Intersect Little Lake Creek Loop (LLCL, Orange Markers). Stay Left

0.33

Poor quality Pond on Left, emergency use only   3 D*R*O*P*S

1.00

Mile marker on tree. I will not indicate each mile marker

1.4

Cross old logging trail. There are many of these you will cross on the trail. Make sure you watch the blaze signs.

1.8

Cross gravel road Forest Service 203 (FS 203)

2.1

Sharp Left as Trail parallels FS 203A

2.22

Cross Old Road FS 211E

2.55

Pond on Right – Good lunch spot  5 D*R*O*P*S

3.3

Intersect West Fork Trail (Blue Markers). Stay Left and cross creek

WEST END OF NORTH WILDERNESS SECTION

3.45

Bethel Road (Also called FS 211). Parking, Trailhead #2 (Sand Branch) to left. Cross road and enter Wilderness section.

3.8

Intersection with North Wilderness Trail (Red Markers) on Left. Don't turn. Continue straight. The North Wilderness Trail is 2.2 miles long and can be used as a shortcut, rejoining the LSHT at mile 8.0, and cutting out 2 miles of hiking. If you choose to take the North Wilderness Trail, you will encounter  two   1   D*R*O*P*S creeks.

3.95
Clear Water in low volume spring feed creek.   4 D*R*O*P*S

5.1

Intersect Sand Branch Trail (Yellow Markers). Turn left to stay on The Lone Star Trail. Entrance B to Wilderness Section.

5.8

Beginning of 2 board walks in this low area of Little Lake Creek, each about 150 feet

Little Lake Creek  1 D*R*O*P*S

5.9

Second boardwalk

6.3

End of Wilderness area. Cross dirt road FS 231 and continue straight.

6.8

Intersect Pole Creek Trail (Blue Markers) to Right. Go Left. Head North. The trail will follow along the general area of Pole creek. Water - A shallow sandy intermittent creek   1/2 D*R*O*P*S

8.0

Intersect North Wilderness Trail's east end. Turn Right and in 200 feet you will cross Pole Creek. No Bridge. If raining hard this could be difficult to cross.

8.6

Cross under power line

WEST END OF KELLY SECTION

8.7

Trailhead on Left. Cross Highway FM 149. Watch blaze signs for next several miles there are some sharp turns.

9.76

Trail takes a sharp turn to the right. Water in a pond 150 yards to the north if you leave the trail and follow the gully downstream.  4 D*R*O*P*S

10.8

Turn right and walk on gravel road FS 2429 for ~100 yards. Leave road and turn left onto main trail.

11.3

Paved road (Osborn Road), with tiny parking area. Go straight across.

11.8

Intersect terminus of 18.5 mile long Little Lake Creek Loop Trail (Orange Markers), which goes Right. Stray straight.

11.9

Bridge (48 foot) over Caney Creek nice to have in wet weather. This is a muddy area and will be muddy for some time. Water - A shallow sandy  creek.  2 D*R*O*P*S

12.7

Cross ORV Trail

13.3

Cross Pipeline and Gravel Road FS 204B.

14.3

Gravel road FS 271. Right goes to Kelly's Pond. GO LEFT walking on gravel road and intersect paved road FS 204. To the right of the intersection, cross this road and enter woods at the hiker sign.

SOUTH END OF STUBBLEFIELD SECTION

15.8

Cross Highway FM 1375. There is a trailhead down the gravel road to the Left.

16.5

Good Camping Spot. On Lake Conroe. Few nice spots like this one.                     Water - from lake  5 D*R*O*P*S

17.9

Footbridge over semi-permanent creek.   4 D*R*O*P*S

19.7

Enter Stubblefield Campground. POTABLE WATER and PHONE. Often a campground host here. Trail goes straight ahead through the campground to paved Stubblefield Lake Road. Turn right and cross 200-foot bridge. Most of the times there are fishermen on the bridge. Both sides. Good catfish can be caught here. Bidge crosses permanent W. Fork San Jacinto River.  5 D*R*O*P*S

SOUTH END OF BATH SECTION

20.3

Trail leaves Stubblefield Lake Road opposite Overflow Camping Area and enters woods to Right. About 300 feet the trail takes a sharp Left. Watch, as there is a trail that goes straight.

21.0

Cross paved Gus Randel Road and a power line.

21.5

Cross gravel Pipkin Road leading to house on Right

22.0

Trail takes a sharp right turn, following a property line which is fenced for a short distance, then unfenced. Stay right of the red-banded property line trees.

23.1

FM 1374. Dogs at house west of trail make a lot of noise.

23.5

Old road FS 243: sharp Left onto road for 50 yards then Right into woods

24.0
Water in tiny intermittent creek (Fern Creek). More reliable than most creeks. Held water May 25, 2011 in midst of drought.  3+ D*R*O*P*S

24.5

Old Road FS 243. Turn Right onto road and follow for 0.2 miles where trail turns Left at Hikers sign ( do not cross creek).

26.15
Turn right onto faint ORV track (FS 243F2)

26.4

Come to an unmarked gravel road. This is the old Bath road. Turn Right and walk the road for 1.5 miles and you come to the corner of Bath and Ball road. This junction is currently unsigned, but Ball Road is paved. Turn Right on Ball Road and go about 0.15 miles to gravel Cotton Creek Cemetery Road, which will have a cattle guard. Turn left on Cotton Creek Cemetery Road and go 0.5 miles until the road forks.

Take the right fork onto unmarked Forest Service Road 287, passing through a normally locked auto gate. The trail follows this right fork for .15 mile until it leaves the road and enters the woods on the right.

WEST END OF HUNTSVILLE SECTION

28.8

Trail leaves newly widened logging road and goes into woods. Turn Right

28.9

Top of pond dam. Poor quality water.  3 D*R*O*P*S

32.0

You come to a paved road. Turn Left onto the road and in a couple hundred feet you will come to small brick building on South side of dam. The lake on the Left (Camelia Lake) is in Elkins Lake subdivision. Cross the dam. You may need water shoes after recent rains. There are metal poles at both ends with openings at the side for hikers to go through. Right after going through the north end of the dam the trail turns Right. There is a new House on the Left.    Water from lake should be avoided due to fertilizer and pesticides.  5 D*R*O*P*S

32.2

After entering woods you will pass under a power line and will see a hiker's sign.

33.2

Cross Alligator Creek and turn Left. The trail will follow the creek line for about a mile. Water - shallow sandy spring fed permanent creek  4 D*R*O*P*S

34.2

Footbridge

EAST END OF HUNTSVILLE SECTION

35.0

You will come to parking area off the feeder road of I-45. Turn right and follow the feeder road for 0.7 of a mile to Park Road 40. The trail turns Left and goes under I-45 on Park Road 40. If you turn Right at 40 you will enter the Huntsville State Park. Good camping. Showers. Water and Coke machine. Concession Stand may be open at the lake. Thru-hikers like to stop here and clean up.

35.7

Walk left on Park Road 40 for a mile and intersect US 75. Turn Right for 0.1 miles and then turn Left on Evelyn Lane. Sign at corner. Go about 0.3 miles and there will be a Blue Metal gate to private property. To the Right of the gate you will see the Hiker's Sign and entry to woods.

WEST END OF PHELPS SECTION

37.0

Trail leaves Evelyn Lane to Left. About 200 feet you see Mile Marker 37.

38.0

Power Line

38.2

Small foot bridge

39.3

You come to Evelyn Road again. Turn Left and continue on road for 0.3 miles.

39.6
Turn left off road into woods at Hiker Sign. Friendly dogs south of road.

40.7

Small intermittent stream. This is your best chance to find water in this section, but that is not saying much. 1/2 D*R*O*P*S

42.0

East end of Phelps Section: 275 feet and you come to FM2296. Turn Left and in 0.5 miles you will come to FM2929 (on the left) and Four Notch Road (on the right). The street sign identifying Four Notch Road has been stolen at least twice in recent memory. Turn Right on paved Four Notch Road, crossing the Railroad Tracks. It is about 2.4 miles of walking on this road before you turn Left on FS 213. Some times a truck will stop and give you a lift over this section. A few dogs on the road. At FS 213 go about 0.2 miles and you will see the entrance of the trail on the Right.

WEST END OF FOUR NOTCH SECTION

 (This section has a loop trail that is marked with red horizontal stripe).

45.0

Parking Lot on Left of trailhead.

45.3

Trail will divide. To the left is the Four Notch Loop Trail (Red Markers) and to the Right is the main trail. There is a sign at this place. Bear right.

46.5

Camping area for hunters. Can be messy. In a 100 feet or so you will cross a gravel road and another 100 feet you willI see the hiker's sign. Enter woods

47.0

Intermittent Creek with poor quality water.  2 D*R*O*P*S

48.0

Watch signs in this area. There are some low spots in the area. This is the traditional HALFWAY POINT of the LSHT.

48.2

This is Boswell Creek and can be difficult to cross if raining. Water – fairly reliable.    3+ D*R*O*P*S

49.4

Four Notch Loop Trail intersects main trail. Go straight.

49.6

Trail turns Right and follows Briar Creek.

49.9

Cross Briar Creek on Footbridge. 

50.4

Cross Gravel road FS206.

51.1Cross Brandy Creek   1 D*R*O*P*S

51.5

Water in Pond on Left. Good Camping Spot.  3 D*R*O*P*S

51.7

End of Four Notch Section. Road turns Left on unmarked  gravel road FS 200. Go 0.7 miles and come to intersection of unmarked gravel road FS 207. Turn Right on FS 207 and stay on what appears to be the "main road" for 2 miles to intersection of FS 202 and FS 207 (Big Woods Road). There may be mile markers on the road #52 and #54.

NORTH END OF BIG WOOD SECTION

54.2  Enter woods between FS 202 and FS 207.

56.9

Cross West Fork Caney Creek. Bearing tree and old fence line. There are many small creeks in this section. Common to area. This is usually dry but I give it 1/2 D*R*O*P*S

58.4

Trail comes within 100 feet of FS 202 and its junction with FS 202D.Trail makes a sharp right turn.

58.5
Intersect old road/fire break. Trail crosses fire break. New signage directs you to an off-trail pond by going 100 yards east (left) of the trail down the fire break and then 30 yards south. Water in pond. In dry conditions, this is the ONLY water between miles 51.5 and mile 71.  4 D*R*O*P*S

59.8

Cross gravel road FS202D.

60.4

Cross wet weather Pumpkin Creek . After the creek, watch for 90 degree turn to Right 

61.5

Tricky intersection with abandoned pipeline. Watch for markers as trail crosses diagonally to the right.

62.8

Trailhead #9 and Big Woods Parking Area.

SOUTH END OF BIG WOODS SECTION

Turn Left on dirt Ira Denson Lane and walk 0.2 miles and intersect FS 202, also called John Warren Road. Turn Right and walk 1.7 miles on John Warren Road, watch for dogs. Intersect Highway 150 turn Left and in 0.3 miles you will see the flashing traffic light at Evergreen. The Evergreen Baptist Church has given hikers permission to use the outside water tap behind the sanctuary  5 D*R*O*P*S. FM 945 intersects Highway 150 at the flashing fight. Turn Right and walk 2.7 miles to Butch Arthur Road where the Trailhead is on the corner. The section from here to Double Lake is called the Magnolia Section. I find it nice to have some one meet me at the South end of the last section and take me to this point on FM 945. I don't like road walking and this section is just shy of 5 miles 

MAGNOLIA SECTION

This section takes you to Double Lake. The nature of the forest changes in this section, you will see many Magnolia trees and much of the walk will follow creeks. You will cross the San Jacinto River (east branch of the river). The bridge over the East Fork of the San Jacinto River is washed out. In times of high water, the crossing is hazardous. A detour has been mapped and is available at http://lshtclub.com/sanjacdetour.pdf . The text of the detour is found at the end of this document.

67.4

Start of Magnolia Section Trailhead.

68.3

Cross a small footbridge. The trail parallels an intermittent stream for the next 1.3 miles. While it is usually dry at the bridge, there is often water in the stream from mile 69 to 69.6. After mile 69, some of the water is runoff from private land of unknown quality, so get water at or before Mile 69 if you can. 

68.6

Primitive camp site # 2. No Water.

69.0 - 69.5Water from intermittent stream.  1 D*R*O*P*S

69.9

Cross gravel road Freeside Lane / FS 2126.

70.1

Small foot bridge.

70.6

Hiker's gate.

71.1

Cross East Fork San Jacinto River. The trail now crosses the river 100 yards north of the old bridge location.  Water of unknown quality from shallow sandy permanent creek .

  5 D*R*O*P*S The bridge over the San Jacinto River is washed out. In times of high water, the crossing is hazardous and alternate arrangements should be made for thru-hikers.

72.05

Pipe Line right of way.

72.2

Bridge with small intermittent stream.  4 D*R*O*P*S

72.8

Trail turns right (due east) along a pipeline for 200 yards, then leaves the pipeline to the left (north). Gravel road FS 280B crosses the trail and pipeline  in this section.

73.8

Cross FM 2025 and shortly go under power line. You go through a couple of Hiker's gates. Trailhead #11 Iron Ore is to the Right.

NORTH END OF BIG CREEK SCENIC SECTION

75.0

Lake Shore Trail around Double Lake. The Lone Star Trail takes a U-turn around the information sign . You are now 75.0 miles from the start of the Lone Star trail. In this section you will follow a creek line for 4 miles to the Big Creek Scenic Area where you will go west for several miles before heading south.

Double Lake Recreation Area has restrooms, potable water, and camping (for a fee).

 5 D*R*O*P*S

75.6

Cross gravel road FS 220 ALL MILE MARKERS WILL HAVE TWO NUMBERS STARTING HERE. THE MILES TO DOUBLE LAKE AND THE MILES FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL.

75.7

Lone Star Primitive Campsite #1. For the next 4 miles you will pass over several footbridges. If there is a heavy rain you might find some areas difficult to pass. There is water in Big Creek (Double Lake Branch); this is a semi-permanent stream.  3 D*R*O*P*S

78.6

Elevated tramway. Go left on Tramway, then right back into woods.

79.15 

Intersection of Big Creek Trail to right. Go Left over bridge.

79.25

 White Oak Trail to Right. The old Magnolia Trail seen on some old maps is now closed. Follow the main trail signs.

79.7
Final Bridge Crossing of Big Creek. Get water here.  5 D*R*O*P*S In very dry conditions, there will be no flowing water for the next 13 miles, until you reach the San Jacinto River.

79.8

The trail takes a right on a raised area that was an old tramway. The trail now goes in almost a straight line for several miles.

79.9

Big Sign on Right with map of the Big Creek Scenic area. You can see all the side trails. Trailhead #12 – Big Creek is to the Left about 500 feet. In the next half mile you will come to the Pine trail and the Big Creek trail

80.8

Information sign and gravel road FS 221

NORTH END OF TARKINGTON BAYOU SECTION

82.5

Trailhead #13 - Tarkington and FM 2666. Cross the road a bit off to your left (east). The trail will parallel the road for a short distance and then head south.

83.5

Trail to Hunters Camp on the right. The Hunters Camp is .6 mile to the west.

83.55 Primitive Camp 100 yards to the Left (East) of the trail.

84.2

 Maps may show the trail crossing Tarkington Bayou several times, when in fact the trail never crosses, always following on the west bank of the bayou.Trail hugs Tarkington Bayou (often bone dry) for the next 3 miles.  1/2 D*R*O*P*S

85.0

Water - Pond 50 yards on Left (East) 3 D*R*O*P*S Dam visible from Trail.  Cross pipeline (dirt road). Turn Left and then Right.

86.1

Old Dirt road. Left 100 yards on road then right.  You continue to follow Tarkington Bayou. 1/2 D*R*O*P*S

86.8
Water - Small Pond  on Left (East)  3 D*R*O*P*S

87.2

Trail turns Right leaving Tarkington Bayou and goes nearly arrow straight for 2 miles SW along an old tramway.

90.05

Cross gravel road. Watch for dogs here.

NORTH END OF WINTERS BAYOU SECTION

90.9

Trailhead #14 Mercy Fire Tower and FM 2025. Cross the road and start the last section

92.2

Very muddy area

92.5

Iron Bridge crossing East Fork San Jacinto River.   There is always water in the river.  5 D*R*O*P*S

93.1

Trail Crosses FM 945

93.4

Concrete foundation. Base of old fire tower or tramway steam engine

93.9Concrete foundation.Base of old fire tower or tramway steam engine

93.95

Pond on Right (North)  3 D*R*O*P*S

94.7

Gravel road FS 274E

95.15

Gravel road and foot bridge

95.8

Iron Bridge crossing Winters Bayou.  There is always water in the river.

 5 D*R*O*P*S

95.9

Foot bridge

96.02

Power Line

96.2

Two foot bridges within 200 feet

96.44

End of Trail. South end of Winters Bayou


Unmarked, unofficial detour if East Fork San Jacinto Crossing is flooded and unsafe.

Lone Star Hiking Trail - Magnolia Section - Mile 71.1

CAUTION: This detour is not for the novice hiker! The “bushwhack” involves forcing your way through heavy underbrush for .2 miles without benefit of a defined path or trail markings of any kind. Use at your own risk!

Eastbound Hikers:

From the site of the washed out bridge, backtrack west 1.2 miles on the Lone Star Trail to gravel road Freeside Lane (Forest Service Road 2126).

Go North (right) .42 miles to paved Butch Arthur Road.

Go East (right) 1.8 miles on Butch Arthur Road. Watch for the address 1840 – 1842 Butch Arthur Road and a sign on the left for “Rafter Cattle Company.” Go 0.1 miles east of that address and watch for a powerline crossing the road and the road turning due north. You will see a brown brick house 100 yards north of the road and an unmarked gravel road (FS 2120) (N30 32.969,W95 09.876) on your right; go east down FS 2120. You know you have the correct road when you see a yellow Forest Service Boundary sign about 100 yards in. Even if FS 2120 has the vehicle gate closed, you may still walk past the gate.

The gravel road curves to the right and soon forks. Take the right fork, heading south to an old oil wellhead in a field. This wellhead is about 0.15 miles from Butch Arthur Rd.

From the old wellhead (N30 32.926,W95 09.662), bushwhack on a bearing of 105 degrees (True) for 0.2 mile. (Straight line bearing to your intended junction is actually 100 degrees, but it is better to miss a bit to your right)


You will strike a faint dirt road; head northeast on this road until you come upon a 'T' junction (N30 32.893,W95 09.473) with unmarked gravel Forest Service Rd 280B, which heads southeasterly.

Turn Southeast (right) on FS 280B for 0.45 miles to the Lone Star Trail

Westbound Hikers:

From the site of the washed out bridge, backtrack east 1.8 miles to gravel Forest Service 280B. (N30 32.625,W95 09.177)

Turn north (left) .45 miles until the road ends in a 'T' (N30 32.893,W95 09.473) at a faint dirt road.

Bushwhack on a bearing of 280 degrees (True) .2 miles until you hit either:

  1. Gravel Oil Tank road (N30 32.926,W95 09.662) Head north and west on gravel road to Butch Auther Road OR

  2. Powerline. Follow the powerline west (left) to Butch Auther Road

    OR

  3. Fenceline Follow fence to its northwest corner. Gravel road and Butch Arthur Rd are just north of this corner.

Go left (southwest) 1.8 miles on paved Butch Arthur to gravel Freeside Lane (Forest Service Road  2126).

Turn left (south) on Freeside Lane .42 miles to the Lone Star Trail