Eastern Section Only
By Lone_Star on 3/25/2013
Distance: 9.80 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes
I hiked the Eastern portion of the Lone Star Hiking Trail - Huntsville Section, which roughly spans mile markers 32-37. To be specific, it goes from the spillway at Camelia Lake to the Phelps trailhead on Evelyn Lane. I was not able to hike the Western portion of the trail between the trailhead at Cotton Creek Cemetery Road (mile marker 28.7) to Camelia Lake because this section is currently closed due to fallen trees.
I parked at Trailhead #7 on the I-45 feeder road near exit 109. It's a small parking area that only holds a few vehicles, but I went on a weekday and there was only one other car there. From TH7, I hiked west to Camelia Lake and back. This portion of the LSHT is very pretty and follows Alligator Branch (creek) most of the way. The foliage is lush and, like other sections of the LSHT, the dogwood trees were in full bloom. There were also a lot of massive shortleaf pines and several ponds/swamps along the way. Wooden bridges and boardwalks help with water crossings. There are a few hills that provide some elevation change.
As you near Camelia Lake, you pass behind a subdivision and your solitude is interrupted. The lake itself is scenic, but a little smelly, and the trail takes you directly across the concrete spillway. The water flowing over the spillway is very shallow (only an inch or so deep), but I didn't cross over because this is pretty much where the open section of the LSHT ended and I didn't feel like changing into my water shoes.
Along the trail back to TH7, there is a LSHT blaze that has a red exclamation point (!) on it that points to a primitive trail. I did not hike this, but it is a short cut into the Huntsville State Park, which is another wonderful place to hike. You can read my log of the HSP here.
The portion of the LSHT from TH7 to the Phelps Trailhead on Evelyn Lane is a long road walk (I know they are necessary, but I hate road walks!). Part of it takes you down the I-45 Feeder Road, to Park Road 40, underneath I-45 (so much for solitude!!!), to State Hwy 75, down to Evelyn Lane. On Park Road 40 and Hwy 75, cars scream past you at 55-65 mph, so exercise caution. The Phelps Trailhead is several hundred yards or so down this road (Evelyn Lane) and there is no parking lot for the LSHT there. That wasn't a problem since I wasn't planning to hike the Phelps Section (it's currently closed due to fallen trees), but when the Phelps Section re-opens it looks like you'll have to park along the shoulder of Evelyn Lane.