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Lone Star Hiking Trail - Wilderness Section

Trail (3.58)14
(2.47) (4.39)
8.70 Miles N/A
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Richards Montgomery
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The western end of the Lone Star Hiking Trail is conveniently located at the north end of a US Forest Service parking lot just east of the town of Richards, Tx. The trail heads off to the east and you soon come to a trail junction with the Little Lake Creek Trail. The LLCT heads south and then east to roughly parallel the LSHT for the next 17 miles before meeting back up. There are several crossover trails connecting them to form a series of linked loops, allowing for the possibility of several different loop hikes of varying lengths. For today I chose to head south on the LLCT for the first three miles before crossing back over to the LSHT. I then followed the LSHT for the next 4.8 miles before taking another connector, the North Wilderness Trail, back towards the west. I finished off the day by again joining up with the LSHT for the last four miles back to the parking lot.

For just about the entire 14.5 mile length of today's hike the trails was well marked but some sections seemed somewhat neglicted. It has gotten quite overgrown in places and needs some TLC. I have been coresponding with someone at the LSHT Club website who explains that with the Texas weather they do most of their trail maintenance in the fall, winter, and spring. With all the rain we have gotten this year the trailside shrubery and underbrush has gotten a little out of control and so it will take some effort to beat it back into shape.

My overall impression is that this trail is mainly for lovers of "the hike". It is fairly flat terrain and completely forested so there are no views to stop and admire. The section that I covered crossed numerous dry creekbeds but also a couple running (trickling!) streams and passed by several small ponds. The terrain and vegetation is very similar to that of Bastrop State Park.


Photos

Lone Star Hike Trail - Little Lake Creek (LLC) South (Photo by jmitchell) Lone Star Hike Trail - Little Lake Creek (LLC) South (Photo by jmitchell) Lone Star Hike Trail - Little Lake Creek (LLC) South (Photo by jmitchell)
Lone Star Hike Trail - Little Lake Creek (LLC) South (Photo by jmitchell) Lone Star Hike Trail - Little Lake Creek (LLC) South (Photo by jmitchell) LLC - Sam Houston Nat Forest (Photo by jmitchell)
LLC - Sam Houston Nat Forest (Photo by jmitchell) LLC - Sam Houston Nat Forest (Photo by jmitchell) LLC - Sam Houston Nat Forest (Photo by jmitchell)
Bridge @ Little Lake Creek Wilderness Picture of a bridge on the LLCW trail (Photo by omgjoz) Trailhead #4 This is Trailhead #14 off FM 149. (Photo by Lone_Star) Trail Entrance Sign This is the sign at the entrance of the trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Dead Tree Warning This sign warns you of the danger of falling trees. (Photo by Lone_Star) Fallen Trees There were several fallen trees blocking the trail that I had to overcome. (Photo by Lone_Star) Palmettos One section of the LLCL trail took you through an area of dense palmettos. Butterflies were out in force! (Photo by Lone_Star)
Pine Forest Some areas of the trail had dense pine forests. That's a lot of trees! (Photo by Lone_Star) Trailblazing Your humble hiker host shows the way to the next adventure! (Photo by Lone_Star) Pond This is the pond near mile marker 6. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Excellent Signage Signs at most major intersections show the way. (Photo by Lone_Star) Solitude This is what I call solitude. :) (Photo by Lone_Star) Trailhead #3 This is Trailhead #3 off FM 149. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Excellent Signage There are signs at most major trail intersections pointing the way. (Photo by Lone_Star) Fallen Trees There were fallen trees blocking the trail at several points. (Photo by Lone_Star) Wildflowers Beautiful wildflowers in bloom along the trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
View Of The Trail Overall, the trail was well-maintained. Here are some wooden steps to make the climb easier. (Photo by Lone_Star) Little Lake Creek One of the many branches of LLC. (Photo by Lone_Star) Trailhead #2 This is Trailhead #2 off Bethel Road. (Photo by Lone_Star)
View Of The Trail The trail has many wooden steps and boardwalks to make trekking easy. (Photo by Lone_Star) Wildflowers Beautiful wildflowers in bloom. (Photo by Lone_Star) Pond This is the pond between mile markers 2 and 3. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Majestic Pines Sometimes it's nice to stop and just look UP! (Photo by Lone_Star) Camouflage Can you see the butterfly in this photo? Hint: It's dead center, on the leaf, above the pine cone. Amazing how well it blends into the scenery. (Photo by Lone_Star) Trailhead #1 This is Trailhead #1 off FM 149. This is the start of the LSHT. It ends a little more than 96 miles down the trail. :) (Photo by Lone_Star)
Another View Of The Trail This section of the trail takes you through a dense pine forest. (Photo by Lone_Star)

Log Entries

Awesome Trail
User: Lone_Star - 3/14/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.70 Miles Duration: 5 hours

This was my third hike in the Wilderness Section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT).  This time I did both the Sand Branch Loop and Richards Loop to finish the Wilderness Section.

I parked at Trailhead #2 and hiked the LSHT down to the Sand Branch Trail, up the Little Lake Creek Loop Trail to TH1, then back down the LSHT to TH#2.  The trails were well marked and there were several ponds along the way.  Lots of fallen trees across the trails.  Given the millions of trees in the Sam Houston National Forest, I guess this is pretty normal.  Park volunteers do maintain the trails on a periodic basis.  No complaints here.  Wonderful way to spend a day!

Another Awesome Hike
User: Lone_Star - 3/13/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.84 Miles Duration: 3 hours

This was my second hike in the Lone Star Hiking Trail - Wilderness Section.  This time I took it a little easier since my legs were still sore from the day before.  I did the North Wilderness Loop at a leisurely pace.

My hike started at Trailhead #3, to the LSHT, up to the North Wilderness Trail, and then back to TH3.  This trail was more populated than the South Wilderness Loop and easier, too.  No major changes in elevation.  I did not like it quite as much as the South Wilderness Loop, but it was still a great hike.

 

One Of The Best Trails In East Texas
User: Lone_Star - 3/12/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.35 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Well, that's my opinion, anyways.  :)  For me, this trail has almost everything I like - hills, distance, solitude, good signage, lots to see, etc.

This was my first venture into the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) and I decided to do the South Wilderness Loop.  I started my hike at Trailhead #4, catch the Little Lake Creek Trail (LLCT), to the Sand Branch Trail, to the LSHT, to the Pole Creek Trail and back to TH4.

The trail was very isolated.  I only saw a few people and that was at the midpoint of my hike.  At times, you really feel like you're way in the wilderness and then you'll stumble across a country home or ranch.  The trail is very well marked and although there were several fallen trees blocking the trail, it was well-maintained overall.

From Richards to FM1374: Fun!
User: tbrucia - 11/29/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 22.00 Miles Duration: 9 hours, 40 minutes

The trail was very well marked, and Don Brewington's 'Hiker's Guide' was invaluable ( see http://www.lshtclub.com/Hiker%27s%20Guide.htm ).  An excellent primitive camp spot: at mile 11.5, just before Caney Creek on the left.  Only problem was at (about) mile 21 where trail markers ended (or I couldn't find them); i backtracked and walked around via Stubblefield Lake Road and then along FM1374 to the east.  All bridges were in good repair.  A very flat walk, so I'd call it easy.  I only met three hikers (group of day hikers) and -- crossing an easement -- two horsewomen.  This is a great hike for 'getting away' by oneself!!! (Note: Duration of hike is actual WALKING time, not overall time.  It's a two day hike...)

LSHT - Richards Loop
User: loner556 - 9/26/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: N/A

My brother in law and I did this loop a few weeks ago.  My first time on the LSHT (his first time hiking) and I was pleasantly surprised.  I've avoided this trail for a while thinking that it would be thick underbrush amongst pines. 

The trail was well marked and maintained.  Most of this loop was pine forests, but the forest was open enough in many areas to see several hundred yards. Very open but still shaded well.  Passed several ponds along the way.  Great hike all around.  Didn't see a single sole all morning.

Nice summer hike, but HOT!
User: omgjoz - 7/12/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours

The last couple times I've hiked this I haven't seen a soul on the trail.  Might have to do with the 100+ degree heat...  BRING WATER! 

First time on Lone Star Trail.
User: omgjoz - 6/27/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 5 hours

The map I had was awful, GPS saved me for once.  Crazy hot, bring water.

Little Lake Creek Loop Trail
User: wesley - 4/30/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 13.21 Miles Duration: N/A
I have made this 13.21 mile loop hike twice in the past month, parking in Lot 4 (I believe) and heading East on the Lone Star HT. The area between FM 149 and Osborn Road had recently had its under brush burned as had the areas around the North Wilderness trailhead along the Pole Creek Trail. A lot of the downed trees that crossed the trail had been cleared since my hike about a month ago and one of the two other people we saw was a park worker clearing the trail about half way between the LLCL trailhead and the Pole Creek trail junction (the one other person we saw was a jogger). The brush is still very thick in this area and some sections still take a little guess work to find the trail again after a sharp turn or fork but all in all it is still an enjoyable trail to just get away for a few hours.
Nice Hike (LLCL Trail)
User: wesley - 3/25/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 13.21 Miles Duration: N/A
I went on this hike with five other people; it was nice but the trail needs a little maintenance done, lots of downed trees across the path and some bamboo growing in the middle of the trail. The last mile or two of the Pole Creek Trail was nothing but ash on both sides of the trail due to underbrush burning that had gone on very recently… in some areas downed trees where still on fire. Other than that it was a good hike and we only saw 5 – 6 other people on the trail.
LSHT Thru-Hike
User: Nocona - 2/1/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 96.10 Miles Duration: N/A

Thru-hiked the trail in 11 days, including two days off from hiking for weather and equipment problems.  That's about a 10 mile/day pace, which is good for a those in moderate shape.  Trail is in great condition; very well-maintained and well-marked along its entire length, other than a few spots that are listed in my guidebook (The LSHT: The Official Guide to the Longest Wilderness Footpath in Texas; Karen Somers).  Saw only one other thru-hiker and three other backpackers.  The bridge over the East Fork of the San Jacinto River in the Magnolia Section at mile 71.1 is still washed out as of May 2010.  You can either ford the river (thigh high and slow flowing in normal conditions) or you can look for a downed log to cross on - other hikers have reported that there is an obvious log that brave souls can use. 


Only showing last 10 log entries. View All Log Entries

Recommended Item

Recommended Item The Lone Star Hiking Trail: The Official Guide to the Longest Wilderness Footpath in Texas
Karen Somers
List Price: $17.95 Our price: $11.53 Buy Now
One of the hidden jewels of Texas, the Lone Star Hiking Trail is the only long-distance National Recreation Trail in the state. At 128 miles (including loop trails), it is also the state's longest continuously marked and maintained footpath. Located in the famed Big Thicket area in east Texas, the trail is well-suited for both short and long hikes (of up to 10 days), appealing to dayhikers, overnight backpackers and long-distance hikers. The Lsht lies between the major metro centers of Houston-Galveston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio--home to more than 8 million people just a 2-hour drive from the trail. The author, a Texas native, is an experienced long-distance hiker who has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and many other nationally recognized long-distance trails throughout the U.S. This is the first guidebook to the trail and is officially endorsed and promoted by the Lone Star Hiking Trail Club.