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Sam Houston North Wilderness Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 4.2 (9) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A nearly eight-mile loop highlighting the many creeks in and near Little Lake Creek Wilderness.


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Map Key

7.8

Miles

12.5

KM

Loop

415' 126 m

High

311' 95 m

Low

552' 168 m

Up

559' 170 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

15%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Views

Overview

This section of Sam Houston National Forest offers some great seclusion not terribly far from Houston. You'll follow and cross a number of creeks (ditches when it's been dry) and pass through both pine and hardwood forests. This loop features part of the Lone Star Hiking Trail and much of it is in/bordering the Little Lake Creek Wilderness. It is well maintained and very clearly marked/signed.

Need to Know

You won't pass any restrooms on this loop.

Description

Parking for this loop is available in a nice parking area that can hold 15-20 cars; look for Lone Star Hiking Trail Trailhead #3. A quick way to get here from Houston is to take I-45 north to FM1375. Drive south one mile on FM149 and keep an eye out for the lot on your right (west).

You'll pick up the Lone Star Hiking Trail behind an information sign on the southern edge of the parking area. The clearly signed trail has metal blazes painted white to help with navigation, but the singletrack trail itself is very easy to follow. The beginning of the trail passes through a mix of pines and hardwood that is relatively open and very flat. Soon you'll come to the first of many creek crossings, or ditches depending on recent weather. This, and the many to come, offer some steep five-ten foot drops that add a bit of variability to the trail. When flowing, crossing these creeks and keeping dry could prove challenging!

After the creek crossing, you'll come to a clearly marked intersection with the North Wilderness Trail. Stay on the LSHT - Section 1 (Wilderness) by heading south and crossing a old bridge over a creek tributary. This section of the trail follows the western edge of Pole Creek, with plenty of views. After about a mile, you'll come close to private property and a few unmarked forest roads. Stick on the singletrack and keep following the white blazes. Soon you'll pass Pole Creek Trail, which follows the creek south. Turn right/west to stay on LSHT - Section 1 (Wilderness).

The next section of the trail is arguably the best, as it enters the Little Lake Creek Wilderness after crossing a wide forest road closed to traffic (NF 231). The forest will open up a little into a swampy area as you approach Little Lake Creek itself. Boardwalks provide dry crossings and interesting views.

You'll come to another clearly marked intersection on the western edge of the wilderness with the Sand Branch Trail. Continue on the LSHT - Section 1 (Wilderness) by turning right (north). The next section of the LSHT - Section 1 (Wilderness) follows the western edge of the Little Lake Creek Wilderness area, but isn't actually in the wilderness. Be mindful of an unmarked trail heading straight west from the LSHT about a third of a mile north, and another unmarked trail heading northwest from LSHT after about 0.75 of a mile. Keep following the white metal blazes. At about mile marker 4 on the LSHT you'll cross Little Lake Creek again (with no bridge/boardwalk) and soon come to a well marked intersection with the North Wilderness Trail.

Take the North Wilderness Trail east back into the Little Lake Creek Wilderness, by following the red blazes painted on metal. This trail is winding and less used than LSHT - Section 1 (Wilderness) but still in good condition. Parts of the forest here are very dense, so you won't be able to see far off of the trail. This trail crosses three tributaries of Little Lake Creek, none of which have bridges (although the third has a step). You'll cross the NF 231 again, pass a few small ponds, and come back to the intersection with the LSHT - Section 1 (Wilderness). Follow it back to the parking area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Karl W

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 9 votes

#2365

Overall
  4.2 from 9 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#36

in Texas

#2,365

Overall
225 Views Last Month
3,064 Since Jan 7, 2018
Easy/Intermediate

40%
0%
60%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

A Red Shouldered Hawk we watched enjoy a mouse
Jan 7, 2018 near New Wav…, TX
Butterfly weed?
Jun 4, 2016 near Anderson, TX
Boardwalks help with crossing Little Lake Creek (which was mostly dry in January)
Jan 7, 2018 near Anderson, TX
Very well taken care of trail.
Jun 4, 2016 near Anderson, TX
Local backpackers
Mar 18, 2020 near Anderson, TX
Boardwalk
Mar 18, 2020 near Anderson, TX

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Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2020
madalyn kerchner
4mi — 5h 28m
Sep 6, 2020
Alex Tierney
7.8mi — 3h 46m
Jul 11, 2020
Shelby Stephens
Nice shaded trail! The trail is pretty clear of brush and was low traffic. Not much of it was unshaded so good for a hot late morning hike.
Jan 12, 2020
DAIshi9999
7.8mi
Jan 5, 2020
DAIshi9999
7.8mi
Nov 11, 2019
Bbo Morgan
Mar 16, 2019
Outdoor Brahmana
7.8mi — 2h 17m
May 19, 2018
Greg Bowen
Good workout. Nice trail through trees with some trail alongside creeks so some climbing up and and down required. Some wild flowers but no animals. 7.6mi