The Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) is a 96 mile long hiking trail with an additional 32 miles of loop and crossover trails of "foot-path only" trails. Connecting public lands of the Sam Houston National Forest and private lands it is the longest continuous hiking trail in the State of Texas. The trail starts just South of Richards, Texas and ends North-West of Cleveland, Texas.
The LSHT was conceived by the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in 1966. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) approved construction of the trail and flagging began in 1967, with the first 30 miles constructed in 1968. The Sierra Club, Boy Scouts of America, and many others were responsible for flagging and construction of the LSHT. The entire LSHT was completed and turned over to the USFS in 1972. An extension to the LSHT was approved later and completed in 1978.
The trail is marked with two-inch by four-inch aluminum markers to guide hikers. The Lone Star Hiking Trail may be hiked year round, but winter and spring are the most popular seasons due to the mild southeast Texas climate. During deer hunting season in November and December, hikers should wear highly visible clothing. Primitive camping is allowed off the trail except during deer hunting season when camping is restricted to designated camps. Usually the trail is not crowded, and hikers may observe a multiple-use managed forest with many ages and kinds of trees, plants and wildlife. Trail visitors may also view rivers, creeks, lakes and streams that meander through and around the Sam Houston National Forest. Off-road vehicles are prohibited. Potable water is available at Double Lake and Stubblefield recreation areas.
Lone Star Hiking Trail consists of three major sections (listed from west to east):
- The 40-mile (64 km) Lake Conroe section begins near the intersection of FS 219 and FM 149 east of Richards, TX to the Stubblefield Recreation area  at the north end of Lake Conroe. Four connecting loops in this area are all designated as part of the trail. This part of trail passes through the Little Lake Creek Wilderness.
- The 60-mile (97 km) Central Area of the trail runs northeast from the Stubblefield Recreation Area, to just north of Huntsville State Park. It runs east through the Four Notch area and then turns south east to the town of Evergreen, TX. An on-road section follows FM 945 south to a trailhead parking lot at S Butch Arthur Road. The Four Notch Loop, a 9.2-mile (14.8 km) section, is in the middle of this 60-mile (97 km) area of trail.
- The Winters Bayou/Tarkington Creek Area of the trail runs from FM 945/S Butch Arthur Road trailhead east to Double Lake Recreation Area, then south through Big Creek Scenic Area  and then southwest through the Winters Bayou Scenic area northwest of Cleveland, TX. This 27-mile (43 km) section of the trail has National Recreation Trail status.
Hi, just letting folks know that this weekend my daughter and I are setting off to try for an unsupported FKT on the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) in Texas. We’ll officially be an "unsupported, mixed gender team". Due to the recent rains and flooding on the trail it looks like there will be one or two diversions around high water and washed out bridges (yay bonus miles), but we’ll be on-trail for as much as we can. More rain on the way this weekend so it’s gonna be muddy and waterlogged, but we’ll give it a go. Updates to follow. Cheers.
Update: ok so we gave it a go, unsupported carrying our stuff and only planning to refill water at the two camp grounds and filtering from a stream at about the halfway point. We were a little worried about the recent rains, flooding and mud, but we did have a plan. But as they say the best laid plans and all that.... we couldn’t control the weather. When we started from TH 15 heading WeBo at 6:20am on Sat morning it was 70* and 100% humidity, it quickly went up to 82*, darn the forecast was calling for much cooler. Anyway in the end we struggled and not your normal bonk or bad patch, something worse and weird. So when we got to the Double Lake Campground at mile 22 we took a long break to eat and drink to see if we would come back. After a while we decided to call it, live to fight another day I guess. In the end it was still a pretty good training day and time on our feet. Till next time.
This weekend I'm attempting to set the unsupported FKT on the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) heading eastbound (EABO? is that a thing yet?). I'm planning to be on trail Saturday 12/6/19 – Monday 12/8/19. I'll be documenting times with photo, video, and Gaia if possible. Gotta hit the road – I'll update when I'm back to the computer!
@andrewglenn_ <--- will be documenting real-time on IG story, possibly maybe.
Planning to have a go at the FKT starting early Saturday morning, December 14. This will be a supported attempt traveling West to East, and meeting up with crew along the way to restock and refuel. This FKT has been in the back of my mind for the past couple of years, and I am really excited to finally make an attempt. Weather has been amazing lately, and tomorrow is shaping up to be another beautiful day. Trail conditions were great during recon last weekend, so hoping the one day of rain since has mostly dried. Stubblefield Bridge is still closed to road and foot traffic, so I will be swimming across the lake just north of the bridge to stay true to the route, to avoid violating closures set by the Forest Service, and avoid a lengthy detour. I will be tracking my attempt using a Garmin inreach mini with live tracking (link below). I mapped the route in advance and hopefully the track will appear once I start. In addition I will be taking some Gopro footage and photos to share post attempt.
Link to live tracking:
Congratulations Hunter! So excited to hear about your new FKT and looking forward to reading your trip report.
Thanks Marcy! And thank you for your own contribution and efforts on the LSHT. Your posts and trip report were a big help in figuring out how to go about this FKT adventure. My trip report and video are completed and posted under my time above.
Fun report and video! I enjoyed reliving some of the trail through your experience. Sounds like you had better conditions in some ways - no spiderweb or dog issues? - but then added a swim! That looked really cold. Impressive run. Thanks for sharing the details and congratulations again!
Planning to complete an unsupported yo-yo starting tomorrow on the LSHT. I'll be trying to set the FKT for Unsupported, and get something on the board for an Unsupported yo-yo. I'm anticipating 6-7 days on the trail. I'll be tracking with an inReach and taking photos along the way.
I plan to have a go at the unsupported FKT on May 15, starting from TH#1 early Friday morning. I will be tracking with my Garmin InReach, link below...
I have been considering this attempt for a long time and am really looking forward to getting out on the trail. If you're bored and don't have anything better to do, feel free to follow along! :-)
oops...I meant "supported" FKT!!!
I will try for unsupport FKT on May 23 2020, starting from TH #1 in Richards going east bound. I will carry everything I need in my backpack, including camping gear just in case I need to stop to rest. I will gather water from streams and lakes.
I will use a Garmin Inreach as well as my Garmin GPS watch for tracking. I plan to start somewhere between 7:30am - 9:00am Saturday morning.
Looks like it is going to be a very hot memorial weekend with high temp over 90F+, hopefully I can make it. Will update.
I started at 7:34am Saturday May 23 from TH #1, reached TH #15 at 2:10pm. Managed to complete LSHT in 2 days, 6 hours and 6 mins.
Day 1 was really hot, I think 93F+? I was only able to run for the first couple hours, then the temperature and heavy pack got the better of me and I pretty much just hiked. The shoulder strap of the backpack kept rubbing my shoulder and they became so painful. Very demoralizing. When I reach Stubblefield there is no one there so I just quickly ran across. I was not feeling well that afternoon, can't even run the Forest service road section. Had to call it a day early and camped at West Huntsville primitive camp. Then I realized I am not able to get to sleep. I bet it was because of the damn "5 hours endurance drink" I had in the afternoon! Finally managed to doze off after mid night. The whole night I was thinking about how do I quit next morning as it seems there is no way for any FKT at this kind of progress, only 29 miles for a whole day, with fresh legs.
I started day 2 pretty relaxed. I decided to just hike and see how things go. The day was much cooler. At about mid afternoon, the clouds are thicken and thunder started to come in, I then realized I am in the middle of nowhere! Can not even quit as I have no cellphone reception. Had to push! I end of pushing in the pouring rain and surprising enough, I found myself running, faster and faster in despite of soaking wet. After about 10 miles or so I came to a road that I might be able to wait for a passing car, but because I was feeling okay I decided to push on. I finished the day with almost 42 miles. Not too shabby. I managed to pitch my tent in the rain at Magnolia primitive camp. I had no problem getting into sleep thanks to all the tiredness that day.
I woke at 4:30am and decided to get up early. Left camp at 5am I reached San Jacinto river at dawn. I scouted this section about a week ago and waded across the river at the time just to test it out. Today is a different story for sure. The river was flowing much faster and I could not touch the bottom just after second step. I unbuckled my backpack and started swimming across. Thankgoodness I pretty much watertight most of my belongings. I scramble up the river bank and started running again trying to generate some heat. Managed to run the entire Double Lake and Big Creek section. Beautiful trail and I did not see another single person on trail the whole day. The following Takington section is another story. The vegetation was so overgrown and I had to slow down significantly. It would be a lie if I say I did not curse anyone during that section. Winter bayou was not much better, very swampy, muddy, and did I say muddy, I mean muddy? I did 27 miles today.
I guess I might be able to do this maybe a little bit faster if I sleep less, or do it at cooler time of the year. But I am not sure if I want to do it again.
Double Lake and Big Creek sections are just awesome, I will come back for weekend runs on those trails for sure. Some other sections are just no that appealing :-(
Correction for the typo in my last post, it took 2 days, 6 hours and 36 mins.
The journey took way longer than I anticipated... I said within 48 hours in my video and that was a slap on the face...
I'm planning a supported FKT attempt over Labor Day weekend. I'll have a crew meeting at designated spots along the trail to help with hydration and nutrition. Heat and humidity will definitely be huge factors in how this attempt plays out. I've gone out and scouted several sections and will be scouting another section this weekend after dark so I can see how the trail feels at night. This will be my longest run and my 1st ever FKT attempt.
Good luck Gretchen! Can't wait to read your race report. I'll be attempting an unsupported FKT on this trail on Nov 14th.
I will be attempting a solo female unsupported FKT beginning Thursday 9/3/20 at 8:00pm, eastbound. Hope to run into Gretchen passing on her supported attempt, maybe, on Friday?
Will use my Garmin Etrex to log route.
Attempt abandoned due to drought conditions. I've been hiking this trail for years and have never seen it so dry. Nice to have zero mud, but no water in the ravines meant not enough fluids to get through Four Notch. Next time!
I am heading out for an unsupported attempt tomorrow morning, leaving from Richards #1 and heading east. A cold front is finally moving through and temps are expected to be 45 low/65 high next couple of days, which seems ideal. I drove to the trailhead this afternoon - it's wet from rain but fine otherwise.
Plan is to walk 16-20 hours tomorrow and however long it takes to finish the following day. I've packed two days' food, overnight gear, filter, and everything else you'd expect. Will record via Gaia on my phone with backup from a Garmin watch I will stuff in my pack, plus pictures and maybe videos. Given the casual nature of this attempt I doubt anyone will care too much about it's validity :)
Well that was fun. Finished in 35:53:40 so just under 36 hours. Gaia performed brilliantly the whole way, Garmin ran out of battery after 15 hours. Took videos at most mile markers as well for backup. Will post links and trip report soon but would encourage any ultrarunners in the area to head out and set a proper FKT. I did not run at all, just walked consistently at around 3mph without many breaks other than sleep. Conditions are perfect right now especially for running - temps are great and there was no mud except for one tiny spot . Natural water sources are dry or dirty though so plan accordingly. Feel free to PM me if you're heading out soon. Ran into a fellow named Rafael around the halfway mark on Thurs night who was going the opposite direction trying to set an FKT, hope his trip was a success also.
Full credit to the LHST Hiking Club, the trail is in great shape and was a really enjoyable walk.
Forgot to mention, some important advice in case anyone is heading out soon - deal with transportation beforehand. I finished at 5:45pm on a Friday and figured drivers would be everywhere but could not get a Lyft or Uber for love or money. There are no reliable taxis in the area either, they have to leave from Conroe which takes time and some willingness on their part which I wouldn't count on. By the time I realized my situation it was getting cold and dark, I was low on food and had not had a drink of water in 15 miles. Threw my thumb out and got very lucky, caught a ride to New Waverly and was able to arrange a Lyft from there to my car. Seriously regret not dropping my car off first and dealing with transportation to the start while I was fresh and fully stocked.
I'll be attempting the women's supported FKT on the Lone Star Trail, west to east. I'm excited to get out there in the cooler weather, run around some and eat a whole bunch of food along the way!
Well I forgot to mention that this attempt will be taking place 10/30-10/31. Onward!
Or rather, 10/31-11/1. Can y'all tell I'm nervous/have gotten no sleep?
I'm setting out tomorrow morning at 5am to attempt to break Chad's supported FKT on the LSHT. I'll be running west to east. I'll have my wife and brother supporting me and we are ready for whatever the weather throws at us tomorrow.
I'll be hitting the trail on 1/16/21, going West to East. Ready to tackle whatever adventures come up along the way! Thanks Marcy for inspiring an aggressive time goal!
For anyone looking to do the LHST unsupported during dry periods, avoid natural water sources if you can. A month after completing the trail last fall I had a recurring stomach illness, stool test confirmed it was a parasite (easily cured). Could have gotten it elsewhere given the time lag but first question my GI asked was if I’d been on a Texas trail within the past few months.
Still a big fan of the LHST but will stick to tap water sources no matter how few and far between.
Tomorrow, March 20th, 2021, I'll be setting out to attempt the women's unsupported FKT on the Lone Star Hiking Trail.
Unsupported female FKT attempt happening today!!