The Official Guide to the Longest Wilderness Footpath in Texas 


The Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) is a 310-mile footpath that crosses much of east Texas, making it the longest wilderness footpath in the state. If you’re looking for an epic hiking adventure right here in Texas, Karen Somers’ guidebook is a must-have resource for planning and enjoying your hike along this scenic trail.

We all love exploring the great outdoors, but long-distance trails can be daunting without the right information. As the official guide to the LSHT, Karen Somers provides everything you need to successfully hike this trail from end to end. With detailed maps, trail descriptions, and campsite locations, her book is the perfect companion for embarking on a thru-hike of the Lone Star Trail.

By following Somers’ guide, hikers of all skill levels can feel confident navigating the diverse terrain along the way. Her book answers all the important questions new and experienced hikers will have, from how to prepare your gear to where you’ll find water sources along the entire 310-mile route. Whether you’re planning a thru-hike or just looking for a multi-day backpacking adventure, Karen Somers is the guide you need to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of east Texas.

Will I find campsites and water sources along the LSHT?

One of the biggest concerns for any long-distance hike is having places to set up camp at the end of the day and accessing water to stay hydrated. Thanks to Karen Somers’ thorough research, her guidebook provides locations for over 70 designated campsites along the LSHT and marks where hikers can reliably find creeks, rivers, or springs. 

The trail passes through several different forests, including the Sam Houston National Forest, Big Creek Scenic Area, and Huntsville State Park. Many permanent campgrounds and recreational areas, like Double Lake, provide more developed sites complete with picnic tables and fire rings. But Somers also notes great backcountry campsites perfect for low-impact overnight stays.

Whether you’re hiking the entire trail over several weeks or sections over weekends, you’ll always have options of where to safely pitch your tent thanks to the intel in this guide. Karen’s notes on reliable water sources, like Big Creek or the San Jacinto River, give confidence to plan resupply points without carrying excess water weight. Thirsty hikers can dive into anything along the LSHT!

Is the LSHT well-marked and how do I stay on the correct trail?

Wayfinding is key to any long hike, so you’ll want to make sure the LSHT is clearly marked. Karen Somers’ guide puts those concerns to rest, as she details that the designated footpath is well-blazed and signed throughout its entire 310-mile stretch across east Texas. 

Color-coded blazes mark the trail corridor and point hikers in the right direction. Blue arrows indicate the LSHT, making it easy to recognize versus side trails. Trail registers and mileposts are also placed intermittently to confirm your progress. Hikers rarely have to second-guess whether they’re still following the established route.

While the majority of the footpath is easy to navigate, a handful of swampy sections or road walks through suburban areas pose a low risk of getting turned around. But Somers notes alternate routes, local landmarks, and junctions to keep hikers oriented on the path. Thanks to her thorough guidance, readers feel fully prepared to travel the entire LSHT without losing the way. Confident navigation means enjoying the scenery without wasted wandering!

How is the terrain along the LSHT? Does the guide discuss different sections? 

As with most long-distance trails, the LSHT traverses many types of terrain across its route through east Texas. Karen Somers’ guide is invaluable because it thoroughly describes each unique section hikers will encounter along the way. 

Some portions follow level creek beds and grassy plains, perfect for easy walking. Other areas climb over rocky ridges with panoramic views. Sections weave through dense pine forests in the Sam Houston National Forest, providing endless opportunities for wildlife sightings. The terrain shifts again to wet bottomlands filled with hardwood swamps near Huntsville.

Somers even breaks down distinct sections like “The Woods Roads”—a 25-mile stretch incorporating old logging roads. She maps out elevation profiles so readers know what to expect whether hiking west to east or vice versa. Thru-hikers will appreciate the forewarning to pack extra layers as winter temperatures dip lower in the northern reaches.

By gaining a full picture of the trail’s landscape diversity, hikers of all abilities can select the most appealing segments. Somers’ guide supplies everything needed to dive into the beautiful and ecologically diverse woodlands that the LSHT traverses across Texas.

What is the best way to hike the LSHT?

The LSHT lends itself to many great hiking opportunities. Thanks to Karen Somers’ comprehensive guide, readers have everything they need whether looking to section hike, thru-hike, or even volunteer as a trail angel. 

Weekend warriors will find the trail very accommodating to section hiking 10-15 miles at a time. Several campgrounds andFSroad crossingsmake excellent resupply points for multiday trips. The entire processions can easily be broken into chunks over many visits. 

Those ambitious enough to thru-hike the entire 310-mile route will find Somers’ guidance invaluable. She details optimal pacing strategies, recommended resupply locations, and best shoulder seasons to hike when temperatures are mild. Nearby towns like Huntsville, Conroe, and Austin offer easy shuttle access for a no-shuttle thru-hike.

The LSHT Club also relies on Sabers’ work, recruitinhvolunteers to helpperform routine maintenance. From leading guided hikes to shuttling gear, there are endless ways to give back and connect with others passionate about east Texas’ hidden jewel. Overall, this guide empowers hikers of any level to fully immerse in the LSHT experience.

Is the LSHT a good choice for first-time long-distance hikers?

As the longest route entirely within Texas, the LSHT presents an ideal training grounds for those new to long-distance hiking. Thanks to expert Karen Somers’ guidance, first-timers have the support needed to confidently hike this scenic trail.

The guidebook helps novice hikers test the waters of multi-day backpacking without extensive planning stresses. Level creekside sections and nearby towns provide low-risk bailout points should weather or fitness fall short of goals. Nearby campgrounds and FS roads assure comfortable, safe layovers without intensive backcountry skills. 

Meanwhile, the diversity of terrain and scenery help build endurance for advanced trails. Sections wind through Sam Houston National Forest and scenic rivers,preparinghikers to fully embrace remote wilderness adventures. Passing through diverse ecosystems instills trailhead skills like leave no trace principles in delicate environments. 

Overall, the LSHT introduces all benefits of long-distance hiking—solitude, community, and immersive escapes—in an accessible, low-pressure way. Completeingeven one section assures lifelong memories. Thanks to Karen Somers’ guidance, newbies can “dive into anything.”

# Important Things to Remember About Hiking the Lone Star Trail:

– Karen Somers’ guidebook is the essential resource for navigating and planning any hike along the 310-mile LSHT across east Texas.

– Over 70 campsites and reliable water sources are mapped to feel confident exploring the diverse terrain from start to finish. 

– The entire route is clearly blazed and signed, allowing hikers of all skill levels to comfortably follow the established footpath. 

– Different sections offer variety, from level creeks to dense forests to climbs over ridges traversing unique landscapes. 

– The LSHT can be enjoyed through section hiking, thru-hiking, or volunteer trail maintenance – Somers provides options for all abilities and schedules. 

  1. Q: What is the Lone Star Hiking Trail in Texas? A: The Lone Star Hiking Trail is the longest wilderness footpath in Texas, stretching for 96 miles through the woodlands of the Sam Houston National Forest.
  2. Q: Who is Karen Borski Somers and what is her connection to the trail? A: Karen Borski Somers is a Texas native who conceived the idea and played a pivotal role in the development of the Lone Star Hiking Trail.
  3. Q: What are the trailhead parking options for the Lone Star Hiking Trail? A: Trailhead parking is available at various points along the trail, including at Double Lake Recreation Area, Stubblefield, and other access points.
  4. Q: Is camping permitted along the Lone Star Hiking Trail? A: Yes, camping is permitted at designated campsites along the trail, allowing hikers to experience the wilderness while on their journey.
  5. Q: What is a thru-hike and has anyone thru-hiked the Lone Star Hiking Trail? A: A thru-hike is a complete end-to-end hike of a long-distance trail. Many hikers have accomplished a thru-hike of the entire Lone Star Hiking Trail.
  6. Q: How does the Lone Star Hiking Trail compare to famous national trails like the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail? A: While not as well-known as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, the Lone Star Hiking Trail offers a unique and challenging hiking experience within the boundaries of Texas.
  7. Q: What are some popular features along the Lone Star Hiking Trail? A: Hikers can enjoy the evergreen forests, pristine wilderness, and well-maintained signage along the trail, providing a great hiking experience.
  8. Q: How can I find a trail map or more information about the Lone Star Hiking Trail? A: Trail maps and additional information can be obtained from the Lone Star Hiking Trail Club or the Forest Service office in the region.
  9. Q: How long does it take to hike the entire Lone Star Hiking Trail? A: The distance of the trail is 96 miles, and hikers typically take 4-6 days to complete the entire trail, depending on their pace and level of experience.
  10. Q: How far is the Lone Star Hiking Trail from Austin, Texas? A: The trail is located within a short drive from Austin, making it accessible for hikers in the area looking to explore a new adventure.

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