The mild winter we are experiencing presents a great opportunity to lace up your hiking boots, or simply slip on your sneakers and hit a variety of trails found in Houston, or close by.
Texas State Parks, National Forest Lands and County Parks provide a variety of trail options to fit any hiker’s ability.
“Outdoor activities like hiking are gaining popularity and are ideal for winter months which is off-season for most parks, bringing fewer crowds and many days of mild weather,” says Brent Leisure, director of Texas State Parks.
Hiking is gaining in popularity as shown in a recent survey of Texas State Parks visitors. From 2002 – 2007, visitors at 70 state parks ranked hiking the highest for recreational activities by both day users and overnight visitors. Thirteen percent of day park users listed hiking/walking park trails as the primary reason for a state park day trip, second only to sightseeing/scenery.
On Jan. 1, more than 1,000 people headed to one of 47 Texas State Parks to participate in the parks’ inaugural First Day Hike program, part of a national effort sponsored by the National Association of State Parks. Lake Brownwood State Park reported 133 participants lined up at the gate to get in on the New Year’s Day fun.
In the Houston area, easy hiking trails like Brazos Bend State Park put hikers eye-to-eye with alligators. Burroughs Park, a 320-acre county park, offers 8 miles of hiking trails,which receive very little activity, making them a quiet retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of the other park facilities.
The 129-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail meanders the breadth of the Sam Houston National Forest passing through the eastern edge of the forest near Montague Church on FM 1725 close to Cleveland, Texas to the extreme western edge near Richards, Texas. Sections of the trail cross private property and public road rights-of-way. The terrain is relatively flat with some wet areas; and bridges allow for easy creek crossings. The southern portion of the trail follows an old railroad tramway.
Hikers will have no trouble finding a trail that matches their ability in any of the Houston area parks.
For more information on hiking in Texas State Parks and park trail maps, visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/parks/things-to-do/hiking-in-state-parks
For more information on hiking trails within in Houston, or within a hour-and-a-half, visit:
For more information on the Lone Star Hiking trail, visit:
For a list of upcoming guided hikes and nature walks at Texas State Parks, visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/hiking/hikes-walks