The Lake Houston WIlderness Park Trails may be my favorite trails to explore and hike here in Houston. I have compiled a list with 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails and I am eager to get back there and give the trails a run. The Lake Houston Wilderness Park has a $3 entry fee for patrons 13-64 with options for annual passes for individuals for those who visit frequently or a group rate for special events, there are also various fees for camp site rentals (follow the link above to inquire about the details). Submit your email and follow the contest rules to be entered to win your very own individual pass to Lake Houston Wilderness Park! Drawing will be held August 31st, 2017 so HURRY! This is real wilderness, with dirt roads, wild animals, and untamed trails.
After studying the map (posted online and provided at the front) I decided to take the family on the longest trail or combination of trails, the Peach Creek Loop Trail which connects to the Ameri-Trail. Nearly the entire time we were protected from the sun by the kind and tall timbers. There were only small pockets of pipe line routes which are completely cleared of all foliage and was nothing more than a thin strip of waving groomed grasses as far as the eye could see. The trail follows the creek the entire way, which was one of my primary motivators for taking that trail. About 2-3 miles down the trail we ran across a cyclist, who was toting a rake. He said he volunteered to help keep the trail cleared using the rake to remove unruly undergrowth, leaves, and snakes. (He didn't see any snakes on this particular day) I asked about the trail's distance and he informed me that the map did not state the distance correctly. I can't say what the accurate distance is to make it to the end because we turned around shortly after we ran into that volunteer. (My oldest said she was tired and hangry.)
Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails Rubric
|1 low quality||2 average quality||3 best quality||Score|
|cost||expensive, charge per individual||small fee||free||2|
|trail length||requires laps to get adequate workout||1 mile minimum||loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum||3|
|trail material||broken sidewalk cement, grass||gravel, dirt, sand||paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)||2|
|trail width||hardly large enough for single||single but easy to pass||double wide, easy to pass, side by side||2|
|bugs||doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing||carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites||like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat||2|
|view||grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by||visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind||visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind||3|
|crowd (quantity)||too many people to maneuver as desired||some passing required but doable||comfortably populated||3|
|crowd (culture)||hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals||people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals||friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed||3|
|cleanliness||nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell||trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics||spotless, clean||2|
|safety||not getting out of the car, too dangerous||share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs||minimal risks, visible security/police, well-maintained trail material and signs||2|
|parking||sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park||adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail||adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail||3|
|amenities||not encouraging the hanging out in any way||limited water, limits to any desired amenity||toilets, benches, workout section, water||3|
Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails earns a score of 30 and of course, the experience can vary depending on the conditions of the trail at the time of any particular visit. From my experience and my opinion, it is a wonderful trail and I am eager to get back to see how far I can make it on that trail. I also was impressed with the calories burned even though I took the trail at the pace of a hike and not the run I intended. (Mostly because of those hangry complaints I mentioned earlier.) As you may have noticed in the bottom right corner of the map my run App screen shot I show 1,200 calories burned during the 4.4 miles hiked. Which with my double stroller and the rugged terrain we managed at two and a half hours. Yes, I look forward to doing it again! So, I have come up with a list with 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails I have attempted to be as thorough as I can while also being as brief as I can. Honestly, I'm not known for my brevity. (Sorry!) However, I do cover all the topics addressed in the Trail Running Rubric and I think the details can be beneficial. Better to be prepared than to find yourself in a pickle (especially if you have youngin's and a stroller!)
11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails
- Starting with the cost: It was a meager fee to enter, and being the only adult it was a total cost of $3 and completely worth it! Consider a membership if you plan to become a regular.
- The trail length: more than adequate, and since the park has multiple trails to chose from I would think you have enough options as a runner to find something that suits your preference. For the trails I took, Peach Creek Loop Trail and Ameri-Trail it was so long I did not find the end during my time at the park.
- Trail material is dirt spotted with tree roots, sand and the occasional grassy area where the pipe lines run. For those pushing a stroller, I have done some research, and some may agree some may not but in my opinion jogging stroller with a locked out front wheel is going to be the easiest way to push through the sandy areas and it will be an intense workout that no wearable calorie counter can measure.
- As far as trail width it was as expected wide enough to navigate the double stroller, and for mountain bikes, but there were people stepping to the side to pass by my entourage and a decrease in speed was required to avoid potential hazards.
- The bugs were minimal during our visit but there are absolutely bugs. I received two separate accounts of massive swarms of deer flies attacking patrons in previous weeks during the summer. I saw a few large specimens of these deer flies drafting off my stroller, but we were never bitten. I did use bug spray with DEET and one of those bug repellant fans for the kids in the stroller, this may have helped. I don't love dousing myself in poisons, but a bite from a deer fly will make me run at speeds my heart and lungs and legs can't keep up, and then there will be tears, and bouts of panic...so I don't chance it and if I were you I would at least pack it on the run.
- The view is absolutely what I seek out when I get out in the wilderness. I want a view of water and a view of trees. This particular trail followed the Peach Tree Creek and it is a nice size creek. When we entered the trail head from the parking spot we were met with a beautiful red bridge and saw families playing in the shallows areas. It was a very inviting site especially in the heat of the day but because of the shade provided by the towering trees and the breeze coming off the water, we were comfortable with the conditions of the day. We did not come prepared to climb into the water to cool down after the two and a half hours of hiking, but next time we will!
- The crowd as far as how crowded and demographic was well suited for the area. Families, pets, hikers, bikers, campers, it was not too much not too little and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
- With regard to cleanliness the trail was clean, I did see a couple of full water bottles at a bend, I suspected it was left by someone further down the trail looking to lighten the load but to rehydrate on the return. I would have picked it up to dispose of if I thought it was actual trash. At some points on the trail, there are wide open areas where you have panoramic views of the creek. There did appear to be some dumping at some of these spots, but the deterioration and age of these objects were not unappealing and I found myself more curious than disturbed.
- Safety is always an important topic when in the wilderness. As far as the trail there is the potential for debris, which increases the risk of snake bite. Consider your surroundings and don't take any unnecessary risks. One particular danger my oldest and I faced was the tree roots sticking out on the trail caused by erosion. Watch your step, be sure your toes are protected in proper shoe attire. As far as the trail safety there were also some areas that were washed out, I had to get my kids out of the stroller to maneuver some of the areas where the trail falls off into the creek. I did find my mind was at ease with my oldest there to help me manage the little ones when they climbed out. As always when in the Bayou City, watch for man eating alligators. I did not see any, I did not hear warnings but water ways connect to each other and it would be naive to assume an alligator or two has never ventured to the vicinity. I was also informed that people get lost on these trails, and then have to call the ranger station area for a rescue. These people are at risk of dehydration or heat related symptoms which can be dire, be cautious. Make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you should be expected to check in, if something does happen to you, then your back up plan is for someone to look for you. Please do be safe, I always pack 3x the water I think I will use (the benefit of a stroller) but find a camel pack or wear a back pack and PLEASE be prepared and it doesn't hurt to study the trail maps before you get out in it. Ask for the paper map just in case your phone dies and come prepared and be aware. A typical risk no matter where you go hiking is getting caught in rising flood water if the weather changes suddenly. The sand on the trail does not only pose a risk of you possibly losing your footing or twisting an ankle but if you see sand on a trail it is logical to assume the river bed does occasionally cover that area. Don't go out for a day trip unless you know the weather forecast for that area.
- The parking situation also requires being aware of the maps and being directionally inclined. You don't want to park and then find yourself hiking along the road to the trail head. By the way, this is a dirt road environment, hiking the road to get to a trail will leave you covered in dirt every time a car drives by. Plan for parking, which is free, and adequate in most circumstances. Perhaps in the height of camping season, the parking spots become scarce but on the day we went in the middle of July it was plentiful.
- The amenities were primitive but suited to the situation, I honestly do not recall seeing a water fountain but there are toilets and even showers, which considering the dirt and sand we brought home with us (more than when we go to the beach) I might have our clan shower off next time and bring a change of clothes. Again follow the map to find the bathrooms, there are port-o-potties which I tend to do all I can to avoid so pay attention and spend a little extra time seeking that which might make you more comfortable.
Let me know if I missed any important features or aspects of the trails and I hope you enjoy and find more than 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails!
Best of luck! Drawing will be held August 31st, 2017
Happy (running) Trails!