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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lake Houston City Park (NEW)

In progress!
Right: Peach Creek from the Walking Bridge

Lake Houston Park

Left: This is a typical picture of the trails in the park. This one is the Peach Creek Trail. We hiked it today only a week after the torrential rainfall the Houston area experienced. The trails were mostly dry, but occasionally muddy. They were still easily passable. Peach Creek was up and very muddy. I was there a couple of weeks ago and it was less than a foot or so deep by the foot-bridge and crystal clear. It was deep enough for a canoe to pass us today as we sat and enjoyed the beautiful weather.


Introduction: Lake Houston is a 4,919+ acre park in New Caney, just 30 miles north of downtown Houston. It was recently moved from being a Texas State Park to being managed by the City of Houston and the County. The park has beautiful woods which include oaks, beauty berries, palmettos, river birches, magnolia, sycamores and loblolly pines. The park also has many bayous, ponds, Peach Creek, Caney Creek and a portion of the San Jacinto River. It is not located on nor does it have access to Lake Houston.

Location: Take Hwy 59 North to the New Caney exit to FM 1485. Turn right and follow the signs. You will travel east on FM 1485 for about 2 miles and turn right on the Baptist Encampment Road. Travel for 1.5 miles to the park entrance. The sign is fairly small, so watch carefully.

Hours: 7 days a week, 8 am to 10 pm except for overnight campers.

Scoring: Walking = 4 Nature = 5
Walking: There are restrooms in the park, but not on the trails. Trails are wide and open. (I'm still walking all the trails, so more to come.) Parking is not at the trailheads (in most cases). You must walk into the park. Trail maps are difficult to read, somewhat incomplete or wrong and do not include all trail distances.

Nature: Feels as if you are way out in the country. Heard no road noise. Has beautiful trees, creeks and a river and birdsong.

Background:The park was originally two parcels of land, one a lumber camp and the other a Girl Scout Camp. Both were acquired and became a State Park. It has recently transfered to the City of Houston for management.

Coolest Thing About Park: It is a pocket of deep woods so close to Houston. And not too populated.

Trails:

More to come.

Other things you'll want to know:

1. The trail maps are not the easiest to follow as the signs do not all match the map and the road that runs through the park is not marked on the map.
2. Hours are: 7 days a week, 8 am to 10 pm except for overnight campers.
3. At this writing, the park is still taking Texas Parks and Wildlife annual passes, but they expect that to change. There is an entrance fee of $3 per person for day use.
4. There are several lodges, camping areas, picnic pavilions for use with reservation.
5. Wildlife includes snakes (30 species), bats, birds, deer, turtles, fish, squirrels, and more.
6. Most trails are packed dirt, very well defined and wide-open. The road through the park is asphault in poor repair but great for a walking trail.
7. Vehicle traffic is restricted to the parking lot at the front of the park. Only vehicles allowed to drive into the park are handicapped and lodge inhabitants.
8. This park is NOT ON and has no access to Lake Houston. So leave your boat at home.

Feel free to add any comments you think would be useful to others about

Photography by Mary Anne Fields.
All blog content is copyrighted, all rights reserved, Mary Anne Fields and Life Unfolds, 2006

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