Segment 26: Texas
Texas is reputedly a big state, yet it has been hard to find any long distance hiking trails. The longest seems to be the 160 mile Lone Star Trail, an arcing route in Sam Houston National Forest north of Houston. That and the 28-mile ‘Trail Between the Lakes’ connecting Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn Reservoirs in Sabine National Forest are the two off road trails that are the Fifty Trail highlights in Texas.
There is a comprehensive network of ten regional “Heritage Trails” that are auto tour routes. These blanket the state, and the Fifty Trail follows significant parts of one of these, the Texas Forest Trail. However, since this trail system was handed off from the Texas Department of Transportation to the Texas Historical Commission, route continuity seems to have largely been lost in favor of specific highlighted destinations, and apparently route maps are no longer produced.
It would have been ideal if the Fifty Trail could have included Big Bend National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas, but even here the trails are relatively short and oriented in loops.
For practical reasons the route only covers east Texas, running south from eastern Oklahoma past Lake O’ The Pines and the 19-mile Four C National Recreation Trail in Davy Crockett National Forest to Huntsville where it picks up the Lone Star Trail and turns east. Leaving the Lone Star Trail at Big Creek Scenic Area near Cold Spring the route passes Lake Livingston State Park then reaches Angelina National Forest, following the 5.5 mile Sawmill Hiking Trail and crossing two long highway bridges over arms of Sam Rayburn Reservoir. This leads to the west end of the Trail Between the Lakes, traverses most of that trail then exits Texas into Louisiana via the Toledo Reservoir Dam.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
Trail between the lakes info: http://www.ouachitamaps.com/Trail%20Between%20Lakes.html
Texas Heritage Trails: http://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/texas-heritage-trails
Lone Star Trail: http://lonestartrail.org/IntMaps.html
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
Lone Star Trail. Fifty miles worth of it. Details TBD.