Lone Star Hiking Trail, Richards to Cleveland

Directions: Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) winds about 120-150 miles (depends on who's doing the talking) through east central Texas.  It actually begins about 6 miles outside the community of Richards, off Texas FM149, which is 20 miles east of Navasota; and it finishes outside Cleveland on FM920.  Almost every mile is marked with a mile number either on a post or on a tree.  This is a hiking trail maintained by volunteers of the Lone Star Hiking Club, and it is a year-round delight to run.   From some of the trail heads, there are loops, so you don't always have to do an out-n-back; i.e., 6 miles east of Richards, park at the trail head, follow the trail for a quarter mile and turn right at the fork.  follow the "Little Lake Creek Loop for 3 miles (mileage markers along the way), and turn left at the sign marked "West Fork Trail."  In about a quarter mile you'll see another fork in the road. Hang it to the left (sign says "main trail north").  It will take you back to the trailhead in about 3 and one-half miles -- for a total of about a 7 mile loop.  Now, when you get to the fork that says, "West Fork Trail," if you don't turn there but continue straight down the Little Lake Creek Loop, and stay to the right all along the way until you have to turn or curve left, you will eventually return to the trailhead where you are parked -- and it will be about 26 miles of trail running.  If at any point you should wind up coming out onto an asphalt road with a center yellow stripe, it means you've missed a turn somewhere and you've come out on FM149.  Not to panic. Simply turn left onto the asphalt road and run 5 to 7 miles back to the original trailhead (small sign saying 'Lone Star Hiking Trail) where you are parked.  And woila! before you know it, you've sufficiently trained for your next trail marathon!!

Trail Information: this trail sees a wide variety of foliage, and is inundated  with short sloping hills, lots of creeks to cross (dry in summer when no rain), up-and-down roller coaster-like terrain, but soft surface covered in pine needles, with some hidden tree roots (be careful to pick your feet up).

Miscellaneous Information: Always a beautiful run.  but bring plenty of water, a towel to bat away the spider webs in summer, and plenty of OFF spray in summer......

Gary W. Mayfield