Lake Houston Park (Various Trails), New Caney (north of Houston)

Directions: Coming from Houston: Take I-59 North, exit 1485/New Caney. Take a right on FM 1485. FM 1485 will dead-end into 494, take a right. At the first light, take a left (this is the other leg of FM 1485). Go down FM 1485 for about a mile or two. Take a right on Baptist Encampment Rd. (look for the gas station on the right corner and a flashing yellow light). Follow the road a mile or two--drive carefully, there's a lot of curves. The entrance to the park will be on the left.

Trail Information: Lake Houston Park was a state park up until Aug. 2006, when ownership transferred to City of Houston. There's a $3 entrance fee unless you have the TX State Park Pass, which they say they will honor until they come up with their own version of a Park Pass. The park is approximately 7 square miles and approximately 16 miles of hike/bike trails, as well as separate equestrian trails. All natural surface, all shaded. There are two loop trails with switchbacks so you can make your run/hike longer or shorter according to what you feel like doing. There is also a one-way trail to the primitive camp sites--a run to and back is approximately 4 miles, and it's a beautiful run. OFF or Cutters is needed for mosquitoes, and the banana spiders can be pretty active in summer. Watch for snakes. Beautiful park, never too busy, wonderful staff. Access to San Jacinto River and Caney Creek, but not to Lake Houston. Bathrooms and showers are on site and are kept clean and stocked.

Tiffany