Double Lake Recreation Area
Image from The Dyrt camper Tim H.
The Double Lake Recreation Area campground is on the western shore of Double Lake. The campground has sites for tents and RVs, with electric hookups, flush toilets, showers, and canoe rentals. The 23-acre lake is a great place to fish for bass, bream, and catfish. For land activities, take advantage of the 21-mile mountain biking trail around the lake or the 5-mile hiking trail featuring the best of the Big Creek Scenic Area. You can also enjoy the sandy beaches or head over to Lake Livingston for even more fish species. Double Lake Recreation Area is a great place to relax, rewind, and enjoy the splendors of the wilderness.
We enjoyed camping at Double Lake. The campsites are huge and well kept. We had a lakefront site which had a private little path to the lake. The shore was good for fishing. There is a trail which goes around the whole lake, and it was such a nice hike we did it several times. There are plenty of shady sites, which makes this a great campground for summer in Texas. There is a swimming area but we didnt get in the water. We will definitely camp here again. Debbie J.
Navigating The National Forest Services Website
The U.S. Forest Services website is of an older design and can be difficult to navigate, as it groups all Texas parks together and organizes information by activities, rather than by the individual forests and destinations.
When visiting it and looking for more detailed visitor information, select the activity that interests you in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. Then once, you land on the page, scroll down towards the bottom for details specific to San Houston National Forest.
Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area
Image from The Dyrt camper Dan X.
The Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area campground is on the shores of Stubblefield Lake . The campground has spacious sites for tents and non-electric RVs up to 28 feet. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, flush toilets, and showers, and some campsites overlook the lake. The campground gives you instant access to the lake, where you can drop a small boat in and fish for largemouth bass, or float the water in your kayak. You can also hike the Stubblefield Nature Trail and watch for local bird species. Stubblefield Lake is a quiet respite from the city that will leave you feeling refreshed and restored.
Super roomy sites in the woods, quiet, and easy access to the lake. Stayed two nights on a cross country drive. Did some kayak fishing and a 25 mile bike ride on the state forest / country roads many trucks but generally courteous drivers who gave me the lane. Trees for hammocks at basically every site! LOTS of birds if youre into that. Dan X.
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Park Spotlight: Sam Houston National Forest
In our Park Spotlight series, we take a closer look at Houstons vast array of public recreational areas to shine a light on hidden and not so hidden gems. This week well be spotlighting Sam Houston National Forest. Join us as we take a trip through Houston, park by park.
Located just 50 miles north of Downtown in New Waverly, Sam Houston National Forest offers park-goers expansive, wooded recreation, and wildlife areasperfect for those looking to hike, hunt, camp and more.
One of four national forests in Texas, the park spans 163,037 acres between Huntsville, Conroe, Cleveland and Richards, Texas.
And with land in Montgomery, Walker, and San Jacinto counties, the Sam Houston National Forest is intermingled with privately owned timberlands, small farms, and the district rangers office located three miles west of New Waverly on FM 1375.
Sam Houston National Forest Camping Sites For A Weekend Getaway
This article about Sam Houston National Forest camping is brought to you by Shamma Sandals. Look out for their new hiking boot available this fall!
Sam Houston National Forest camping is the perfect way to escape the commotion of city life and get away for a weekend. Theres no better way to restore your sanity and rejuvenate your spirit and with over 160,000 acres of rivers, lakes, and forest, youll find the best fishing, hiking, and mountain biking anywhere outside the city. These are the best Sam Houston National Forest camping spots for all kinds of campers.
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Things To Do At Huntsville State Park:
Hiking: Definitely, our favorite thing to do at Huntsville State Park! This park offers almost 20 miles of hiking trails, with distances ranging from 0.2 miles on the easy Loblolly Trail to 8.5 miles on the challenging Triple C Trail. Two trails completely circle the park. If you are interested in an easy trail that is longer than the Loblolly Trail, check out the Coloneh Trail which runs 0.8 miles between the Coloneh and Raven’s Hill Camping Areas. Trailhead parking is available throughout the park. Serious hikers may want to check into the Lone Star Hiking Trail which runs near the state park line through the Sam Houston National Forest. The 129 mile Lone Star Hiking Trail is the only long-distance National Recreation Trail in Texas, and is Texas’ longest continuously marked and maintained path. None of the park trails connect to the Lone Star Hiking Trail.
Paddling: 215 acre Lake Raven is a no-wake lake that is contained completely within the boundaries of Huntsville State Park. This is an easy place to paddle for even novice kayakers like us. You can bring your own kayak or canoe, or rent one from the boathouse located right next to the park store. Paddleboats are also available for rent.
Boating: Small boats are allowed on the lake, but must not create a wake. The park’s boat ramp is located between the Raven Lodge day use area and the screened shelters.
Boat Rentals are Available at the Boathouse
Huntsville State Park has 2 Lighted Fishing Piers
Park Store Air Pump
Lone Star Trail Primitive Camp Number Two
The Lone Star Trail Primitive Camp Number Two is a dispersed camping area off of Lone Stars trailhead #13. This primitive camping area has free first-come-first-served sites for tent camping. Since the campground is primitive, there are no amenities, and youll need to come prepared with water and other hygienic tools. Hikers trekking the 130-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail will enjoy this quiet place to camp while you rest and refuel. The trail takes you through the best of the Sam Houston National Forest, showing off lakes, creeks, and lush wilderness. The Lone Star Trail primitive camping area is the perfect place to step out of daily life and take in the wonders of the Sam Houston National Forest.
Nice place for tent camping. There is no water bathrooms or electricity. Great place for being in contact with nature. If you are looking to be away from the civilization but at the same time not that far it is perfect. Daniel L.
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Screened Shelters At Huntsville State Park:
Shelters with Air Conditioning and Heating
Total Shelters: 2
Water and Electricity at Site
30/50amp RV Electrical Hookups at Site
Park at the Shelter
Each shelter at Huntsville State Park includes a picnic table, fire ring, BBQ grill. Bring your own bedding and all of your own supplies. A comfort station with showers is located within the shelter area. And yes, we confirmed with the park that RVs can reserve a shelter site. All of the shelter sites have 30/50amp hookups and water connections for RVs. A dump station is shared with the Prairie Branch Camping Area.
Other Amenities At Huntsville State Park:
CCC Structures: The CCC built Raven Lodge is available for rent for special events. It is air conditioned and heated, and includes private restrooms and a kitchen. We attended a family anniversary party there and it was a great venue. The boathouse is also a CCC structure. As with many Civilian Conservation Corps parks, you find little hints to their history throughout the park. Part of the fun is looking for them while you explore.
One thing we always find interesting about park structures built by the CCC is their design. National Park architects designed park buildings to blend into and compliment their environment and that is why the style of CCC-built structures is unique to each park. Here, for example, Raven Lodge is an unassuming wood paneled building that fits right in nestled amongst the forest trees overlooking Lake Raven. Be sure to go around the back and check out the view from its patio.
Park Store: Huntsville State Park’s store is located next to the boathouse in the day use area near the Raven Lodge. They sell ice, ice cream, a few camping items, small groceries and souvenirs. Just outside the store, you’ll find the park’s air machine. For 75 cents you can air up your bike tires, inflatable kayak or stand up paddleboard, or anything else needing a little bit of air.
Amphitheater: Located behind the Nature Center, the amphitheater is a meeting place for ranger-led programs.
Park Address: 565 Park Road 40 W, Huntsville, TX 77340
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Water Soil And Minerals
The Sam Houston National Forest is drained through several small creeks into the east and west forks of the San Jacinto River, and a small portion drains into Lake Livingston.
Lake Conroe, on the west fork of the San Jacinto River was dammed in 1972. It is in the southwestern part of the Sam Houston National Forest near Conroe, Texas. Lake Livingston on the Trinity River was dammed in 1968 and is located on the Northeastern side of the Sam Houston National Forest near Coldspring, Texas.
The Sam Houston National Forest lies within the Gulf Coastal Plains, and the principal soils were developed from unconsolidated beds of clay, sand, sandy clay, or clay shale materials comprising old non-calcareous sediments of the Tertiary and Pleistocene Ages. The soils range from slightly to severely erosive, although any of the soils in the forest will erode if the right conditions such as heavy rains or where concentrations of waterflow are present.
Exploration and drilling for minerals in the Sam Houston National Forest is part of the multiple-use program. Mineral extraction and drilling, allowed under certain conditions, help meet energy needs. Many of the forest minerals belong to private entities who reserved the mineral rights when the lands were purchased during the 1930s, and under the terms of the deed, these outstanding and reserved minerals can be legally explored and removed by the owner.
The Gulf Coast Trades Center is located in the forest.
Sam Houston Jones State Park
The following parks received significant damage from Hurricane Ida in 2021 :
Fontainebleau State Park – campgrounds reopened Sept. 24. Cabins remain closed until further notice.
Grand Isle State Park – sustained serious damage and will remain closed until further notice.
Sam Houston Jones State Park – received major damage following hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020 and remains closed. Estimated reopening of the park is either late spring or early summer of 2022.
Friday, Saturday and days preceding holidays.
- open at 6 a.m.
- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and days preceding holidays.
- 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Free for seniors
Free for children
Originally named for the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana, Sam Houston Jones was given its current name in honor of the state’s 46th governor, who was instrumental in setting aside this tract of land for the public to enjoy for both day-use and overnight visitors.
Because the caretakers of this 1,087-acre park have worked to keep the land in its natural state, abundant wildlife inhabits the area. Tree-filled lagoons and a mixed pine and hardwood forest combine to create a unique natural environment. The park is located just north of the most productive birding region of Louisiana. The bird watching is always excellent, but at certain times of year, nearly 200 species of birds can be seen at or within 30 miles of the site.
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The History Of Huntsville State Park:
Today, Huntsville State Park is a beautiful 2,083 acre wooded park that sits just outside the boundaries of the Sam Houston National Forest. But it didn’t always look like this.
Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, this area was a beautiful forest of tall trees, fresh water creeks, fish, birds, berries and wildlife. When European explorers first came to this area back in the sixteenth century, they found the Bidai, a group of Native American people who were farmers, hunters and gatherers. The Spaniards returned in 1774 to establish the first European settlement in this area approximately 34 miles north of here.
During the mid-late 1800s, the northern United States faced a shortage of lumber. The railroad’s arrival in this area in 1871 brought the promise of prosperity. Since this region had an abundance of trees, it made economic since to set up logging companies here to harvest the trees and ship them north via train. The logging industry continued here from the 1880s into the early 1900s. Historians believe that most of the logging had stopped here by the beginning of World War I, and by the 1930s, the trees had begun to grow back.
The CCC-Built Raven Lodge
The first CCC companies to arrive here were forestry companies. They worked from 1933 until 1937 on flood control, firefighting and generally preparing the land. They built early roads, culverts and bridges here.
Wildflowers at Huntsville State Park
A Great Blue Heron Relaxing on the Pier
We Always Enjoy Our Visits To Huntsville State Park:
Video: Huntsville State Park Tour
As Native Houstonians, we’ve spent a lot of time at Huntsville State Park over the years. The park is located just about an hour north of Houston just off of I-45/I-75, between New Waverly and Huntsville, Texas, barely outside the Sam Houston National Forest. Its easy to access location makes it a great park to get away for a week, a weekend or even for just a few hours during the day. Over the years, we done all of those things and we’ve always found the park to be a relaxing get-away.
Huntsville is where you’ll begin to see some gentle rolling hills as you drive north from Houston. These small hills aren’t anything like you’ll see in the Texas Hill Country at Garner State Park or even further northeast around Mission Tejas State Park or Tyler State Park, but they are enough to make leveling your RV a bit of a challenge in some of the campsites. Be sure to bring your leveling blocks and be prepared to spend some time choosing the right site for you once you get here. But trust us, once you are all set up, that little challenge is absolutely worth it to get to stay within this beautiful park!
Our Campsite in the Raven Hill Camping Area
Hiking with Stacie’s Mom
Camping loops on both sides of the lake have access to trail heads for hiking and biking. There is also trailhead parking throughout the park and parking at the Nature Center/Amphitheater.
Our Campsite in the Prairie Branch Camping Area
Hiking Amongst the Tall Trees
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Adventure Awaits You At Sam Houston National Forest
Less than 30 minutes from ARTAVIA, lies a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, the Sam Houston National Forest is remarkable for its biodiversity, year-round mild weather and almost limitless outdoor activities.
The forest contains 163,037 acres and it is located between Huntsville, Conroe, Cleveland and Richards, Texas. It is composed of land in Montgomery, Walker, and San Jacinto counties. These three counties have yielded evidence of human occupation dating back at least 12,000 years.
Today, this lush landscape has been carefully nurtured to the benefit of amazing vegetation, wildlife, birds and, of course, humans seeking refuge from urban life.
Cagle Recreation Area: 344
Cagle Recreation Area, located on the shores of Lake Conroe, offers great fishing and water sports just 45 minutes north of Houston. Cagle has a boat ramp, hiking trails and two camping loops with 47 full-service RV sites nestled among the pines of the Sam Houston National Forest. Sites offer drinking water, electricity and sewer hookups plus a tent pad, lantern post and fire ring.
Reservations for all sites must be made at least 48 hours in advance online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
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National Forests And Grasslands In Texas
Usda Forest Service, Texas.
The National Forests in Texas provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities! There are dozens of developed recreation areas and trailheads, offering camping experiences ranging from highly developed to primitive. Camping is offered on a first-come, first-served basis in developed recreation areas, and some larger or more popular areas , offer reservations through www.recreation.gov. Forest visitors can now camp up to 28 days at selected recreation areas in the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas.
There is a day-use fee at highly developed areas with swimming or boating facilities. Campground facilities generally include tent pads, picnic tables, parking spurs for trailers, lantern posts, grills, potable water, and toilets.
View the Recreation Matrix to see the amenities that the campgrounds have to offer.
Other helpful information:
Sam Houston National Forest
There are three developed campgrounds in the Sam Houston National Forest . Double Lake facilities are available by reservations or on a first-come, first-served basis if site has not previously reserved. Cagle and Stubblefield are available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Reservation can be completed by calling the National Recreation Service at 1/877/444-6777 or by internet at www.recreation.gov
Cagle Recreation Area is located along the shoreline of Lake Conroe on the west fork of the San Jacinto River. Cagle is a new campground with full service hook-ups. It has a boat ramp with large parking lot, 48 camping spurs with electric, fresh-water & sewer connections, hot showers with restrooms, lakeshore hiking & bicycle trails, wildlife viewing, Lake Conroe boating and water sports, fishing, a picnic area overlooking Lake Conroe, shoreline wading & swimming, 85 miles of ORV, equestrian and mountain bike trails close as well as 129 miles of hiking on the Lone Star Hiking Trail. This area is covered with beautiful large pine and hardwood trees plus thousands of colorful wildflowers. Mid February redbud tree blossoms followed by dogwood tree blossoms in early March are a spectacular outdoor flower show.
Cagle is five miles west of Interstate 45 on state road FM-1375 at New Waverly, Texas.
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