Lake Houston Wilderness Park

CONTACT INFO OFFICE HOURS
Address: 25840 FM 1485
                 New Caney, TX 77357
 Phone: 832.395.7690
 Email: lakehoustonwildernesspark@houstontx.gov
Sun. & Mon., 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
 Wed. & Thu 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
 Fri. & Sat., 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
 Closed Tues
Online Reservation CLICK HERE  Day use hours end at dusk

GENERAL INFORMATION

Lake Houston Wilderness Park (LHWP) is a beautiful, lushly forested expanse of nearly 5,000 acres, located three miles east of New Caney (approximately 30 miles north of Houston) off Hwy-59. Lake Houston Wilderness Park is the only park in the department that allows overnight stays in cabins and campsites.

Most of the park is heavily forested with over 20 miles of trails which provide a quiet escape from the bustling city. The park offers a variety of outdoor experiences for people of all ages including camping, hiking, trail running, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, birding, fishing and horseback riding trails (visitors must bring own bikes, fishing equipment, watercraft, and horses).

CLIMATE

The climate is usually warm and humid during the summer months and the winters are gener-ally mild and short. The average summer temperature is around 90° but overall the average temperature throughout the year is around 67°. The average rainfall 51 inches.

COVID-19 Guidelines:

Some of our facilities are not available for rental at this time. (Pine Grove Hall and Group Campsites.)

  • Please wear a mask when entering a public building.
  • Visitors are urged to pack extra soap and hand sanitizer as a precaution.
  • Please practice social distancing while visiting the park.
  • GENERAL
    PARK RULES
  • FEES
    AND RENTALS
  • SPECIAL
    EVENT FEES
  • PARK
    MAP / TRAILS
  • DAY USE
    FACILITIES
  • OVERNIGHT
    RENTALS
  • JOE TURNER
    NATURE CENTER
  • ARCHERY
    RANGE
  • EQUESTRIANISM
     
  • FREQUENTLY
    ASKED QUESTIONS
  • PARK
    HISTORY
  • PHOTO
    GALLERY
 GENERAL PARK RULES
  • Alcohol and glass bottles are prohibited.
  • Do not feed, harass, or harm wildlife.
  • All persons fishing in public creeks / rivers must have a Texas fishing license and follow fishing regulations.
  • Hunting is prohibited.
  • All pets must be kept on a leash, may not be left unattended, and are not allowed inside park buildings.
  • Four wheelers or any type of motorized off-road vehicle is prohibited.
  • Generators and other gasoline powered equipment is prohibited.
  • Parking allowed in designated areas only.
  • The use of drones is prohibited.
  • Metal detecting and artifact hunting is prohibited. Do not disturb historical areas.
  • Gathering Firewood or bringing firewood from outside of the park is not permitted.

Please be aware that

  • Lake Houston Wilderness Park is a wilderness park and there may be wildlife encounters [snakes, hogs, raccoons, white-tailed deer, insects, etc.] Please do not harm or feed any wildlife.
  • Conditions on natural waterways can change without warning, so keep safety in mind as you paddle the creeks.
  • Lake Houston Wilderness Park is not an access point for boating on Lake Houston. The park takes advantage of the woods along the creeks and rivers that empty into Lake Hou-ston but does not front onto the lake itself. Canoes can navigate anywhere south of the ca-noe launch area along Peach and Caney Creek. Also, Lake Dabney is a 3.5 acre lake that allows canoeing.

 FEES AND RENTALS

 Lake Houston Wilderness Park is open for day-use and overnight camping. However, the following facilities remain closed including Group Camping Sites, Group Lodges and the Pine Grove Hall.

Entrance Fee:
$3 per person ages 13-65
Children, seniors and military (with an ID) are free

Annual Passes:
Pass holders must be present at the time of use.
Individual Pass: $25 for up to 4 adults in one car
Group Pass: $60 for 50 people

 SPECIAL EVENT FEES

We invite you to consider holding your Special Event at Lake Houston Wilderness Park. Be aware that All Special Events require a Special Event Application and that additional permits may be required from the City of Houston for your event (for example permits for food, alcohol, and vendors).

Please note that Lake Houston Wilderness Park is a public park and will remain open to the public.

Initial Cost:
Wedding Fee:
Photography Filming Permit:
For information or application:
$326.59 (other park fees may be included)
$88.93
136.74
lakehoustonwildernesspark@houstontx.gov
Online Reservation CLICK HERE  Day use hours end at dusk
 PARK MAP / TRAILS

 DAY USE FACILITIES

Pine Grove Hall- $100.00 per 4 Hour Block plus Security Deposit

Large day use facility that accommodates up to 100 people, ideal for family reunions and celebrations. Includes full kitchen with 8-burner cook top and 2 ovens, 3-compartment sink, walk-in refrigerator, micro-wave, 20-8ft long tables and 100 chairs.

Block times are as follows:
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Both blocks may be rents together from 10 a.m.—8 p.m.

Facility requires a refundable security deposit. Guests are responsible for set up and break down of all chairs and tables. Guests are responsible for taking their trash to the dumpster. No pets or alcohol allowed.

Peach Creek Overlook- $28.03 per 3 Hour Block

Picnicking site located on deck next to the Peach Creek. Includes 5 picnic tables and 2 small barbeque grills.

Block times are as follows:
9:30am – 12:30pm
1:00pm – 4:00pm
4:30pm – 7:30pm

Reservations are required for groups of 8 or more people.

SPECIAL EVENT FEES

All special events require a special event application that may be received by contacting lakehoustonwildernesspark@houstontx.gov

Initial cost of hosting an event at LHWP: $326.59 (other park fees may be included)

  • Application must be filled out in full
  • Lake Houston Wilderness park is a public park and will remain open
  • Additional permits may be required from the City of Houston (food, alcohol and vendors)
t

Wedding Fee: $88.93

Photography/Filming Permit: $136.74

For more special event fees, click here

 OVERNIGHT RENTALS

*All rental prices are in addition to park admittance fees. *Facilities noted with Security Deposits require a refundable $125.00 payment at time of reserva-tion.

  • Camping permitted in designated areas only. All campsites and facilities require a paid permit that may be obtained online (CLICK HERE). For more information contact the front gate at (832) 395-7690.
  • Check-in time is at 3:00 p.m. — closing.
    (If any persons anticipate arrival after hours, please make arrangements with park personnel during operating hours to ensure entry). Arrivals after 10pm are not permitted.
  • Check-out time is at 12:00 p.m.
Overnight Camping - Rules

  • Gathering Firewood or bringing firewood from outside of the park is not permitted, bundles may be purchased at the front gate for $5.00 each.
  • All fires are to be burned inside designated fire rings.
  • Extension cords are only permitted within confines of pavilions, should not extend over 25 feet, and are not to be left unattended.
  • Generators and dry camping are prohibited.
  • Amplified music is prohibited.
  • Quiet time is from 10:00pm—6:00am.
  • Please be respectful to your neighbors and other park guests.
*If park rules are not followed, park guests will be asked to leave and no refund will be given.*
Individual Campsites- $7.00

Number of sites: 24 | people per site: 8

Located on the west side of the park, all individual sites are located in either Oakwood, Magnolia and Iron-wood loops. Accommodates a maximum of 2 tents. Amenities include fire ring with grill, picnic table, and lantern pole. Sites have access to centrally located electricity outlets and water.

Restroom and shower facility located nearby; no parking for individual sites, parking available in designat-ed lots nearby.

Primitive Campsites- $7.00

Number of sites: 4 | People per site: 8

These sites require approximately 1 to 2 miles of hiking down the Ameri-Trail from the parking lot on Ca-noe Launch Road. Sites include fire ring with grill but everything else you have to pack it in.

Recommended for experienced hikers only. No amenities such as restrooms, electricity and water available on site.

Group Campsites- $40.00: Peach Creek & Chinquapin

Peach Creek Group Site

Chinquapin Group Site

Number of sites: 2 | people per site: 50

Both sites are located near the nature center. Amenities include fire rings with grills, lantern poles, picnic tables, one group fire ring with benches, water table, and a covered pavilion with additional picnic tables, lighting, and electrical outlets.

Sites require a two-night minimum rental, restroom and shower facility located nearby; limited on-site parking available. Ideal for groups such as scouts and large families

Screen Shelters- $25.00

Number of sites: 5 | people per site: 6

These screened facilities are located off of Stable Road and quaintly tucked into the forest. Amenities include fire ring with grill, picnic table, water faucet, interior and exterior lighting, and electrical outlets inside shelter. One small tent may be pitched within rented facility area without reaching capacity limit. Closest restrooms and showers are located at the Peach Creek restroom building, other restrooms are Port-o-Cans located next to the Headquarters.

Nearby loading and unloading area; parking located at Nature Center Lot (approximately 100yds away).

A-Frames- $35.00

Number of sites: 5 | people per site: 6

Located off of Red Oak Road, these lakeside screened “A” shaped facilities offer amenities such as fire ring with grill, picnic table, water spicket, interior and exterior lighting, and electrical outlets inside shelter. One small tent may be pitched within rented facility area without reaching capacity limit.

Restroom and shower facility located nearby; on-site parking available for each site.

Rustic Cabin- $85.00 plus Security Deposit

Number of sites: 1 | people per site: 8

Newly renovated rustic shelter for a minimalistic cabin experience. Amenities include a bathroom with shower, AC and heating, ceiling fans, kitchen appliances such as microwave and small refrigerator, foldout table and chairs, outdoor patio with BBQ grill, fire ring and picnic table.

Facility requires a refundable security deposit and two-night minimum rental. No pets allowed, tents may be pitched in the backyard; on-site parking available.

Facility does not include beds, linens cooking, serving, or dining ware.; guests provide own sleep prepara-tions.

Lakeside Cabins- $125.00 plus Security Deposit

Number of sites: 6 | people per site: 6

The Lakeside Cabins are fully furnished with high ceilings. The cabins are located near Lake Dabney with amenities such as 2 queen sized beds, 1 queen size sofa bed, bathroom and shower, A/C and heating, ceiling fans, kitchen with appliances such as a standard refrigerator, microwave, stove and oven, dining area, small screened-in porch, outdoor fire ring with grill and picnic table.

Facility requires a refundable security deposit and two-night minimum rental. No pets allowed, no tents may be pitched; on-site parking available.

Facility does not include linens, cooking, serving, or dining ware.

Forest Lodge- $125.00 plus Security Deposit

Number of sites: 1 | people per site: 20 overnight

Renovated screened facility (1785 sq. ft) with a large central room with an indoor fireplace, BBQ grill, group fire ring with benches, refrigerator, cold water and electricity. This facility has no AC/heat but does include ceiling and floor fans. Restroom without shower is included, guest must shower at restroom facilities near by.

Facility requires a refundable security deposit and two-night minimum rental. No pets allowed, tents may be pitched in the backyard; on-site parking available.

Facility does not include beds, cooking, serving, or dining ware.; guests provide own sleep preparations

Lazy Creek- $150.00 plus Security Deposit

Number of sites: 1 | people per site: 30 overnight

Lazy Creek Lodge is a large screened facility (2176 sq. ft) that includes BBQ grill, group fire ring with benches, refrigerator, water and electricity. This facility has no AC/heat but does include ceiling and floor fans. Restroom without shower is included, guest must shower at restroom facilities near by.

Facility requires a refundable security deposit and two-night minimum rental. No pets allowed, tents may be pitched in the backyard, on-site parking available.

Facility does not include beds, cooking, serving, or dining ware.; guests provide own sleep preparations.

 JOE TURNER NATURE CENTER

The Joe Turner Nature Center is located within the park and is the perfect launch spot for an adventure out on the trails. Learn about the Piney Woods ecoregion and all the woodland critters that call LHWP home. Tour the Ecosystem Displays, which include the Wetlands Ecosystem Room featuring live fish and turtles; the Interesting Inverts Room, which features spiders and mounted insects of all types; the Reptile and Amphibians Room, containing live specimens of both venomous and non-venomous snakes as well as several lizards and amphibians; and, Eye on the Wilderness, an exciting display of local flora and fauna with lighting and sound effects. Also, explore the history of the park in the classroom or participate in a naturalist lead program.

Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Wed. – Sun.)
Closed: Mon. and Tue.
For information or reservations: 281.354.0173 | Lauren.hollenbeck@houstontx.gov
 ARCHERY RANGE

Our new archery range at LHWP is a great place to learn the basics of archery or come to practice what you already know! Currently our range is open by reservation only. We offer two options for range use beginner and individual range use. Archery range reservations, inquiries about beginner classes, or information on volunteering is available by emailing Lauren.hollenbeck@houstontx.gov. Note: All archery programs must be reserved 3 days before the date and may be limited to one per group.

General Archery Range Rules:
  • Ages 8 and up are eligible to participate in our archery programs.
  • All participants planning on shooting must pay $3 (in addition to the entrance fee to the park) at the front gate and sign a waiver.
  • Anyone not participating in archery, may still be at the range without paying the $3 fee to shoot.
  • Instructor-led Programs are around 1 hour long with full beginner instruction and equipment provided.
  • Archers may bring their own bows but still are required to follow the rules of the range.
  • All participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Crossbows and broadheads are not permitted.
Current COVID-19 restrictions:
  • All participants must wear a mask.
  • All programs are restricted 10 people or less (children and adults) to remain within the social distance guidelines.
  • All provided equipment is assigned and not shared between participants.

Instructor Led Beginner Classes (8 and up)

Class Length: 1-Hour
Equipment: Equipment provided or bring your own
For information or registration: Lauren.hollenbeck@houstontx.gov

Individual Range Use (No Instructor)

Class Length: 1-Hour use
Equipment: Bring your own equipment No instruction provided
 EQUESTRIANISM

Lake Houston Wilderness Park has over 13 miles of equestrian trails available. The wooded trails are flat to gently sloping and are generally wide. The equestrian trails lie along existing roadway and pipeline right-of-way. They provide access to the east fork of the San Jacinto River. Weather conditions may prevent park guests from riding equestrian trails, please contact park personnel beforehand at 832-395-7690 to ensure trails are suitable for riding.

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Is the park a boat access point to Lake Houston?
A. No, our park backs up to Lake Houston, but there is no public access to the lake. However, you can kayak to Lake Houston from the canoe launch. It is about a 5-mile trip down to the lake one way.

Q. How do I make a reservation?
A. Reservations are best made online. Click here to make a reservation.Please contact the front gate for any additional information or if you are attempting to make a reservation less than 3 days in advance.

Q. Do you accept credit cards?
A. Yes, everything except Discover.

Q. How far in advance can I make a reservation?
A. The earliest a reservation can be made 180 days from your check-out date. This is approxi-mately 6 months. Online reservations may not be booked less than 3 days in advance.

Q. How can I check for availability?
A. Click here and check our online reservation map for availability or call 832-395-7690.

Q. Do I need a permit to take professional pictures at LHWP?
A. Yes, all photography sessions and filming require a permit obtained at the gate house or over the phone at (832) 395-7690. The cost of this permit is $136.74 per day.

Q. What do I do if I have a problem or if I get lost?
A. Call the main number at 832-395-7690 and there is an option to transfer to the manager on call. For emergency, please call 911.

Q. Are horses allowed in the park and are there trails for them?
A. Yes, but visitors should only use designated equestrian trails. There is a separate map avail-able at the front gate. After are centrain, horses are not allowed in the park. Please be sure to contact us beforehand for trail conditions.

Q. Are there picnic areas with grills available?
A. Yes, there are day use areas that have some small grills available. The larger grills, covered canopies and the overlook are available unless reserved. To learn more about making a reservation, please visit the “Fees and Rentals” tab.

Q. Is there Wi-Fi available anywhere in the park?
A. No, but there are several nearby businesses outside the park that offer free Wi-Fi.

Q. Where should I bring my trash?
A. There are dumpsters located in several different parking lots for large bags. All trash should be picked up and left in trash cans after leaving.

Q. Where can I get firewood?
A. Firewood may be purchased at the front gate for $5.00 each. Gathering firewood or bring-ing firewood from outside the park is not permitted to reduce the risk of introducing invasive species from other areas.

Q. Are the trails paved?
A. No, trails are either dirt or natural terrain. There are 8 main trails: Ameri-trail, Loggers Loop, Yaupon, Dogwood, Forest, Peach Creek North and South, and the Magnolia Trail.

Q. What is the longest Trail?
A. The Ameri-trail is approximately 4 -5 miles one way, depending upon your starting point. THIS TRAIL IS NOT A LOOP. There is a lake at the end of the trail (Lake Isabel). You can take 5-mile road or follow the trail back. This trail is closed 2 hours before dark to ensure park guests do not get lost.

Q. Can I swim in Peach Creek?
A. Yes, at your own risk. We require water shoes.

Q. Where is the best place to bike?
A. All the trails are bike accessible, but the roads are best for thin wheeled bikes. A lot of our trails have sand deposits, so thick tires are best.

Q. Can I bring my dog to the park?
A.Yes, but they must remain on the leash and they are not allowed in any of the buildings

Q. Can we fish at the park and keep what we catch?
A. Yes, visitors must follow the state regulations if fishing from Peach Creek, Caney Creek, or the San Jacinto River. Lake Dabney and Lake Isabel are catch and release only.

Q. What type of fish will we catch?
A. The most typical fish that visitors will catch are as follows: Sunfish, Bluegill, White and Black Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and Gar. White and yellow bass may also be caught in the creek.

Q. Where is the best place to bird watch?
A. The park has a lot of diversity and if one is quiet along the trails, it will be great for bird watching. The front of the Nature Center is a great place to watch for birds because of the for-est edge and open fields. It is especially good in the morning or after a rainstorm.

Q. What should I do if I see a snake?
A. Leave it alone, this is their home. Snakes generally will not hurt anyone if left alone. Re-maining on the trails will help visitors be less likely to accidentally step on one. At night, it would be greatly advised to use a flashlight while walking around.

Q. Are UTVs, four-wheelers, or dirt bikes allowed at the park?
A. No, we do not allow four wheelers or any motorized off-road vehicles in the park.

Q. Can I hunt in the park?
A. No, there is no hunting allowed in the park.

Q. Do you rent out kayaks, canoes, or fishing equipment?
A. We do not currently offer rentals, but programs may be scheduled where equipment may be provided.

Q. Who do I call to report hunting or poaching?
A. To report any concerns regarding hunting, contact the Game Warden Dispatch at (512) 389-4848.

Q. What if I find injured or orphaned wildlife?
A.If you find an injured or orphaned wild animal in side the park, do not attempt to touch or move the animal. Call the nature center at 281-354-0173 or contact the main number 832-395-7690

*If you find an injured or orphaned wild animal outside the park, contact a local rehab or ani-mal control. Please DO NOT bring injured or orphaned animals to Lake Houston Wilderness Park.*

 PARK HISTORY

Lake Houston Wilderness Park land was settled by cattle ranchers in 1862, then as the surrounding area grew in population, so did the lumber industry with help of the Texas East and West Railroad.

Settlement Era-Mid 1800’s - The nearest community to the Park, New Caney, was first established in the 1860’s by settlers who farmed corn and cotton, while raising cattle on the open range.

Late 1800’s-1940By 1884 - New Caney had four steam-powered sawmills and a general store; at that time the community shipped cotton, syrup and hogs.

.

The Railroad network developed and the transportation to this area of Texas helped ex-pand the timber industry. Evidence of temporary rail lines can be found throughout the park (many of them are now trails or roads!).

By 1946, the town had progressed to about forty dwellings, three schools, a railroad sta-tion and about twelve other businesses (including two other timber companies that also owned the park land).

During this time, wildlife populations underwent a major change and there was a decline of many native species on this property.

1946-1970’s - Champion Paper Company purchased the tract of land that Lake Houston Wilderness Park sits on today and established the Papermill Pasture. The land was utilized for tim-ber production and recreation for the papermill supervisory staff.

Also during this time, The Peach Creek Girl Scout Ranch was operating next door to Champion Paper. This camp was known for horseback riding, primitive camping and recreation.

Transition to State Park Land: 1980–2006 - The state of Texas purchased 4584.22 acres from Champion Paper Company naming it Lake Houston State Park in 1981. The park opened for day use in 1992 and overnight camping in 1995.

In 1990, The San Jacinto Girl Scout Council sells Peach Creek Girl Scout Ranch to the State of Texas, which was an additional 202.4 acres of land (complete with campsites, lodges and an equestrian area), totaling the park at 4786.62 acres.

Transition to a City of Houston Park: 2006-present - Lake Houston State Park is transferred to the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Depart-ment on August 25, 2006. The park is renamed Lake Houston Wilderness Park (LHWP) and becomes Houston’s only park to allow overnight camping.

November 9, 2007 – Lake Houston Wilderness Park opens a nature center to enrich visitors experience and provide educational programs about wildlife.

January 28, 2009 - The SWA Group assists in creating the Lake Houston Wilderness Park (LHWP) Master Plan and it was presented to Houston City Council (read or download pdfs of LHWP Master Plan).

2012 – Improvements to the park were made such as a relocated park entrance, 4 new cabins and screened enclosures, roads, trails and access to creeks for canoes and kayaks.

2015 – Construction for a new restroom, 2 new Lakeside Cabins, and one-lane bridge over Peach Creek was completed, providing new improved access to the park.

September 2019 - The archery range is completed and opened with the assistance of partners such as Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S Fish and Wildlife, Montgomery County and Wildlife Restoration.

After Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019, Lake Houston Wilderness Park experienced sufficient damages to the many buildings, trails and utilities. This caused the park to reconstruct in a smarter, more sustainable way. This included extensive renovations on the Historical Peach Creek Girl Scout Ranch buildings such as Lazy Creek Lodge and the For-est Cottage, converting them into screened facilities to withstand future flooding events.

 PHOTO GALLERY