Trail Between the Lakes is a 28 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Hemphill, TX that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Pineland, TX: Follow FM 2426 east for 10 miles; turn right (south) on Highway 87 for 3 miles; turn left (east) on FM 2928 for 3.5 miles to end of paved road; follow signs to Lakeview (approximately 4 miles).An alternative approach is from State Highway 96 within sight of the easternmost point of Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
Great hike overall. We hiked the 28 miles in 12.5 hours. Glad we took water and rested from time to time. Moving from east to west, miles 1-17 were great. Well kept and adequately marked. There were only some recent erosion areas or fallen trees that slowed us down a bit. Around mile 18 there was a recent tree clearing that seemed to inadvertently remove the trail markers and cover the path so we took a light duty road south to FM 2426 till we reconnected about mile 19. Miles 20-23 were the most difficult to navigate. Markers were sometimes hard to find and we had some growth to deal with. It probably didn't help that fatigue was taking its toll on us as well! Miles 24 through 28 were great. Thanks to the volunteers working hard to maintain the trail!
I didn't care for this trail. Maybe I wasn't on the right section of it. I can't hike the entire thing. I started at the Lakeview Recreation Area and me and my dogs went about 2 miles and turned around. There were no views of the water anywhere except for one part where I hiked off the trail to actually see it. It was just a walk through the woods basically. It was very pretty at the Lakeview Recreation Area though. When we were done with our hike, we enjoyed the beauty of the lake before we left.
Reference my GPX file under tracks. Trail is fairly decent but very over-grown in many areas. The area between Jones Cemetery and 87 isn't too bad. East of 87 there are some very over-grown areas and fallen trees from lightning strikes. Creeks are mostly stagnant but we filtered from them with no ill effects. Storm rolled through around mile 6 and ended our day.
All in all a pretty moderate hike with a lot of creek crossings. Ticks and spiders are very prevalent as are chiggers. We saw one Copperhead, a juvenile. Would like to hike through to the small Yellow Pine lake.
Humidity before and especially after rain was intense. 90 degrees and no breeze except on the pipeline.
I really enjoyed this hike. My son, dog, and I made it an overnight hike. I personally mentally enjoyed having to crawl/jump through multiple creeks although it ate up our energy level. Some creeks were tough for my dog to navigate but we all made it. We carried our own water for the trip which turned out to be a good thing as the creek water was completely still and stagnant. Trail was hard to identify for long stretches at a time which ate up our time as we had to keep stopping at certain points to try to locate it. One particular stretch is completely overgrown with weeds and bushes almost over our heads which was actually kind of fun looking back. This trail is a good hike for adults and older adolescents. Only real complaints include seeing absolutely no wildlife, occasional difficulty finding the trail which kills your time (if you are on a schedule), and I lost my keys somewhere along the way. We got caught in a thunder storm, which was interesting. We had to build a shelter to get out of the rain, but that was relatively easy with all the downed/leaning trees and our emergency blankets. Just had to watch for falling limbs. It was evident much of the forest had experienced fires which killed a lot of the trees.
Overall, really good hike. Good for those with moderate or higher fitness level.
Just returned from hiking TBTL. Completed all 28 miles in 13 hours and 55 minutes.
The trail is pretty, quiet, and remote. We were on the trail all day and never saw another person. Saw no wildlife either, which was a bit disappointing.
For several long stretches, there really is no "trail." You have to keep a sharp eye out for the trail markers. At times, even these are hard to spot since often they are spaced out too far. If you are out on the trail after dark, it is at times VERY difficult to follow the markers.
Great trail. Looking forward to spending many more hours on it.
Trail Between the Lakes is a challenging and beautiful hike in east Texas. I am used to hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, so the level terrain made hiking here quite comfortable for me. My only complaint about this trail is that there is no good water to be drawn from the creeks in the area.
I have made two attempts to hike the entire 28 miles in one day--once in January 2012, and once in August 2012. I made it 21 miles in January, and 17 miles in August (105 degrees--way too hot!!) before hitchhiking to my car. I still think it is possible to do it, and am making another attempt next week. It is necessary to be out on the trail after dark, which is fine for the most part, but it is difficult at times to spot the trail markers by headlight.
The hike is good also because it can be broken up. The trail crosses primary roads at 3 points, so cars can be parked at trail intersections for shorter hikes. It is also an excellent trail for overnight trips, although you would need to cache water along the route.
One other nice thing about the TBTL: it is remote and primitive. Some people don't like primitive trails, but being one who likes to get away from people when he goes to the woods, I enjoy the fact that you are not likely to see another soul at any point on the trail. I've only been twice, but have hiked long stretches on it both times and never saw anyone else on it.
The best time to go is in late fall, winter, or early spring. Summer is OK, but take a shady siesta between the hours of 2 and 5 when the sun is the hottest. Take advantage of early mornings and twilight to do your hiking in summer.
Have fun, and stay safe!
Going backpacking Feb 2013 along the whole trail with Scouts. Anyone who has hiked this trail please provide a review.