One of four national forests in Texas, 50 miles north of Houston, the Sam Houston National Forest is 50 miles north of Houston and extends over 163,000 acres. It is a major refuge for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and amblers who walk some of the 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail of marked woodland trails will likely encounter one of these remarkable birds. You can spot the male with his single "cockade" of bright red feathers on each side of each head. Other birds you'll find in the forest include brown-headed nuthatches, Bachman's sparrows, and Swainson's warblers. Winter residents include ospreys and bald eagles. If you want to wake to birdsong, primitive camping is allowed along the trail except during deer hunting season (November and December) when it is restricted to designated campsites.