I've filed several other reports on Lake Houston, but keep finding new places to launch and paddle. For a lake surrounded by significant residential development, and one that is popular with the jet ski and water ski set, there are any number of places one can get away from it all, enjoy peace and quiet, and observe nature. This is one such spot.
The launch site is on Kings River Parkway. Kings River is a two lane thoroughfare used for access to the Kings River subdivision and several east of there. But, the traffic is only moderate and typically, local.
There are two parks on Kings River. The first is the location of the neighborhood swimming pool and play park. The second is basically an open area with picnic tables and benches that face the lake. Its located on a rather shallow arm of Lake Houston. Because of its size, I tend to call it a bay rather than a cove.
Parking is at curbside, there is no parking lot and one must carry, cart, or drag one's kayak or canoe about 200 feet to the lakeside. Launching is easy, there is a very gradual slope to the lake bottom and, in this part of the lake, the depth seldom is over 3 feet. Its a great location to introduce someone to kayaking or canoeing.
After launching at lakeside, I usually paddle past a point that's visible on the opposite shore of the bay area. Watch the shoreline and perhaps you will see one of the resident roseate spoonbills, often mistaken for flamingos.
About 300 feet past the point, there is a channel that leads to the main lake. The channel is wooded and willow, as well as other trees line the waterway. In this area, especially in the early morning and late evening, one is likely to see deer and other wildlife.
Upon getting to the main lake, which is properly the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, you have two choices: Paddle west toward the W. Lake Houston bridge, or go east. By going east, you encounter a very quiet and pretty channel that paralells the main channel of the lake. Again, it's peaceful with trees lining the bank. If you continue down the channel, you will come to the main lake and the end of the two islands that form the channel. By going west, you can go back to the launch point and return to the car. Other choices include paddling the West Fork channel back to the first channel you came down, go south and back to the launch site, paddle on upstream as far as you desire, or paddle east toward the main lake, not advisable on a windy day.
By traveling the two channels as described and returning to the launch area by the bay-like route, you will have traveled about 2.5 miles, a nice paddle. Hopefully, you will have seen a bit of wildlife. I'm not going to say this is the most beautiful spot in the world to paddle, but it's close to where many Houstonins live, and offers a few hours of good recreational paddling.
There are plenty of fast food eateries, grocery stores, gas stations, and even a Wal Mart on FM 1960 and the general area, though W. Lake Houston Parkway is mainly a non-business roadway.
Coming from Houston, go North on US 59 to FM 1960. Go right on 1960 and travel about 10 miles. At W. Lake Houston Parkway, turn left and go to Kings River Parkway, turn right. You'll pass a park, that's not the one. Keep going until you see on the left an open area with tables, benches, and a concrete walking path. Make a U turn and park curbside. Carry or wheel your kayak to the lake. Your vehicle should be safe, but, as in much of life, there are no guarantees. Kingwood, though is a middle to upper-middle class suburb not known as a high crime area.
Houston, TX road map