Tucked away in the piney woods of East Texas is the 150,000 acre Angelina National Forest. Our focus is the Sawmill Trail, a 5.5 mile trail that starts by following the twists and turns of a beautiful woodland creek and ends at an abandoned sawmill that could inspire a horror film — creepy! For those who don’t like the sound of that, don’t worry — the first 2 miles of this hike are lovely and provide beautiful scenery of what lies behind the pine curtain of East Texas.
Tall pines, whirling wind, and a series of bridges navigate you through this wonderful wooded landscape. Start your hike at the Boykin Springs Recreation Area parking lot, cross the first bridge and turn left across the lawn adjacent to the bathrooms. You will see a sign at the far end of the lawn pointing vertically for the Sawmill trail. Descend into the small wash and cross via the stepping stones and then go up the bank. Head to hikers right after crossing and pickup the trail near the next road. As you hike, keep your eyes peeled for yellow indicators on the trees that lead the way.
The Sawmill hike is a must do in the fall, we visited the first week of November and were treated to amazing autumnal foliage, perfect weather and low crowds. As you follow the creek through the woods, you will pass a series of waterfalls (dependent upon recent rain fall) that shimmer a golden reflection of the canopy overhead. Hike about 1.5-2 miles into the trail — if you want to see the Sawmill, go the full 2.75 miles. Whenever you decide to turn around, return along the same trail and exit at the Boykin Springs Recreation Area.