Angelina National Forest

Angelina National Forest

Texas

Managed by U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region

402,231 acres (153,180 federal/ 249,051 other)

Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/texas/home

Overview

Angelina National Forest lies in the piney woods region of eastern Texas dominated by longleaf, loblolly, and shortleaf pine trees.  In 1935, land acquisition began to create Angelina and the three other nearby National Forests it is co-managed with (Davy Crockett, Sabine, and Sam Houston).  Sam Rayburn Reservoir bisects Angelina National Forest into a north and south section in the flooded Neches River Basin.

Highlights

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Boykin Springs Recreation Area, Caney Creek Recreation Area, Black Branch Barrens, Bouton Lake, Aldridge Sawmill Historic Site, Sawmill Trail

Must-Do Activity

Other than Sam Rayburn Reservoir, the most developed portion of the National Forest is Boykin Springs Recreation Area.  The lake, campground, and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures are at the end of 2.5-mile long Forest Road 313 off Highway 63.  About twenty minutes away Bouton Lake (12 acres) is located seven miles down Forest Road 303 and offers primitive camping, fishing, and an overgrown hiking trail amidst bottomland hardwoods and baldcypress trees (please respect the private property on the west side).

Best Trail

The 5.5-mile out-and-back Sawmill Trail connects Boykin Springs Recreation Area to the Aldridge Sawmill Historic Site.  The trail goes through a burn and can be hard to follow in places due to multiple user trails, so be sure to follow the yellow-painted metal markers on trees.  The sawmill has been heavily sprayed with graffiti, but if you aim your camera up to the second story it does not look as bad.  The trail that used to connect to the sawmill from Bouton Lake has been closed since it crossed private property.

Watchable Wildlife

At Boykin Springs Recreation Area we spotted a pileated woodpecker, cardinal, robins, and crows.  The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker can be found in the longleaf pine forests.  On the Sawmill Trail we saw a copperhead snake near the creek and turtles in the pond at the end.  Hunters seek white-tailed deer, wild turkey, American woodcock, and bobwhite quail in the forest, which also provides wintering habitat for bald eagles.

Instagram-worthy Photo

A cool rock spillway originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1938 drains from the nine-acre lake at Boykin Springs Recreation Area.  It was reconstructed to its original appearance in the years after Hurricane Rita hit in 2005.

Peak Season

Spring and fall

Fees

None

Road Conditions

Forest Road 303 to Bouton Lake is a very good dirt road, but the west side of the lake is privately owned and a one-lane road leads to a gate, so unless you want to drive backwards for a ways just park as soon as you get to the camping area.

Camping

There are developed campgrounds at Boykin Springs and Caney Creek Recreation Areas, plus an undeveloped (and free) area to camp at Bouton Lake.

Wilderness Areas

Turkey Hill Wilderness

Upland Island Wilderness

Related Sites

Big Thicket National Preserve (Texas)

Davy Crockett National Forest (Texas)

Sabine National Forest (Texas)

Nearest National Park

Hot Springs (Arkansas)

Conifer Tree Species

baldcypress, longleaf pine, shortleaf pine, loblolly pine

Flowering Tree Species

laurel oak, blackjack oak, post oak, overcup oak, swamp chestnut oak, cherrybark oak, water oak, black hickory, water hickory, red maple, American beech, American holly, yaupon holly, southern magnolia, sweetbay magnolia, swamp red bay, water tupelo, water elm, winged elm, Carolina ash, green ash, wax myrtle

Explore More – Other than looking cool, what function do the knees serve that protrude from the baldcypress root system?

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