Angelina National Forest reminds me of the kinds of forests you read about in fairy tales. There’s just something magical about it ? On my way to Nacogdoches, Texas I decided I was going to finally stop by this natural beauty and spend at least a couple of hours wandering around and hiking the nature trails. I ended up at Boykin Springs, located off the main highway, but only after getting lost and having to stop at a tiny local restaurant to ask for directions.
Just my luck, the main road leading to the trail was still closed off due to a ton of recent rain which resulted in flooding. Darn you Texas and your crazy weather! Despite that, this was my only chance to see Angelina National Forest and I wasn’t about to let a closed road stop me. I parked my car, got out, and walked about twenty minutes until I saw the entrance of Boykin Springs. Here are my favorite pictures from the day, including the historic Aldridge Sawmill at the end of the trail.
Sawmill Trail is 2.75 miles each way and not long after I began hiking, I came upon the stream and stopped to dip my feet in.
The Sawmill Trail is also home to lots of beautiful plants, flowers, and trees ?
There were lots of little bridges and inclines and there were a few places where I had to find a way to go around certain parts of the trail that were impassable.
And the end of the trail, you reach several dilapidated buildings aka the Aldridge Sawmill. The buildings are full of graffiti now, but back in it’s heyday there was a whole town around it including houses, a warehouse, school, hotel, store, and company offices. The original mill was built in 1905 by Hal Aldridge. The buildings that are still standing are from when the mill was rebuilt in 1911 after a fire.
Graffiti + overgrown ivy + old buildings + me alone = the opening scene of a horror movie. It was super cool to explore the abandoned sawmill but super creepy at the same time. One of the buildings was really dark inside and my better judgment told me not to go in. Every little noise made me freak out. I’m not sure what I was expecting to jump out ?
One of the buildings also has a huge hole in the side of it, which if I remember correctly from what the park ranger told me, was due to a cannon blast.
By the time I left Boykin Springs, it was open to the public again, but I still had to walk all the way back to my car ? It smelled so good out there and I happened to go on a quiet, peaceful day where I was the only person on the trails. I’d love to go back sometime and explore other sections of Angelina National Forest, and maybe go back and see the abandoned sawmill again but only if I had someone with me because I’m a scaredy cat ?