One of four national forests in Texas, the Angelina National Forest is pawfect for getting away from it all and spending some time in nature with the whole family, including furry members! Nestled in the heart of east Texas, this sprawling site covers 153,179 acres in Angelina, San Augustine, Nacogdoches, and Jasper Counties, and contains several developed recreation areas for two- and four-legged outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.
Two of these recreation areas are Bouton Lake and Boykin Springs, which offer camping, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, and swimming. They are linked by the 5.5-mile Sawmill Hiking Trail, a scenic route that will take you and Fido back in time. Follow this path past old bridges and sawmill ruins, and along an old tramway that was used to transport logs to the sawmills until 1920. Don't miss the ¾-mile spur near the middle section of the trail, too—it will lead you and your pup to the old Aldridge Sawmill site. Though now covered in graffiti, the 40-foot walls of the ruins provide a peek into the area's lumber industry history.
In the middle of the forest is the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, one of the largest man-made lakes in the state. The Caney Creek and Sandy Creek recreation areas sit on the shores of the lake, offering camping, boating, picnicking, and fishing. The reservoir and the surrounding forest provide wintering habitat for the bald eagle, so keep your eyes peeled for this threatened species during the colder months. Opportunities to encounter wildlife are available year-round, though, as the Angelina National Forest is home to hundreds of species, including deer, wild turkey, woodcock, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Whichever parts of the forest you and Fido explore, always keep your canine pal on a leash and clean up after them. Bring plenty of water and clean-up bags for your adventure. For a pawsome outdoor experience in east Texas, spend a weekend at the Angelina National Forest!