The parking area for the Woodlands Trail can be difficult to see: there are no signs on the road before you reach the small, unpaved drive and the signs for the Woodlands Trail at the parking area are a little tucked back. A GPS may not have a result for the trailhead either. The parking area is on FM 1276 on the east side 3.3 miles south of US 190 or 5.9 miles north of Dallardsville. There is parking available for perhaps a dozen vehicles, restrooms, and a kiosk.
This section of the Woodlands Trail is the shortest - the 3.3 miles in the National Preserve's naming convention implies you return to the trailhead while the section mapped out here doesn't include that overlap. You can think of the Woodlands Trail as a sort of upside-down-snowperson on a string. This section is the string and the head of the snowperson.
Begin from the parking area and head east. There is an old service road you meet immediately, but the direction of the trail is clearly marked. You'll pass along the southern side of Collins Pond, but views are unfortunately limited. The trail joins a section of power lines' right of way for a very brief period which could result in confusion, but the trail is quite clear where it exits the power line right of way. For the rest of the journey, you'll be in the namesake woods.
The trail heads north for about a mile, occasionally crossing small creeks which have nice bridges over them. You'll also get an occasional view of Big Sandy Creek. The northern section of the trail passes through thinner forest that has a lot of wildflowers on the forest floor. Finally, the trail makes a tiny loop at the northern end. You'll see both ends of the Woodlands Trail: 4.5-Mile Loop
trail should you want to extend the run further.