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Gulf State Park Recreation Trail

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IF YOU GO:

Location: Gulf Shores, Ala.

Phone: 251.981.1063

Tickets: $15 per person

Details: Take a Tour of the Wild

Learn about the Wildlife of the Alabama Gulf Coast’s “Pleasure Island” with a two-hour trip through the pristine woodlands and natural habitats of Gulf State Park’s Backcountry Trail.

The cost is $15 per person and the motorized tours are available by reservation only. You are encouraged to bring snacks and beverages and insect spray.

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a multi-use, handicapped accessible asphalt and boardwalk trail that winds through the pristine coastal forests within the City of Orange Beach and Alabama's Gulf State Park.

Website: www.backcountrytrail.com

 

Take a Tour of the Wild

Learn about the Wildlife of the Alabama Gulf Coast’s “Pleasure Island” with a two-hour trip through the pristine woodlands and natural habitats of Gulf State Park’s Backcountry Trail.

The cost is $15 per person and the motorized tours are available by reservation only. You are encouraged to bring snacks and beverages and insect spray.

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a multi-use, handicapped accessible asphalt and boardwalk trail that winds through the pristine coastal forests within the City of Orange Beach and Alabama’s Gulf State Park.

Nestled along freshwater lakes and streams less than a mile north of the Gulf of Mexico, the trail supports numerous uses, including walking, running, biking, roller blading, nature hikes and bird watching. The trail is named after the director of Gulf State Park Hugh S. Branyon in honor of his vision to improve public access to the diverse spectrum of nature.

The trail stretches along the unspoiled coastal lowland area of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The City of Orange Beach and Alabama State Parks forged a partnership in 2003 to open the first 1.75-mile leg along the historic Catman Road. The trail has expanded to 7.5 miles of paved walkways with three trailheads, fullservice restrooms, a screened, covered picnic pavilion and a butterfly garden.

From Roads to Trails

The Branyon trail system began with a “Roads to Trails” project on County Road 2 (“Catman Road”). As the town of Gulf Shores grew, and Highway 182 was developed, the Alabama Department of Transportation dropped the designation of County Road as the route fell into disuse. Gulf State Park developed part of the route into the existing campground. Park Superintendent Hugh Branyon began working on plans to turn the remainder of the old road into a hiking and biking route.

 

There are six trails among six distinct ecosystems make up more than 11 miles of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex through Orange Beach, Ala., and the Gulf State Park.

Explore the timeless beauty of the Butterfly Garden, the mystical Freshwater Marshes and the Coastal Hardwood Swamps. Catch a glimpse of a Bobcat on the Twin Bridges or a White Tailed Deer on Gulf Oak Ridge. View an Alligator basking

Backcountry Trail System is home to six wet pine flatwoods, live oak maritime forests, coastal dune and swales, longleaf sand ridges, freshwater marshes and coastal hardwood swamps. Each ecosystem contains its own diversity of native plant.

The trail is a birdwatcher’s paradise with four locations on the trail, Gulf Oak Ridge, Twin Bridges, Catman Road and Rosemary Dunes, named by the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail as viewing points.

The trail is home to many reptile species with two excellent viewing locations for American Alligators; Rosemary Dunes and Gulf Oak Ridge. Mammals commonly seen on the trail also include armadillos, raccoons, coyotes, otters, foxes, and wild boar. Interpretive signs are strategically placed along the trail to identify many of the natural features of this diverse terrain.