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The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a network of multiuse trails winding through Gulf State Park in southern Alabama. It is named in honor of Hugh S. Branyon, who was instrumental in developing and preserving the park.
The ADA-accessible trail system covers over 28 miles and features a variety of landscapes, including coastal dunes, wetlands, pine forests, and freshwater marshes. Along the way, visitors may encounter a variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species. The trail network offers visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty and diverse ecosystems of the park.
The trail system is made up of multiple interconnected trails, each with its own unique character and attractions. These trails include the following:
The Gulf Oak Ridge Trail (3.2 miles) winds through a maritime forest of live oaks and palmettos.
The Rosemary Dunes Trail (1.6 miles) takes you through some of the highest dunes in the park, providing breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. The trail is also home to a variety of plant and animal species, including the endangered Alabama beach mouse.
The Twin Bridges Trail (1.75 miles) takes you across two bridges over Lake Shelby and offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding wetlands. The trail is a popular spot for bird watching and wildlife photography.
The Cotton Bayou Trail (1.5 miles) winds through a beautiful coastal wetland area, offering opportunities to see a variety of waterfowl and wading birds. The trail is also a great spot for fishing and kayaking.
The Catman Road Trail (1.9 miles) follows a former roadway through coastal scrubland and pine trees.
The Rattlesnake Ridge Trail (2 miles) leads up to a scenic overlook that offers panoramic views of the park and surrounding areas. The trail is also home to a variety of reptiles, including the eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
Additional trails in the network connect various points of interest within the park, including the Gulf State Park Pier, Lake Shelby, and the Gulf State Park Nature Center.
There are several trailheads located throughout the park that provide access to the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, including the Gulf State Park Campground, Gulf State Park Nature Center, and the Catman Road Trailhead. These trailheads offer amenities such as parking, restrooms, and drinking fountains.
The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is an expansive multiuse trail network that provides visitors with a chance to explore the captivating scenery and abundant wildlife of Gulf State Park. Visitors can take in the picturesque views and experience the park's natural splendor.
Parking is available at several trailheads throughout Gulf State Park, providing convenient access to the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Visit the TrailLink map (20115 State Park Rd, Gulf Shores) for all options and detailed directions.
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