Encounter the magnificent canopies of ancient mossy oaks atop the Islands highest bluff, 34 feet above sea level, while twisting and turning along the mystical trail of the Gulf Oak Ridge. The Gulf Oak Ridge Trail offers hikers a chance to embrace nature’s element of surprise peaking around the bend when you approach the Overlook. Be sure to pause for a moment of silence and soak in the majestic view of the picturesque valley below.
As one of the last remaining maritime forest communities along coastal Alabama, this treasure is a preserve for many of the area’s native wildlife and serves as a lifeline for millions of migratory birds, providing essential food and shelter.
Designated as a stop on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail registry, the park is considered excellent for bird watching and is especially spectacular during the spring and fall migration.
About the Trail System
The Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail system was developed cooperatively by the City of Orange Beach and Gulf State Park (Alabama State Parks Division) to provide non-consumptive recreational opportunities through one of the last remaining intact maritime forests along coastal Alabama. In addition to being a preserve for many of the area’s native wildlife, this remnant natural area serves as a lifeline for millions of migratory birds each spring and fall by providing essential food and shelter resources, thereby making the birding potential excellent on any given visit. Over 13.5 miles of paved trails provide access from six entry points to a diversity of coastal habitats representative of the maritime forest including sandy oak hammocks, Longleaf sand ridge, freshwater marsh, pine flatwoods, relict dune swales, seepage swamps and a pitcher plant bog. Interpretive signs placed along each trail identify many of the natural features of the maritime forest.
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Activities Available: Birding | Fishing | Hiking | Road Biking | WalkingAmenities Available: Benches | Cabins | Camping | Camping (RV) | Dogs Allowed | Drinking Water | Education Center | Picnic Tables | Primitive Camping | Restrooms | Stroller Friendly | Wheelchair Accessible