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Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

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.

photo:  Photo by Rob Grant.

Length: 28.00 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Backcountry
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Dogs - On leash

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Location: Orange Beach, AL and Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL, Trail system joins Gulf State Park to coastal forests from State Route 161 west to Hwy. 59 and south to Hwy 182.
State(s): Alabama
Counties: Baldwin
Longitude: -87.581968
Latitude: 30.280290

Driving Directions

The street address for the main trailhead is 3801 Orange Beach Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561

Description

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 walks 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 in 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, full-service restrooms, a screened, covered picnic pavilion and a butterfly garden. A volunteer citizens’ advisory committee provides input and resources for development and preservation of the trail.

As part of the Gulf State Park enhancement project, the Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail has been expanded and now features 28 miles of trails. The trail enhancements allow the curious visitor to explore the diverse ecosystems of the Alabama Gulf Coast by offering more amenities and greater access throughout the park. Guests can move comfortable throughout the park on trails that create several loops through unique habitats.

Discover the timeless beauty of the Butterfly Garden, majestic Bald Eagle and Osprey nests, the mystical Freshwater Marshes, and the Coastal Hardwood Swamps. Catch a glimpse of a Bobcat on Twin Bridges or a White-Tailed Deer on Sawgrass Trail. View an Alligator basking in the sun and be sure to bring your camera to capture the adventure! With terrain suitable for walking, running, or biking; you are sure to enjoy the stunning natural scenery only found on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

The park is now offering a bike share program where bikes can be borrowed for your adventure. Download the Bloom App and enjoy an adventure at Gulf State Park.

Additional Details

Width: 120 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Boardwalk

Average Grade: 2%
Maximum Grade: 7%
Elevation Low Point: 5
Elevation High Point: 34
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
2009

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Brochure: Backcountry Trail
Website: American Trails Featured NRT
Website: Alabama State Parks
Website: backcountrytrail.com
Website: Facebook

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Phillip West
City of Orange Beach
4101 Orange Beach Blvd.
P.O. Box 2432
Orange Beach, AL 36561 [email protected]
https://www.orangebeachal.gov/departments/parks-recreation/about

 

Photos

A rare site showing a Dragonfly chowing down on a Monarch Butterfly! Photo by Sean Thomas Brumley.

A rare site showing a Dragonfly chowing down on a Monarch Butterfly! Photo by Sean Thomas Brumley.

A Cotton Mouth showing you why we call them

A Cotton Mouth showing you why we call them "Cotton Mouth"! Photo by Sean Thomas Brumley.

 

An Armadillo's mid-stride reflection on the rain soaked pavement. Photo by Sean Thomas Brumley.

An Armadillo's mid-stride reflection on the rain soaked pavement. Photo by Sean Thomas Brumley.

The local celebrity gator

The local celebrity gator "Lefty" watching over one of her young. Photo by Sean Thomas Brumley.

 

One of many alligators that can frequently be observed along the swamps and lakes of the NRT. Photo by Rick Sherman.

One of many alligators that can frequently be observed along the swamps and lakes of the NRT. Photo by Rick Sherman.

One of the many species of butterflies that inhabit the Backcountry Trail. Photo by Rick Sherman.

One of the many species of butterflies that inhabit the Backcountry Trail. Photo by Rick Sherman.

 

A wild Scarlet Hibiscus - extremely rare species, growing in the Backcountry Trail. Photo by Rick Sherman.

A wild Scarlet Hibiscus - extremely rare species, growing in the Backcountry Trail. Photo by Rick Sherman.

A male Snowy Egret trying to attract a mate in the Backcountry Trail. Photo by Rick Sherman.

A male Snowy Egret trying to attract a mate in the Backcountry Trail. Photo by Rick Sherman.

 

One of numerous canals that empty into the Trails' three lakes. Photo by Rick Sherman.

One of numerous canals that empty into the Trails' three lakes. Photo by Rick Sherman.

Trail maps throughout trails. Photo by Rick Sherman.

Trail maps throughout trails. Photo by Rick Sherman.

 

Raised bridges across streams and wetlands. Photo by Rick Sherman.

Raised bridges across streams and wetlands. Photo by Rick Sherman.

Shaded porch swings throughout trails. Photo by Rick Sherman.

Shaded porch swings throughout trails. Photo by Rick Sherman.

 

Gopher Tortoise. Photo by Rick Sherman.

Gopher Tortoise. Photo by Rick Sherman.

A Banana Spider awaits a meal. Photo by Rick Sherman.

A Banana Spider awaits a meal. Photo by Rick Sherman.

 

Alligator named

Alligator named "Lefty" balks at having her picture taken. Photo by Rick Sherman.

 Photo by Rob Grant.

Photo by Rob Grant.

 

 Photo by Nicole Woerner.

Photo by Nicole Woerner.

 

Bridge on Trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Bridge on Trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

 Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

 

Campground trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Campground trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Campground trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Campground trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

 

Overlook at campground. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Overlook at campground. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Gopher Tortoise Trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Gopher Tortoise Trail. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

 

 Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Twin bridges. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

Twin bridges. Photo by Rhonda Taulbee.

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