Explore Natural Ala. along the Hugh S Branyon Trail

The best way to explore any new destination is either on foot or better yet, via bicycle. On a bike, you can cover more ground than walking, yet go at a pace that allows you to take in the beauty of your surroundings.

If you are like me and a location with a good system of bike trails is a huge draw then you will definitely want to check out the amazing Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Gulf State Park in Orange Beach, Ala.

photo courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

The trail weaves 15-miles through more than 6,000 acres of undeveloped coastal land and showcases six different ecosystems. And since the trail goes through both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Alabama, it’s a perfect activity for a fall beach weekend.

In addition to the natural beauty, here are five more reasons to love biking the area, especially during fall during Alabama’s #SecondSummer when things begin to cool off, and you don’t find yourself melting in the heat.

Escape Civilization in Minutes. We picked up our bikes at Beach Bike Rentals, which was almost directly across from our gleaming Turquoise Place condo. One minute we are gazing at the blue ocean from the 15th floor deck of our high-rise, and the next we are meandering down a natural pathway lined with towering pines, scrub oak, and palmettos through coastal swamps, wetlands, and shimmering lakes, leaving the lights, sounds and general busyness of Perdido Highway and the main strip of high-rise condos far behind.

Beach Bike Rentals is right next to the Rosemary Dune Trail.

Meet Lefty. Beach Bike Rentals is about 30 yards from the Rosemary Trail Entrance to Gulf State Park. While riding the Rosemary Dunes trail, keep your eyes open for a sunning alligator. If you see one, chances are it’s the resident celebrity alligator Lefty. This three-legged gator is often seeing sunning herself and is happy to pose for pictures – although you want to make sure you stay behind the fence and give her lots of room, she may only have three legs, but she can move fast.

Enjoy a Picnic. At the end of the Rosemary Dunes trail is the Pavilion, a perfect place for a break from riding and a picnic lunch. In addition to a nice grassy area to lay out your spread, there is also a butterfly garden, which still has plenty of butterfly-attracting blooms in the fall. While the kids chase butterflies, there is a good chance they’ll discover a quite unexpected surprise, bouldering rocks – which are meant to be climbed up, over and around, so go ahead and test your strength.

Take a Tour. Interested to know more about the Trail than you can pick up from the many signs along the way? During our trip, we had the benefit of a guide from Beach Bike Rentals who rode with us for a little bit. For those who don’t have that luxury, try a bike or segway eco-tour through the Backcountry with Coastal Segway Adventures.

Stay in the Backcountry. If you love the park so much you never want to leave, then book a campsite in the backcountry. Fall is the perfect time to stay in one of the three primitive campsites, which include framed tents with a front porch. The best part is although the sites are secluded, there isn’t too much roughing it with a swimming pool, golf course, bike trails and camp store close by.

365 Daily posts are short and sweet, designed to highlight the discoveries we unearth on a daily basis as we explore Atlanta, the South, and the world!

Sue Rodman

Sue Rodman

Co-Founder at 365 Atlanta Traveler
Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories.
Sue Rodman

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