Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: A safe haven for wildlife Gulf Fritillary on the Dunes The Bon Secour NWR contains 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat for migratory birds, nesting sea turtles and the endangered Alabama beach mouse. The refuge was established by Congress in 1980 to preserve the coastal dune ecosystem, to protect threatened and endangered species, to provide compatible recreational opportunities, and to serve as a living laboratory for students and scientists. The name Bon Secour comes from the French meaning "safe harbor," very appropriate considering the sanctuary for native flora and fauna that the refuge provides. The refuge serves the additional benefit of comprising one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land on the Alabama coast. Its dunes are a reminder of the Gulf Coast, as it once existed. As a consequence, the refuge has been named as one of the 10 natural wonders of Alabama. The refuge is small, compared to most national wildlife refuges, and is comprised of five separate units in Baldwin and Mobile counties, Alabama. The full-time staff consists of three, but the refuge has numerous committed volunteers throughout the year. The refuge hosts more than 100,000 visitors annually. The Refuge is home to the endangered Alabama beach mouse, which is associated with the sand dunes and sea oats. Refuge beaches serve as nesting sites for loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. Habitats include beaches and sand dunes, scrub forest, fresh and saltwater marshes, fresh water swamps, and uplands. More than 370 species of birds have been identified on the refuge during migratory seasons. The largest are usually ospreys and several species of herons. At the other extreme, seven species of hummingbirds have been identified. Mammals such as red fox, coyotes, and armadillos are also present.

hiking
14 days ago

Dogs are NOT allowed on this trail. We were unable to hike here. Gulf Shores State Park is not far from this location and offers numerous dog friendly trails.

update - The Jeff Friend trail loop has been completed renuvated with a new level walking surface. They installed wooden foot bridges with composite decking material that border the water shoreline. just beautiful.

trail running
2 months ago

good trail just get ready to get your shoes wet if it has rained ... some swampy areas but otherwise a good well kept trail

hiking
4 months ago

Excellent hike and secluded beach. Remanants of an old home near the beach.

FYI. NO DOGS ALLOWED!!

trail running
4 months ago

Nice trail, well marked

hiking
5 months ago

WALKED THIS TRAIL SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE IVAN IN 2000-TO 2004, THEN IVAN PUSHED ALOT OF SALT WATER INTO THE FRESHWATER -GATOR LAKE, IT DID SOME DAMAGE TO THE ECO SYSTEM BUT I HAVE HEARD ITS BACK TO NORMAL, I AM FROM MOBILE AND LIVED IIN THE GULF SHORES AREA FOR 10 YEARS. I HAVE NOT HIKED THE BEACH TRAIL SINCE 2007 0R 2008 BUT ALL HAS RETURNED TO NORMAL FROM THE PICS I HAVE SEEN. I LOVE THE PRIVATE BEACH DOWN FROM GATOR LAKE, ..IF YOU WANT A GREAT PLACE TO LAY OUT AND SWIM IN PRIVATE TAKE THIS TRAIL, YOU MAY SEE AN OCCASIONAL HIKER BUT THATS ALL, BEFORE IVAN GATOR LAKE HAD SOME GOOD FISSHING, NOT SURE NOW

hiking
7 months ago

We saw a Pygmy rattlesnake and huge water moccasin.

beautiful view of the lagoon and beach

Did this and the latter half of pine beach trail. There are the ruins of an old house off the trail with some interesting history. The bear is secluded and probably one of the few places where there are no condos built.

hiking
Thursday, November 03, 2016

This was a great hike and provided a very different experience than a forest or woods trail. But the last quarter mile or so was very sandy which made for a fairly strenuous hike that led to a secluded beach. There were 2 side trails off this trail. Gator lake trail was a strenuous mile long and very sandy. But the Centennial trail was easier and extremely enjoyable. All the trails are out and back and total 11 miles round trip

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Was enchanted by this very different (when you think of hikes/trails you think of forest and mountains automatically) walk. It was sublime. So much diversity in scenery and vegetation with a wonderful isolated beach finish. Two days later I did the Centennial trail that is just off of Pine Beach Trail for 6 miles (when you also do Jeff Friend). Outstanding trails.

walking
Thursday, July 21, 2016

The first mike was a nice gravel road through timber and swamps, and the last mile was next to the lagoon, alligator lake and then a wonderful beach.

hiking
Thursday, June 30, 2016

Great little short loop to hike with children.

hiking
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fun trail

hiking
Monday, October 12, 2015

Not a long trail but a very nice nature trail that skirts the lagoon. We hike it every year while snow birding in Gulf Shores.

walking
Thursday, May 21, 2015

I definitely shouldn't have worn flip flops on this walk!! it was a very sandy trail, but in the fall there are a lot of beautiful flowers and butterflies. Sadly didn't see any Gators!

walking
Thursday, January 22, 2015

There are four trails in this refuge. I've hiked Pine Beach and Gator Lake. March is a great time to go especially if you enjoy photography without the annoyance of crowds invading your shot. Trails are short and easy with some stunning scenery along the way.

hiking
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good hike with lots of scenery and a lot of bugs. Saw several gators in Gator Lake.

hiking
Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beautiful scenery. Only saw two people the day I went. I would recommend sun screen as there wasn't much shade. The beach was great there wasn't a soul in sight!

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