Journal/Blog‎ > ‎

Gulf Coast Hikes

posted Mar 14, 2018, 5:04 PM by Justin P   [ updated Mar 14, 2018, 5:04 PM ]

Wednesday morning, I had breakfast at the hotel and after checking out, made the short drive over to Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park.  After getting my stuff together, I first set off on the Tarkiln Bayou Trail.  This half-mile trail is initially paved and then leads to a long boardwalk.  There were some beautiful pitcher plants right along the trail.  The boardwalk ends at an overlook at Tarkiln Bay.  A large bird flew overhead, maybe an osprey or kistrel, but he was too fast to get a picture.  It was kind of windy so after a couple shots of the bay, I headed back.  Near the start, I turned and took the longer Perdido Bay Trail.  This trail follows old roads, but many spots were swampy and I had to find a dry way around.  The trail leads out to Perdido Bay, which separates Florida and Alabama and had beautiful white sand beaches.  This was a particularly nice spot without the excessive development of Pensacola and Gulf Shores.  As the trail looped back around, I took a spur trail to Tarkiln Bay.  After finishing the loop, I left the park and headed to Gulf Shores.  I parked at the trailhead for Catman Road in Gulf State Park.  Part of the Hugh S. Branyon backcountry trail, this network of paved and boardwalk trails lead throughout the park and provide access to the beach.  Following this trail for about 2 miles, I took Rosemary Dunes Trail towards the gator swamp.  Unfortunately, there were no gators here today, but a local couple said this was the best place to see them.  At the end, I got on the Beach Mouse Bypass boardwalk heading further west.  Along here, I spotted a couple of armadillos rooting around.  They're kind of cute but glad they don't live near me as their burrowing really makes a mess.  Plus, they can transmit leprosy.  I passed by the scenic Middle Lake, but the beach access marked on the map was closed here.  So I had to continue past the campground to the next access point.  It ended up being a pretty long hike, but the white sand beach was really beautiful and there wasn't another person in sight.  I took off my shoes and got about ankle deep in the water.  It wasn't particularly cold, but I wasn't going in any further.  After drying off my feet, I started heading back.  I spotted two armadillos on the way back; not sure if they were the same or different than those I had seen earlier.  Back at the car, I headed through Mobile to the Comfort Inn at Tillman Corner.  It was surprisingly nice and Tameka, the lady at the front desk was really sweet and helpful.  I had tacos for dinner at San Jose Taqueria and then went to bed.