Trails At Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Located on the eastern coastline of Bon Secour Bay, Bon Secour, Alabama, is 35 miles east of the Alabama – Mississippi state line. Bon Secour is home to many great things, one being the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, dedicated to preserving the coastal dune ecosystem and protecting endangered species. The name Bon Secour derives from the French vocabulary, translating to “Safe Harbor,” a very fitting name for the habitat. Congress established the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge in 1980 to create this “safe harbor” for species and the ecosystem hosting them. The Wildlife Refuge sits on 7,000 acres of land with more than 370 species of birds during migratory seasons.
Explore Many Trails and Boardwalks
Along with being a home for these endangered species, the Wildlife Refuge offers to explore many trails and boardwalks. These trails were created to allow visitors to see all the different habitats the Refuge offers. There are four trails in total, so whether you’re looking for a short leisurely walk or a long hike, there is a trail for everyone to explore. All of the courses Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge offers are kid-friendly, making it a great spot to take the entire family. One of the most popular trails, the Jeff Friend Trail, has been recently renovated to include boardwalks to make it more accessible to the public.
The Jeff Friend Trail
The Jeff Friend Trail is among the shortest trails, approximating 0.78 miles. The trail is a loop and offers many species of plants and birds to see along the way. One elegant factor about the Jeff Friend Trail is that it is wheelchair friendly. Due to some recent renovations, more people can explore the greatness the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge has to offer. Walking the entire loop takes about an hour, where you will encounter wet and dry lands. This is the perfect trail for fishing, bird watching, and wildlife watching.
The Gator Lake Trail
The Gator Lake Trail is a trail that equals around the same length as the Jeff Friend Trail. Again, this trail is around 0.78 miles, making it a moderate hike. Along the trail, one will encounter a dune ridge where many birds and plants will be present. This particular trail takes around an hour to complete and ends at the intersection of the Lagoon and another trail the Refuge has to offer, the Pine Beach Trail.
The Pine Beach Trail
The Pine Beach Trail is around 1.65 miles, estimating around two hours to complete the entirety of the path. A saltwater lagoon, freshwater lake, and an observation tower are among the exciting features of the Pine Beach Trail. Around the 1-mile mark, there will be an observation tower with a fantastic view of the Gator Lake Trail.
Finally, the Centennial Trail is the longest trail the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge offers. Around 2.06 miles, this trail connects the Jeff Friend Trail and the Pine Beach Trail. The ground might be a little wet in some areas, so wear the appropriate shoes. Many different birds and plants are within the dunes and maritime forest, both of which will be encountered on this trail.
For more information on the trails the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge has to offer and the other neat activities they have, check out their website https://www.fws.gov/refuge/bon-secour/visit-us/trails.