Biking the Alabama Gulf Coast

The 8 Best Biking Trails on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach feature various bike trails and paths to travel around town and check out the beauty of the area.

Biking is a favorite activity for both locals and visitors here in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach all year long. The Alabama Gulf Coast offers plenty of amazing trails and paths for bikers to explore the area and get around. Whether you’re looking for a nice ride to the beach or a lengthy trek in the park, there’s a trail for you to enjoy.

Biking in Gulf Shores

1. Beach Cruising: Alabama's Coastal Connection

Distance: 4 miles out-and-back

Difficulty: Easy

This ride alongside the beautiful sugar-white beaches and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico offers an excellent view of the beach. The route uses a section of the wide bike lane of Highway 182 between the Gulf State Park Pier and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail Rosemary Dunes Trailhead, passing the unique architecture of the Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion. You can start at either the pier or at the Rosemary Dunes Trailhead. The advantage of starting at the Backcountry Trail is that Beach Bike Rentals is right there, so you don't even have to bring a bike.

2. Recreational: Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Distance: Over 28 miles of trail options

Difficulty: Easy to moderate (if you do a long trip)

Winding through the "backcountry" of Gulf State Park is the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, a series of eight paved multi-use trails of varying lengths that travel through nine different ecosystems. This trail provides a fantastic opportunity to ride through longleaf pine forests, past shimmering freshwater lakes, coastal wetlands and marshes. And you never know what animals you may see as white-tailed deer, coyote, bobcat and even alligators can be spotted from the trail. The paths give you plenty of options for long and short trips and are perfect for both families and experienced road bikers. There are only a few minor hills to contend with, but nothing severe. The trail has six restrooms and two water fountains either on the trail or just off it. A favorite mid-level trip is the three-mile loop beginning at the Orange Beach Sportsplex on the Twin Bridges Trail to the Power Connector Trail, Rosemary Dunes, Catman Road and back to the trailhead on the Twin Bridges.

3. Fort Morgan Road Trail

Distance: 10.8 miles, out-and-back

Difficulty: Moderate

The Fort Morgan Road Trail is a pleasant pedal from the intersection of Alabama Highway 59 and Highway 180, at the Rouses Shopping Center, to the Peninsula Golf and Racket Club, 5.4-miles (one way). Before heading off, be sure to fill up on some delicious beignets and coffee at Café Beignets, located at the starting point. From the shopping center, the trail is a wide, multi-use path that parallels Highway 180, but most of the trip is well off the road behind a barrier of trees. The trail is ideal for families since it is a paved, level track, but a round-trip with children could be challenging due to the length. You may consider doing a short segment with them. At the 4-mile mark, there is a "rest stop" - the Island Quik Mart convenience store, where you can pick up drinks and snacks or use the restroom.

4. Coyote Crossing Trail

Distance: 3.2 miles, round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Another great multi-use route is the Coyote Crossing Trail, the latest along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. The path parallels Alabama Highway 135 and State Park Road 2 from Highway 59 to the Backcountry Trail's Gulf Oak Ridge Trailhead. We prefer to start at the Backcountry trailhead and head west to the Gulf State Park Headquarters and return. Even though the trail parallels the two highways, for the most part, it is tucked away between a nice barrier of trees and is a reasonable distance from the road.

 

Hugh S. Banyon Back Country Trail

5. Off-Road: Graham Creek Nature Preserve

Distance: Up to 10 miles

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Graham Creek Nature Preserve is the best off-road mountain biking trail in the area. It has more than 10 miles of trails, and while not as technically challenging as racing around a mountain, Graham Creek presents its own challenges, mostly involving water. You'll find two stream crossings and several areas that are low-lying swales. They fill with water after rain and present some good mud-running as they dry out. Otherwise, the trails are wide, grassy paths.

6. For Roadies: Lake Shelby Loop

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

This paved biking path makes a loop in Gulf State Park and uses the bike lanes of Highway 135, State Park Road 2, and Highway 182 to navigate around Lake Shelby. The loop offers beautiful views of the lake and its wetlands. It begins at the Gulf State Park Adventure Center on Highway 182.

7. Fort Morgan Road West

Distance: 24 miles (round trip)

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult due to distance

Advanced riders should check out Fort Morgan Road West. The bike path starts at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge’s Pine Beach Trailhead on Highway 180 and heads west using bike lanes for 12-miles to historic Fort Morgan. The fort is famous for being the site of the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War, in which Union Admiral David Farragut uttered those immortal words, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" Other points of interest on this trek include Fort Morgan Pizza, about 3 miles from the start of the trip on the south side of Highway 180. Be mindful of traffic, especially on the first few miles of this ride. The lane is narrow around bends, but it widens and gives you spectacular views of Mobile Bay to the north and the Gulf to the south as you bike along between the sand dunes.

8. Long Distance: Alabama to Florida

Distance: 27.4 miles (round trip)

Difficulty: Difficult due to distance

This trek is a favorite route for long-distance road bikers. It begins at the Public Beach parking area at the end of Highway 59 in Gulf Shores and follows the shoreline along Highway 182 to Perdido Beach State Park in Florida, a trip of 13.7-miles one-way. The ride takes you past beautiful white beaches, sand dunes and turquoise Gulf waters. Just before crossing into Florida, you'll pass the world-famous Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar, home of the Mullet Toss.

Originally written by RootsRated for Gulf Shores AL.

Ready to go for a ride along Alabama’s beaches? Be sure to take a look at all the biking routes and rentals in the area. We hope to see you on the trails!

START PLANNING YOUR GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH VACATION

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