Don’t let the short one-mile distance Gator Lake Trail deceive you as being an easy hike. It can be a little more difficult than the other trails in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. The trail begins along a sand dune ridge and traverses through maritime forests. The frontal dunes dip and rise throughout the path and some spots can often times be wet. A nice view of the marshlands can be seen along the trail with various transitional plants, shrubs, and trees of the maritime forest.
The trail wraps around Gator Lake connecting with the Pine Beach Trail which leads to an uninhabited beach front. Many species of birds and other wildlife can be found near the lake.
Dotted with foliage and pines, this trail provides a first hand look at transitional, wetlands, and frontal dunes habitats.
What Makes It Great
Short but intense, Gator Lake Trail is packed with an assortment of distinct landscape views and a long list of diverse species native to the Alabama Gulf region.
Who is Going to Love It
This trail is a hardy hike with an assortment of eye-catching ecosystems. Hilly with dips, the path remains sandy until it meets the Pine Beach Trail which becomes a more flat surface. The foliage along the trail is not as dense as the other hiking trails within Bon Secour but makes up for it with the vegetation of the marshes and Gator Lake.
Sightings of protected species such as the osprey, alligator, and sea turtle are possible. Gator Lake Trail connects with the Pine Beach Trail for a longer hike with a beach front view.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
No pets are allowed within the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Signs are posted for protection of sea life and natural habitats that are off limits. Directions to Gator Lake Trail begin from the intersection of AL 59 South and AL 180 West. Traveling 9 miles westward on AL 180, the parking lot is on the left hand side and can be accessed from Mobile Street or the Pine Beach Trail. The Pine Beach Trail sign marks the first entrance. There are no fees and the trail is open only during daylight hours.