Gulf State Park – #1 Activity

Trails

Screened-in Pavilion
We brought a small dice game and played it inside the pavilion,
just so we could enjoy it a bit.

There’s lots of good things about Gulf State Park. Like the ocean, the spacious camping sites, and the park’s many amenities. But, hands down, the best thing is . . . The Trails. This park offers 28 miles of trails, and many of them are paved, mostly flat and meander through the various ecosystems with scenic views at every twist and turn.

The trails sport many features, like clever water fountains with ports for humans, dogs, and water bottles. And there are numerous benches, swings, overlooks, a really cool playground, a rustic camping site, wildlife (like alligators), and even a screened in pavilion with a butterfly garden. To the left of the screened-in pavilion is a large boulder with rock climbing apparatuses on it. The trails and its features are extensive. Trail maps are displayed at strategic places – usually at crossroads where a decision has to be made about which way to go.

Drinking fountain with three ports.
Someone is trying to get out of the picture, but I am too quick with the click!

Pace app download of bike rides.
Our Bike Rides
Dan and Betty smiling with the trail behind them.
We were blessed with perfect weather.

Over the course of our two weeks here, Dan and I rode more than 50 miles. We also rode some smaller amounts that I did not bother to GPS. There are also some “primitive” trails, but we did not go on these.

Trail Map.
I highlighted in pink the trails we did, either biking or walking.

There is only one trail we would not recommend. That is the Bear Creek Trail which is made out of recycled asphalt. This is a fairly short connecting trail (0.4 mile) that we only went on once. After that, we made sure to take alternate routes. The recycled asphalt was very rough and bumpy, and there is even a part which is just large gravel. I was afraid Dan and I would fall when our bikes met that surface. I’m big for recycling, but this trail needs to be rethunk.

Most people bring their own bikes. Some people even have electric bikes. The speed limit on the trail is 10 mph, and most people respect that rule. There are also signs which state, “No Race Training.” Darn! We were hoping to get our race training in. Ha Ha.

Now, if you didn’t happen to bring a bike, no worries! Bikes are available to rent:

Flyer listing several kinds of bikes to rent, along with the cost of each.

But! There is also a free bike share program within the park.

Info about the Gulf State Park Bicycle Share program.
You can also download
the “Bloom” bike share app.
Bicycle Share Station at the Interpretive Center.
At the Interpretive Center.
Bicycle Share Station on the trail somewhere.
On the trail somewhere.

Bicycles can only be borrowed for three hours and must be returned to a Bicycle Share Station. We saw lots of people taking advantage of the free bicycle sharing program. Now if I didn’t have my bike, which program do you think I would choose? The three hour time limit is not an issue for me. And I’d be happy to return the bike to the station.

However, we didn’t just ride bikes on the trails. We took several long walks, and we saw many others doing so, too. One morning, we walked to The Pier from our campsite and took the free tram back. Another morning, we walked the trails to the Beach Pavilion and again took the free tram back. Another morning, we walked a giant loop, mostly on the Campground Trail road, much of which is elevated with picturesque views and refreshing air from the many tall short-leaf pines which surround the area. What a wonderful, wonderful place. How did we get to be so lucky?

A look back at the 30 minute walk from our campsite to the Beach Pavilion.

18 comments

    • It wasn’t too hard, but we did book a year in advance. We’ve also made reservations for next year. The sites on the lake are really hard to get. But we were happy with where we were.

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  1. Yes indeed, that place sounds wonderful. We certainly will check it out. We don’t travel with bikes so the bike share and rental options are appealing. Thanks for the insight. Have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We saw lots of people using the bike share program, and there were several bike sharing stations in the park. I have a couple more posts coming about golfshore State Park area. Have a good day too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful park with so many fantastic trials. I’m so glad you’re having such a great time. Some day, some time I would like to spend some time there. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder how far Gulf State Park is from your new home. We liked it so much, we already made our reservations for next year. We did a lot, but there’s a lot more to do, so we plan to stay another two weeks next year. Hope you have a great week too.

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    • There were lots of people walking the trails. I think some of them went a good distance because they were not near a trailhead. However, you would want to be sure you had a map and took the right turns. Otherwise it could be a longer walk than planned. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I guess I could also say third time is the charm as that’s how many times it took us to actually get to Gulf State park. We are currently driving back home through Mississippi. We see lots of yellow and purple wildflowers along highway 45. I love the yellow. Have a good week, and good luck with your gardening projects.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how theft is prevented. However, the bikes have a metal sign attached to them identifying them as such. I’ve seen other bike share programs. My guess is there is some small amount of theft, but hopefully, not much. It is a great idea. There were plenty of bikes. They looked to be in good shape, and we saw lots of people taking advantage of them. I love the idea, too!

      Liked by 1 person

    • There were lots of people with e-bikes, so you’d fit right in. Plus there are so many trails to ride, I bet it would be really fun. I have a few more posts coming about this park and area.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if you go, I hope you both like it. I have a couple more posts coming about the area. We tried to go last September but ended up driving a big circle in Mississippi as we had to run away from Hurricane Sally. We didn’t think about hurricane season. So, take a lesson from us, and consider that when making your plans! 🙂

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      • We were headed there last year from SE Missouri when the storms turned to hurricane warnings. Turned west and spent the week in Hot Springs instead. Nice, but not near the same. Rescheduled our reservation for this September and hope for better outcomes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was our third try for Gulf Shores. In April 2020, we rescheduled because while the campground was still open, everything else, including the beach was closed. On our 2nd attempt, we were on our way there when Hurricane Sally came through. We drove around Mississippi in a big circle. We went home a week early. At least, you went somewhere! We are booked again for April 2022. We are planning to go to the Balloon Festival in Foley in May before we leave. We just loved it there, and I hope you have a great trip there in September!

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