Alabama

8 Beautiful Hikes Near Mobile, Alabama

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A couple enjoys a walk along the Gulf on the Pine Beach Trail.Photo credit: Joe Cuhaj

Centered on the U.S. Gulf Coast is Mobile, Alabama. It is a bustling port city with rich traditions and over 300 years of history, including the first Mardi Gras celebration in — what would become — the United States.

Just past the hustle and bustle of the city, there is an incredible world of natural wonders and wildlife that can only be experienced by taking a hike.

Of course, being on the Gulf Coast, you won’t experience breathtaking vistas from a mountaintop or a thundering waterfall, but what it lacks in those amenities is more than made up for with beautiful wetlands, wildflowers, and wildlife.

Allow me to introduce you to eight of my favorite hikes in the Mobile area.

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Surrounded by literally thousands of pitcher plants at Splinter Hill BogPhoto credit: Joe Cuhaj

1. George W. Folkerts Bog Trail

Bay Minette 

  • Length: 3.1-mile out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy (a portion is ADA-accessible)
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Hours: Year-round, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: Free

Topping the list is one of my absolute favorite hikes in the Mobile area, the George W. Folkerts Bog Trail at Splinter Hill Bog. You have to, however, get there at the right time to experience it. The reason? To view what has been described as the most visually stunning display of pitcher plants in the world.

A pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that digests bugs in its long tubular stalk. Sounds nasty but the plants themselves are beautiful when in bloom between March and mid-July. At the start of the trail, you will be surrounded by thousands of these gorgeous plants.

Pro Tip: Wheelchair Accessibility

The first 0.1 mile of the trail is ADA-accessible over hard packed dirt. It is along this section of the trail that you will see the thousands of plants.

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Hikers prepare to head out on a trail at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores.Photo credit: Joe Cuhaj

2. Pine Beach Trail – Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Gulf Shores

  • Length: 3.4-mile out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Moderate due to extended beach walk
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 2.5 hours
  • Hours: Year-round, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: Free

The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores plays host to many different species of endangered wildlife, including the Alabama beach mouse, and is a prime nesting ground for sea turtles. The refuge’s Pine Beach Trail is the perfect introduction to all that makes the refuge special.

This out-and-back hike is generally a leisurely walk through rows of beautiful ancient oak trees draped in Spanish moss. It goes through a maritime wetland before heading to the most secluded beach on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

The beach walk over fine sand makes the hike more moderate.

Pro Tip: Pack A Lunch And Enjoy The View

Halfway through the hike there is a two-story wildlife observation platform, the perfect place to enjoy lunch or a snack and do a little bird and wildlife watching.

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The last major battle of the Civil War is only a part of the history at Historic Blakeley State Park.Photo credit: Joe Cuhaj

3. Historic Blakeley State Park

Spanish Fort

  • Length: Varies
  • Difficulty: Moderate mostly due to length and a few hills
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 2 hours to a half-day
  • Hours: Year-round, 9 a.m. to sunset
  • Admission: $4 adults, $3 for kids 6–12

A visit to Historic Blakeley State Park is a trip back in time. The trails here weave through the battlefield where the last major battle of the Civil War was fought as General Lee was surrendering to General Grant. Through a ghost town from the early 1800s, its long-deserted streets lined with rows of oak trees draped in flowing Spanish moss takes hikers to the banks of the second largest river delta in the country, the Mobile-Tensaw, aka “America’s Amazon.”

There are many trails to explore at Blakeley. Download a map and choose the one that suits your mood the day you visit. Whatever route you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

Pro Tip: Don’t Get Bugged

Being on the delta with many bogs and wetlands, hiking can be a challenge with mosquitoes in the summer. Don’t forget bug spray.

alabama, destinations, mobile, united states, amazon, 8 beautiful hikes near mobile, alabama

A long boardwalk leads hikers through a dense forest and wetland at Village Point Park Preserve.Photo credit: Joe Cuhaj

4. Village Point Park Preserve

Daphne

  • Length: 1.8-mile lollipop loop
  • Difficulty: Easy over level terrain
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
  • Hours: Year-round, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: Free

This beautiful little hike at Village Point Park Preserve along Mobile Bay leads hikers down gravel and dirt footpaths to incredible history. You’ll see the D’Olive Cemetery that dates back to the early 1800s and an expansive oak tree where, allegedly, General Andrew Jackson gathered his troops before heading to the Battle of New Orleans.

Besides history, the preserve leads you through incredible wetlands filled with wildflowers and birds. Then, catch a gorgeous sunrise at the beaches of Mobile Bay.

Pro Tip: Eyes Are Watching You

While the trail is dog-friendly, keep them on a leash and close at hand. Alligators patrol the bay waters and wetlands.

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Hiking through “America’s Amazon,” the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, to Mound Island.Photo credit: Joe Cuhaj

5. Mound Island

Mobile

  • Length: 1.1-mile out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1 hour
  • Hours: Year-round, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: Free but see the pro-tip

In the heart of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta — in the middle of absolute nowhere but only minutes from downtown Mobile — a quick boat trip leads hikers to a trail through a dense, Amazon-like forest to ancient Indian mounds from over a thousand years ago.

The mounds were built by hand by Native Americans one basket full of dirt at a time. The tallest mound stands 45 feet tall and was the home of the tribal chief and religious figures.

Pro Tip: Take The Tour

You can kayak to Mound Island via the Bartram Canoe Trail, but the best way to visit the island is via a guided boat tour. Here, historians will tell you the history of the mounds and point out what you are seeing since nature has been reclaiming them. Tours are available through Historic Blakeley State Park.

alabama, destinations, mobile, united states, amazon, 8 beautiful hikes near mobile, alabama

A stunning view of a lake from a platform at the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island.Photo credit: Joe Cuhaj

6. Audubon Bird Sanctuary

Dauphin Island

  • Length: 3.4-mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy over level ground, boardwalks, and beach walk
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 2–2.5 hours
  • Hours: Year-round, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: Free

There is no right or wrong way to hike through the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island. The trails interconnect allowing for a variety of different loops.

Hikers will enjoy bird watching here. In fact, the island is known as “America’s Birdiest Town” and the Audubon Society has deemed the island a critical habitat for migratory birds.

The route takes you through maritime forests, past stunning shimmering lakes, and through reptile-loaded wetlands and swamps.

The trails wind their way southward and eventually cross sand dunes for a walk along the snowy white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

Pro Tip: More Than Just A Hike

After exploring the sanctuary, take a short half-mile drive — or walk it – down Bienville Boulevard to visit the aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. And right next door is historic Fort Gaines, an early 1800s stone fortress that played a role in the famous Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

7. Muddy Creek Interpretive Trail

Theodore

  • Length: 2.2-mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy over level, hard-packed ground and boardwalks
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
  • Hours: Year-round, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Admission: Free

As you drive down Industrial Road in Theodore, you wouldn’t think that there would be a nice little hiking trail in the middle of an industrial complex. But there is — the Muddy Creek Interpretive Trail.

It took the Alabama Port Authority 5 years to remove (by hand) thousands of invasive species of plants and build the boardwalk that makes up this trail. The result is a peaceful and quiet hike through longleaf pine, Tupelo gum, red maple, pond cypress, and wax myrtle forests. The boardwalks cross over a beautiful cypress swamp and the trail’s namesake, Muddy Creek, where you will see the evidence of busy beavers building dams.

The entire hike is lined with informative interpretive signage that will teach you about the environment you are walking through.

Pro Tip: It’s Not Always Muddy

The best time to visit the Muddy Creek Trail is from early spring to June and fall when rains fill the wetland and creek.

8. Blue Trail At Graham Creek Nature Preserve

Foley 

  • Length: 3.2-mile double loop
  • Difficulty: Easy over firm, level ground (see pro tip)
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Hours: Year-round, sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: Free 

Graham Creek Preserve is a 484-acre preserve located just north of Gulf Shores in Foley. With almost 6 miles of trail — and more on the way — hikers can mix and match routes for a variety of fun treks.

The Blue Trail is one of the park’s longest trails and is a fun little hike for hikers of all stripes. In season, you will be treated to a rainbow of wildflowers, flowering magnolia and dogwood trees, plus fields of beautiful white-top pitcher plants. You may cross paths with a gopher tortoise along the hike, and cross the wide Graham Creek at the beginning of the hike, a real treat if you hike with your dog.

Pro Tip: Bug Spray And Rainy Season 

While hiking at Graham Creek is a real joy, the trails tend to follow along the edges of bogs. In the summer, mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Don’t forget the bug spray.

And after one of the famous Gulf Coast downpours, the trails can be thick in mud or underwater. Wait a few days after rain before heading out.

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