Orange Beach's best-kept hiking secrets.

Many people head to Orange Beach for the fabulous beaches, but there are more natural gems in this region to enjoy. Immerse yourself in nature by heading out on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, where you can see a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Orange Beach's best-kept hiking secrets

Any time is the perfect time to plan a vacation to sunny Orange Beach, Alabama, where all ages enjoy the picturesque sugar-white sand beaches and warm emerald-green waters, as well as the relaxing ambience of its many back bays.The beaches along the Gulf Coast are some of the best in the nation, but don't miss out on the other natural adventures awaiting your discovery.

Orange Beach's best-kept hiking secrets.

The Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach is a perfect hiking spot, offering diverse ecosystems with a plethora of flora and fauna that any nature enthusiast will enjoy. The 11-mile path is paved, making it suitable for a brisk walk or a bike ride.

Officially called the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, this spot was named after the long-time Gulf State Park superintendent. It was created by the City of Orange Beach and Gulf State Park in order to offer locals and visitors a chance to enjoy one of coastal Alabama's last remaining maritime forest areas. There are six paths to choose from, each winding through thick flora. Look for native plants such as needle palms, sundews and white-topped pitcher plants. You'll also see plenty of Spanish moss blending the landscape together. Other plants like sandy oak hammocks, pine flatwoods and relict dune swales are representative of this coastal habitat.

You don't have to be a nature expert to enjoy this experience, though - the trail is marked with signs that identify many of the natural features in the maritime forest. Bird enthusiasts will delight in the ornithological opportunities along this trail, too, since both migratory and indigenous birds call this region home.

As you plan your next vacation along the coast, you may wish to choose a nearby Orange Beach vacation condo so you can return to the trails again and again to discover something new each day.

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