Coastal, Fort Morgan Loop | Baldwin | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Summer | Winter
The Jeff Friend Trail is a one-mile loop to Little Lagoon. Habitats along the trail include maritime forest, freshwater marsh and open water along the north shore of Little Lagoon. A small observation deck, accessible to those with disabilities, midway down the trail at Little Lagoon provides a great place to set up a spotting scope and scan the water.
In winter, look for Bufflehead, Common Loon and Horned Grebe. And, in spring, Osprey, Sandwich Tern and Northern Rough-winged Swallow are regularly seen. Expect to see Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Summer Tanager and Northern Parula during the summer. Chuck-will’s-widow and Great Horned Owl are commonly heard at dusk and dawn. Please keep in mind the refuge closes at dark. Eastern Screech-Owl can also occasionally be found here.
The two-mile Centennial Trail connects the Jeff Friend and Pine Beach Trails and has forested wetlands on the eastern end. Along this trail, look for Northern Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and other species during migration. Return to AL 180.
Be sure to enjoy all of the trails in Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge:
Jeff Friend Trail
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE. Explore the maritime forest and adjacent Little Lagoon. Many species of plants and birds can often be seen along this trail.
Rating: Easy to moderate. Time: 1 ½ hours. Distance: 1 mile.
Explore the transition from maritime forest to dune swales to a swamp discovering different species of plants and wildlife.
Rating: Moderate (ground may be wet in some areas). Time: 2 hours. Distance: 2 miles.
Gator Lake Trail
Walk along a dune ridge and see many species of birds and plants that are typical of this transitional habitat between the maritime forest and the frontal dunes.
Rating: Moderate (sandy terrain). Time: 2 hours. Distance: 1 mile.
Pine Beach Trail
Explore the plants and wildlife of an intact dune ecosystem that includes maritime forest, scrub and dune habitats. This trail is unique with a saltwater lagoon on one side and a freshwater lake on the other. Many seaside plants are found here.
Rating: moderate to strenuous (some sandy terrain). Time: 2 hours. Distance: 2 miles.
GPS: N30.24433 W-87.78747
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
12295 State Highway 180
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
The Jeff Friend Trail is considered wheelchair accessible. There is a small observation deck that provides good views of the lagoon.
If following directions provided in the Coastal Birding Trail booklet, from AL 59, travel westward on AL 180 to the Jeff Friend Trail on the left (south) side of the road [6.0]. Drive through the gate and follow the road to the parking lot and trailhead.
Amenities Available: Wheelchair Accessible
5 Rivers Delta Resource Center
5 Rivers sits on the banks of one of the canals that traverse the Mobile-Tensaw delta. The decks of the Delta Hall and the perimeter trail around the facility provide excellent vantage points to observe birds of the surrounding marsh and waterways. I …
Boggy Point Boat Launch, an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources facility, offers a small beach with an excellent view of Robinson Island, a roosting site for herons and egrets, to the east. Robinson Island offers important habita …
Bon Secour Bay
Bon Secour Bay is found on the eastern edge of Mobile Bay and provides a protected area for wintering waterfowl and seabirds. Scan the bay and the small canal for gulls and tern. Black-crowned Night-herons may be found roosting in the oaks scattered …
Bon Secour NWR – Mobile Street
Mobile Street is a paved road leading to the beach, with a parking area for the one-mile (each way) Gator Lake Trail, which connects Mobile Street with the Pine Beach Trail. This narrow trail can be good for winter birding where you may see Blue-gray …
Bon Secour NWR – Pine Beach Trail
At the Pine Beach trailhead stands an interpretive kiosk with trail maps and bird lists. This is a two-mile trail (each way) southeastward to the beach by way of Little Lagoon and Gator Lake. The hike is an enjoyable walk through a variety of habitat …
Cliff’s Landing is one of the best spots in Alabama (south of I-65) to view Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites in the spring and summer. Look for kites and other raptors across the river to the west, with best light in the morning.