Overview. I had planned to finish the rest of this trail system after hiking the western portion a day earlier. Unfortunately, the Centennial Trail that connects the east and west portions was closed for safety at the boardwalk. Odds are this is a funding issue, as the boardwalk appeared in need of repair and new planking in areas like this are cost and labor intensive.
With the Centennial Trail closed, the eastern portion is basically the Jeff Friend Trail which is a mile-long loop covering gravel, dirt, and synthetic boardwalk trails. It's a nice, short loop that includes some Maritime forest, an open view of the lagoon, and plenty of saw palmetto. It's an ideal trail for flat, easy running.
Route Type | Loop
Total Distance | 1.15 miles
Overall Difficulty | Easy
Bon Secour NWR Map | US Dept of Fish and Wildlife
Trailhead. The trailhead is well signed without ample parking available just off AL-180 west of Golf Shores. [map]
Trail navigation. The trail is clearly marked and easy to follow. At the lagoon, feel free to walk the area off the boardwalk, as this is open to trail users.
Options. Bon Secour NWR is a great place to get into Nature. For the best views and variety, do the western loop that includes Pine Beach Trail, Gator Lake Trail, pristine dunes, and a great stretch along the beach. For a nice, flat, and easy trail run, checkout the Jeff Friend Trail on the eastern side of the refuge. For peace and solitude, the Pine Beach to Centennial Trail out and back is best.