Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail up for USA Today award

Orange Beach, Alabama (WKRG)—Once an old county road, one or two side roads, a firebreak, and a fence line, this place has been transformed into a Gulf Coast destination in the last 20 years.

“Being able to get into the backcountry of a large park like Gulf State Park is pretty unique,” ​​says Philip West, Director of Orange Beach Coastal Resources.

The Hugh Branion Backcountry Trail is actually a series of 11 trails covering 28 miles so far.

Gail Mobrich and husband Jerry were on the trail Thursday morning. “We walk them all,” she says.

It begins in Orange Beach, winds through Gulf State Park, and over the Gulf Shores.

Mark Landers is a fan. “What we enjoy here is just nature,” he says.

There was a time when you could walk miles on a trail and never meet another soul, but those days are gone.

The trail is currently competing with venues from Arizona to Maryland in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, in which you are encouraged to vote for your favorites during the competition, which runs through February 17, 2023. increase.

“We always brag to our friends,” says Movrich. “You have to go to Orange Beach.It’s such a beautiful trail and biking is the main reason we come here.”

What was once a hidden gem can quickly become a major attraction.

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