ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Gulf State Park, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Gulf State Park, Alabama
Gulf State Park
Lakefront cottages and the sparkling waters of
Lake Shelby are among the amenities of the 6,150
acre Gulf State Park on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Gulf State Park, Alabama
A sailboat skims across the
water of 900 acre Lake Shelby
at Gulf State Park. It is one of
three lakes in the park.
Cottage at Gulf State Park
A Gulf breeze blows through
the pines surrounding one of
the parks outstanding three-
bedroom cottages.
Gulf State Park - Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama
Nature on Alabama's Gulf Coast
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Coastal Environment
The forests of the park are
recovering from damage
sustained during Hurricane
Katrina. Miles of trails wind
through them.
Picnic on the Lake
Windswept oaks shelter
lake-front picnic tables at Gulf
State Park. The picnic area is
a great place for bird watching.
Gulf State Park preserves more than 6,000
acres of coastal scenery and wild habitat on
the historic Alabama Gulf Coast.

Adjoining the cities of Orange Beach and
Gulf
Shores, the park features spectacular views
of natural lakes, preserved wilderness areas
and white sand beaches along the Gulf of
Mexico. It is a popular family destination.

The area of Gulf State Park is rich in history
and archaeology. The Gulf Coast was a
popular area for fishing and gathering food
during prehistoric times. Native Americans
came to the coast to gather shellfish and
other natural foods.  

During the War of 1812, the HMS
Hermes
and other British ships passed within view of
the park as they sailed west from Pensacola
for an attack on Fort Bowyer at Mobile Point.

The little fort stood at the site of today's Fort
Morgan State Historic Site. It withstood a
coordinated land and sea attack by British
forces on September 15, 1814, in one of the
most heroic American efforts of the war. The
defeated land forces of the British passed
somewhere through or near Gulf State Park
on their overland retreat back to Pensacola.

Please click here to learn more about the
Battle of Fort Bowyer.

Gulf State Park was frequently transited by
soldiers during the Civil War, especially after
1862 when Pensacola was evacuated by the
Confederates and fell to Union forces. The
Federals carried out scouting missions west
from Pensacola towards Mobile Point that
passed through the park area, but no fighting
took place there.

In March of 1865, General Gordon Granger's
XIII Corps (USA) marched east from
Fort
Morgan in the beginning stages of the Mobile
Campaign.

The order to march came down on March 16,
1865, and the thousands of Union soldiers
prepared four days rations consisting of a
daily allowance of three-quarters pound of
salt pork as well as bread, salt, coffee and
sugar. With these provisions packed into
their knapsacks, the soldiers started east
down the long sandy peninsula.

They also carried 150 rounds of ammunition
per man and five batteries of field artillery
accompanied the column. The soldiers knew
that heavy fighting lay ahead, particularly as
they approached Spanish Fort on the east
shore of Mobile Bay.

The march of Granger's men took them from
Fort Morgan east through present-day Gulf
Shores and probably the very northwest
corner of Gulf State Park. XIII Corps camped
at Bayou Portage just north of the park on the
night of March 18, 1865.

From this campsite Granger and his men
went on to fight at the
Battle of Spanish Fort
and the
Battle of Fort Blakeley. It was not until
they were well past the Gulf State Park area,
however, that they encountered Confederate
resistance.

Please click here to learn more about the
Mobile Campaign.
Great State Parks of the South
In addition to its proximity to important sites
of the War of 1812 and Civil War, Gulf State
Park is a great place to learn more about the
natural history of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

In a cooperative effort with the City of Orange
Beach, the park has opened a series of trails
through its wilderness preserve. Named the
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry trails, they
feature outstanding views of marches, lakes,
creeks, sand dunes and swamps. The 6.8
miles of trails are popular with hikers.
Please
click here for a downloadable map.

In addition to its backcountry trails, the park
also offers shorter hikes along the Hurricane
Ridge, Middle Lake, Bear Creek, Allligator
Marsh, Bobcat Branch, Tallow, Holly, Middle
Lake Overlook and Armadillo Trails.

Outdoor lovers should be sure to visit Gulf
State Park's Nature Center. It is a living
museum that interprets the unique plants
and animals of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Other amenities in the park include a very
nice oak-shaded picnic area bordering Lake
Shelby, a 750 acre freshwater lake. It is one
of three natural lakes in the park, all within
sound of the rolling waves of the Gulf.

The park has large areas of beach access
on the Gulf of Mexico, an 18 hole champion-
ship golf course, lakefront campgrounds and
camp store. Fishing, birding and
Geocaching
also are popular activities.

Gulf State Park offers both wilderness and
lake cabins and its new lakefront 3 bedroom
cottages are among the finest to be found in
any state park.
Click here for reservations.

The park address is 20115 State Highway
135, Gulf Shores, Alabama. There is no fee
to enter and day use areas are open 7
a.m.until sundown.
Please click here to visit
the official park website for more information.