Perfect for a short stroll, a family bike ride, or a relaxing hike through the native wilderness of the Alabama Gulf Coast, the Fort Morgan Road Trail is a popular multi-use paved trail that meanders through pine forests, sand dunes, cypress groves, coastal marshes, and peaceful tree-lined neighborhoods. Grab the bikes – or rent from one of three nearby cycling centers – and enjoy a scenic 11-mile (round-trip) ride that is perfect for all ages and skill levels on your next vacation. Along the way you will see plenty of wildlife including eagles, ospreys, and even the occasional alligator (fortunately at a distance).
Beautiful Views at the Fort Morgan Road Trail
The Fort Morgan Road Trail is a rails-to-trails success story. An old rail line, it connects the Rouses Shopping Center in the west (at the intersection of Highways 59 and 180) with the Peninsula Golf and Racket Club in the east. Most of its 11 miles is flat, though there are a few small sections of hills at the western reaches. The Fort Morgan Road Trail is a good trail ride for families and is accessible to most riders.
And while the paved trail at times parallels the roadway with which it shares its name, it spends most of its time meandering through deep and pristine forests, marshes, and dunes, all of them alive with the song of forest birds, the drone of insects, and the peaceful whispers of the wind in the dangling Spanish moss. Areas with shaded swings are placed occasionally along this wide trail (great for stopping and enjoying the scenery) as are garbage and recycle bins. Remember to bring along some bug spray – it can get pretty buggy in these lovely shaded areas under the live oaks!
NOTE: Cyclists will want to keep an eye out for cracked pavement, road crossings and high traffic areas, as well as the occasional rattlesnake sunning itself, and the curious alligators that can be seen in the distance at Little Lagoon.
There is a sense of history here (and the occasional historical marker); the Union Army used this very same trail during its march on Fort Morgan during the Civil War.
While in the area, you really should take the extra time to visit the Fort Morgan. This historic masonry fort has been guarding Mobile Bay since the War of 1812 (as Fort Bowyer). The Fort was a major player in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War and acted as a coast defense post until July 1944. When standing at the top points of the Fort, it’s easy to imagine the Battle of Mobile Bay where Union Rear Admiral David G. Farragut uttered his famous line, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” The fort’s live reenactments offer a glimpse back in time, and the kids will love the canon firings. The fort has a museum, fishing pier, picnic tables and more. And as part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, the Fort is a birder’s paradise, especially during spring and fall months. Your group can also try their skills at the Fort Morgan Escape Room where you’ll pretend to be a captured Civil War spy who must escape!
Hitting the Trail
Most visitors opt to hop on the trail at the eastern end. We recommend you do likewise, if only because you can fuel up on coffee and beignets at Café Beignet in the shopping center. After passing a scenic golf course you can enjoy a pit stop for refreshments at the Island Quik Mart at the 4-mile mark (it is 5.4 miles each way). This pit stop area makes a great turnaround spot if you have riders in your group who may not be able to make the entire 11-mile ride. Rehydrate and press on until your arrival in the tranquil neighborhoods and wooded groves around the Peninsula Golf Course.
You can start the trail at Lagoon Park which sits at the eastern end of Fork Morgan Road Trail. You can find parking, restrooms and drinking water at the park. Lagoon Park is on Highway 180 (or Fort Morgan Road) approximately 1.8 miles west of Highway 59.
Leashed dogs are allowed at the Fort and along the trail, so if your dog is trail worthy, bring him along! The Fort Morgan Road Trail is a good ride during all seasons, although it can get hot during summer months.
For those looking for a more advanced and more scenic ride, additional trails head east through Gulf State Park, and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, a beautiful sanctuary of dunes, lakes, and postcard-worthy white sand beaches. For more bike trail suggestions, give our friendly staff a call today. We can also help you find a rental that will be perfectly located to act as a home base for all your biking journeys while you’re here.