Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) | DAVIS BAYOU TRAIL

William M. Colmer Visitor Center trailhead for the Davis Bayou Trail

William M. Colmer Visitor Center trailhead for the Davis Bayou Trail


See the Hiking web page for a trail map.


Length: 1.8 miles, round trip
Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy

The Davis Bayou Trail at Gulf Islands National Seashore is mainly the shoulder of Park Road and Robert McGhee Road. You can begin the hike at either the William M. Colmer Visitor Center or the picnic area at the corner of Robert McGhee and Boat Launch roads. On the way you will pass the intersection for the CCC Spur Trail (.4 mile round trip) and the Nature’s Way Loop Trail (.5 mile loop). You may want to incorporate these into your overall hike if you have the time. They are the only other hiking trails in the park.

Picnic area trailhead for the Davis Bayou Trail at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Picnic area trailhead for the Davis Bayou Trail at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Most people start the hike at the Visitor Center, and if you find yourself in this same situation, the trailhead is at the far end of the right-hand parking lot (when facing the Visitor Center). The trail starts off winding through the forest, but in only a tenth of a mile it comes out onto Park Road where it then continues as a gravel walkway along the side of the road for the rest of its length. The road segment is out in the open, so be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen if avoiding the sun is important to you.

Short hike through the woods on the Davis Bayou Trail

Short hike through the woods on the Davis Bayou Trail

Gravel path on the side of the road is the Davis Bayou Trail

Gravel path on the side of the road is the Davis Bayou Trail

When you reach Park Road, take a left and follow the sign to the PICNIC AREA. The trail passes a salt marsh area along the way, and you can get a nice look into the bayou.

A look into the bayou along the Davis Bayou Trail at Gulf Islands National Seashore

A look into the bayou along the Davis Bayou Trail at Gulf Islands National Seashore

You will come to the intersection with the CCC Spur Trail at the .3-mile mark on the hike. This is a short trail that leads to the ruins of an old Civil Conservation Corps building from the 1930s. I only recommend hiking this trail if you have an interest in such things. See the CCC Spur Trail report for more information.

Ruins of the CCC building on the CCC Spur Trail at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Ruins of the CCC building on the CCC Spur Trail at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Shortly after the intersection with the CCC Spur Trail, the Davis Bayou Trail takes a turn onto Robert McGhee Road. Continue following the signs to the picnic area. Not long after the turn, you have the option to cut back into the woods or to continue walking along the road. While there is no identification sign, the trail into the woods is a back door entrance to the Nature’s Way Loop Trail. The official starting point is farther ahead on McGhee Road (there is a small, roadside parking area). The Nature’s Way Loop Trail adds a half mile to the Davis Bayou Trail hike.

If you opt for the forest trail instead of walking farther along McGhee Road, when you reach the intersection with the Nature’s Way Loop Trail, keep straight to hike around the loop in the counterclockwise direction. Taking a sharp left sets you off hiking clockwise.

Stay straight to get to the parking lot; a left takes you back around the Nature's Way Loop Trail

Stay straight to get to the parking lot; a left takes you back around the Nature’s Way Loop Trail

The Davis Bayou Trail officially continues along McGhee Road. When you reach the Nature’s Way Loop Trail parking lot, be sure to check out the Alligator Pond on the other side of the road. I saw an alligator, turtles, crabs, and a salt marsh snake.

Turtles in Alligator Pond on McGhee Road in the Davis Bayou unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore

Turtles in Alligator Pond on McGhee Road in the Davis Bayou unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore

Keep walking on Robert McGhee Road to complete the Davis Bayou Trail hike. You’ll pass another overlook of the bayou along the way. I saw an alligator on this stretch of the trail.

Alligator in the marsh along McGhee Road in the Davis Bayou unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore

Alligator in the marsh along McGhee Road in the Davis Bayou unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore

The official end of the Davis Bayou Trail does not come until you reach the picnic area at the corner of Robert McGhee and Boat Launch roads, but there is nothing much to see past the marsh. You might as well turn around and head back to the Visitor Center unless you hiked all this way to have a picnic. I continued to the end, which is about .9 mile from the start.

There’s not much to the Davis Bayou Trail. The Alligator Pond and the two marsh areas are the most interesting stops, and you can park right next to these areas and see everything without having to hike nearly two miles. Thus, I recommend the Davis Bayou Trail for exercise purposes only.

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Last updated on April 29, 2022
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