Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) | NATURE’S WAY LOOP TRAIL

Nature's Way Loop Trail at the Davis Bayou unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore

Nature’s Way Loop Trail at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore


See the Hiking web page for a Davis Bayou trail map.


Length: .45-mile loop
Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

The Nature’s Way Loop Trail in the Davis Bayou section of Gulf Islands National Seashore has its own parking lot on Robert McGhee Road. It is a typical nature trail with numbered posts along the way that correspond to descriptions on a printed brochure. I did not have a brochure—I’m not even sure if they still exist—but if having one is important to you, the best chance of getting one is at the William M. Colmer Visitor Center. Many parks quit printing the brochures but never removed the numbered posts, though I have no idea if that is the case here.

The trail starts off on a boardwalk, and you don’t hike but a minute before coming to a fork. This is the start of the loop portion of the trail. For the record, I took a right at the fork and hiked in the counterclockwise direction. If you somehow got of a trail brochure, this is the correct way to go, as this direction leads to post #1.

Start of the loop portion of the Nature's Way Loop Trail at Davis Bayou

Start of the loop portion of the Nature’s Way Loop Trail at Davis Bayou

The boardwalk ends not long after the fork, and you will find yourself on smooth terrain, mainly flat, but there are a few hills. It’s all easy, and even climbs up the “steeper” hills are aided by stairs.

Stairs are found on the "steeper" hills on the Nature's Way Loop Trail

Stairs are found on the “steeper” hills on the Nature’s Way Loop Trail

If you do not have a brochure, there are information panels along the way that point out interesting facts about the animals and plants that you might see.

Information panel on the Nature's Way Loop Trail, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Information panel on the Nature’s Way Loop Trail, Gulf Islands National Seashore

There are a number of unmarked side trails that are easy to turn onto by mistake. Some lead to nothing, while one or two lead to observation decks. It is very easy to get turned around and temporarily lost in the woods—take it from me. The key is to keep in mind the direction you are hiking around the trail. In a counterclockwise direction, every turn you make should be to the left. Of course it’s the opposite if you are coming around in the clockwise direction—right turns only. The only time you might want to break from the rule is if you can see an observation deck or river, at which point you might want to take the detour.

The west side of the Nature's Way Loop Trail is near the bayou and side trails lead toward it

The west side of the Nature’s Way Loop Trail is near the bayou, and side trails lead toward it

Observation deck on the Nature's Way Loop Trail at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Observation deck on the Nature’s Way Loop Trail at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Ultimately, there’s not much worth seeing on the Nature’s Way Loop Trail. The point of hiking it was to read about the nature along the way, but without the trail brochure the entire endeavor just ends up being a short hike through the woods. The most interesting thing about stopping at the trail is the “gator” pond across the street from the parking area. I saw an alligator and a few water snakes. In the photo below, if you look at the very center of the image and slightly to the right just over the railing, what appears to be a log in the water is an alligator.

Alligator pond across the street from the Nature's Way Loop Trail parking lot

Alligator pond across the street from the Nature’s Way Loop Trail parking lot

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Last updated on April 29, 2022
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