Thursday, June 15, 2023

Davis Bayou Camping and Multi Trail Hike


Campsite at Davis Bayou National Seashore

The campsites at Davis Bayou campground are really nice – level sites with power and water, and excellent internet access with T-Mobile.  The campground hosts run a tight ship – they gave me a rundown of the rules when I arrived, but the only ones that stood out  was that all wheels must remain on the pavement, and no golf carts.  The area has been recently (probably post-hurricane) updated and they keep it very well maintained.

Bunny-2On the morning of my full day at the park, I stopped at the visitor center to see if the ranger had any recommendations.  His main recommendation was to take the ferry out to the old civil war fort on Ship Island, but I chose to skip that one.  It was a $42 round trip, which seemed a little pricey, but also a full-day excursion.  Since I didn’t have spending a day on the beach as part of my list of stuff to do, I decided to hike the few trails that were on the mainland.

Marsh Overlook at Visitor CenterI started my hike by exploring the trails around the visitor center.  Most of these trails are paved, but there were a couple of areas that they were regular dirt trails.  I saw several rabbits in the area; they are pretty comfortable around people and don’t hop away unless one gets too close.  There’s a boardwalk that goes around the back of the visitor center that leads to an area overlooking the marsh and Halstead Bayou.  In the morning, this is a great spot to watch the wading birds and other marsh wildlife.

Fishing Pier Near Visitor CenterA little to the  south of the  visitor center, there is a walk that goes to the Davis Bayou Fishing Pier. There wasn’t anyone fishing when I was there, but the shaded area in the middle of the pier looks like it would be an ideal spot to cast a line and enjoy the ocean breezes.

Trailhead PlacardThe other three trails,  Davis Bayou Trail, CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Overlook Spur, and Nature’s Way Loop, can all be reached in succession from the parking area in front of the Visitor Center.  The first trail runs parallel to the Park Road, and there wasn’t much to see along this path other than a view of a marsh while crossing the bridge.  But the trail leads to the CCC which was a little more interesting.

CCC PlacardThe CCC Overlook Spur is about a quarter of a mile long, and ends at the remains of an overlook that has since overgrown.  Following the remains of the concrete foundations around, this was actually a reasonably large area at one time, and a quick bit of research showed that this was used for a dining hall and recreation area.

Bordwalk to stairsFurther to the north the entrance to the Nature’s Way Loop Trail.  I found this one to be the most interesting of the three.  The north entrance to the loop is by boardwalk/bridge, but this is closed due to damage.  There are other boardwalks and even some “stairs” along the path.

Marsh rest stop-1There are a couple of overlooks along the way to view the marshes, but one of them was severely  hurricane damaged.  At the intersection where the trail completed the loop, there is also a bench.

At the time I hiked these trails, I had them all to myself.  With no people around the birds and small wildlife were abundant.  It made for a nice peaceful walk in the woods and being surrounded by the sounds of nature is always good for the soul.

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Bench at Intersection Bunny-1 CCC Trailhead
Closded Boardwalk Marsh overlook Natures Way Trailhead
Old Bench Parking near visitor center Paved Trails Around Visitor Center
Picnic Area near Visitor Center Probably Hurrican Damage Trail view-1

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