Gulf State Park Trails designed by ArchitectureWorks named best in country

We are pleased to announce that the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama has been named the Best Recreational Trail in the country by the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards! ArchitectureWorks worked with the State of Alabama and the Department of Natural Resources to design and implement more than 25 miles of trails across Gulf State Park, creating loop systems to encourage visitors’ education of the various ecosystems unique to the area. The vehicular-free system includes paved trails and elevated boardwalks connected to the beachfront trails by two pedestrian bridges. The trails create a universally accessible system for all ages and abilities to safely experience the entirety of the Park.

In addition to the trail system, our firm designed a variety of Pause Places along the trails to escape the heat of the summer and the cold winter winds. The respites are scattered throughout the Park, and each creates a unique experience at its location. The Pause Places also create informal meeting places where visitors are encouraged to meet one another and share experiences. A full trail system sign package was designed and implemented in collaboration with Robert Finkel. Interpretive signs designed by James Hersick are also scattered along the trail system, evoking historical and ecological narratives.

The trail was nominated by a panel of relevant experts, including editors from USA Today, editors from, and other contributors.

Interpretive Graphics Design: Hersick + Webster
Trail Signs Design: Robert Finkel