Pensacola, FL

Gulf Shores National Seashore: Fort Pickens and Naval Live Oaks

National Park Service

In addition to the beach itself, there are two sections of Gulf Shores National Seashore in the Pensacola Beach area are good for running: Fort Pickens and the Naval Live Oak Area.

Fort Pickens. The fort itself, built in 1834, is 10 miles west of the Pensacola Beach Pier. There are some good running options here. From the Ranger Station, you can run on Fort Pickens Rd. and do some loops around the several Civil War era Batteries. There are also 7.5 miles of hiking trails through dunes, sand oak, and other vegetation — they’re runnable but that the surface is a mix of wooden boardwalk, dirt, and some softer sand. Also,extensive beach running in this area. You can also run on Fort Pickens Rd. — though note it’s 9 miles from the Pier to the Fort Pickens gate (bike path along 4 miles of it), and the it’s quite exposed with fairly monotonous scenery.

Live Oak Area. Wimimedia: Ebyabe

Naval Live Oak Area. Across the causeway on the north side of English Navy Cove, a section of Gulf Shores National Seashore has several miles of trails through unique live oaks and other interesting vegetation. The surfaces are a combination of paved multi-use trail, wooden boardwalk, dirt, and some sections of softer sand that might be challenging for running. The paved Brackenridge Nature Trail is an 0.8 miles loop. Longer options include the 3.4 mile Andrew Jackson Trail and 2 mile paved Multi-Use Trail.



  • Many miles of trails in each area
  • Generally flat
  • Depends on route/section chosen
  • Parking in both areas; Fee might be required