Serendipity led us to a nature trail I’d looked for years before and never found: the Trout Point Nature Trail at Pensacola Naval Air Station. We’d spent the morning walking the trails around Fort Barrancas and wandering through the fort’s long, long tunnels and steep passageways, and decided to head for the West Gate to exit the Naval Air Station. Just before we got to the gate we saw a small sign for Trout Point and I said “Let’s stop!”
A one-lane road led through an open gate and I assumed that was the start of the trail. We parked next to a view of the lagoon and started walking, only to encounter a car soon after. The gentleman inside, a retired officer, assured us it was okay to drive down the sand road. So we returned to our car and drove in, finding the actual trailhead about a half mile down the narrow road.
A walk-in gate led to a boardwalk next to a sign for the Trout Point Nature Trail. Just inside the gate, a trail came in from the right from a residential community. To our surprise, the Trout Point Nature Trail remained a boardwalk for its entire length of 0.6 mile, a 1.2 mile round trip.
From this high point, panoramic views of the Big Lagoon and, on its far shore, Perdido Key, were persistent the entire walk. On the land side, a scrubby coastal pine flatwoods gave way to a picturesque bayou fringed with needlerush.
The bayou eventually opened up into open water, and it was here that the settlement along the shoreline intruded, outside the confines of the naval base. Trail’s end perched over a beach along Big Lagoon; it was easy to step down and wander along the shoreline.
While entirely out in the sun, this is a spectacular short trail for scenic views and well worth a drive into Pensacola NAS to visit. Be sure you have your ID on you, as the naval station checks all IDs at the gate as you enter the premises.