Jockey's Ridge State Park Tracks in the Sand Trail

MODERATE 9 reviews

Jockey's Ridge State Park Tracks in the Sand Trail is a 1.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nags Head, NC that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.2 miles 91 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash







Tracks in the Sand is a 1.5 mile leisurely paced trail that begins at the parking lot and goes over the dunes, to the soundside, and back. The trail focuses on the harsh, yet fragile sand dune environment and the plants and animals that call it home. Shoes are a must. Jockey's Ridge State Park is a North Carolina state park in Dare County, North Carolina in the United States. Located in Nags Head, North Carolina, it covers 426 acres (1.72 km) and includes the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States. It is the most visited park within the NC park system. The park is a day-use only park and has no campgrounds. Jockey's Ridge contains three unique ecosystems: the Roanoke Sound, the dune system, and the maritime forest. Often when it rains, water collects near the bottom of the dunes creating a temporary pond, known as a vernal pool. Few fauna can be seen around the dunes, although some types of flora, such as tall grass, may be readily identified closer to the bottom of the dunes. The park is open year round, except Christmas Day, and does not charge an admission, parking, or program fee. The park's entrance is located at Milepost 12 on S. Croatan Highway/US 158. Ranger-led programs are offered throughout the year. Also available are nature trails, a sound access, and picnic areas. Viewing the sunset over the sound, bird watching, and kite-flying are among the favorite activities of visitors. The park also provides outside bathrooms that are typically open from the last frost of the spring to the first frost of the fall. During the summer months, when visitation is highest, visitors are encouraged to bring water with them. There is no fresh water available within the park. The desert-like environment can be quite harsh and temperatures can reach 110 degrees; the sand can be 30 degrees hotter. The park's visitor center features a museum about the cultural and natural history of the park, including sand dunes, plants and wildlife, weather, pirates and local maritime history. A gift shop run by the Friends of Jockey's Ridge is located in the visitor center and a hang gliding school provides concessionaire hang gliding lessons in the park. The ridge area is accessed either from the back deck of the visitor center or the parking lot via a 350-foot-long (110 m) boardwalk. Ref:'s_Ridge_State_Park

23 days ago

Great park. We've been here a few times; the first time was in January and it was empty, the second time was in November and it was very crowded. Dogs loved running around in the sand. Gets windy and chilly on the big dunes.

1 month ago

Interesting trail among the dunes. Do not wear shorts when it is windy, the sand will hurt your legs.

nature trips
8 months ago

great for individuals and families of all sizes and shapes. don't let the steepness of the Dunes scare you, literally, take one baby step at a time up. make sure you stop by kitty Hawk Kites to purchase a Symphony Kite to fly while there. fun, fun, fun!

11 months ago

A beautiful hike. My two year old and I hike this spot all the time!

11 months ago

It's like being on another planet.
Love. Love. Love.

1 year ago

Started on top of Jockeys Ridge sand dunes and hiked to Jeannette Pier= 5.5 miles. Took about 2hours hiking in the sand. Was very windy and rainy but still is a 'one of a kind' hike. Had a ride waiting for me at the pier. FUN!!!

3 years ago

Now called the "Tracks in the Sand" trail, we hiked up to the top of some of the largest sand dunes on the east coast back in 2006 (Jockey's Ridge is the tallest sand dune system on the east coast) and watched hang gliders, ran up and down the dunes, enjoyed the cool ocean breezes at the top. We had a blast. Have been there a bunch of times, learned to hang glide there - Kitty Hawk Kites (you can't hardly get hurt in a sand pile). The first time I went to Jockey's Ridge was in the late 60s and used to shoot Estes rockets off the top and chase them to the ocean as a kid... a lot has changed since then, the dunes have migrated and spread out and are not as tall as they used to be due to wind and rain, but are still really cool. Great hike to the sound, nice views in morning and evening light, watch out for mosquitoes in summer, also take shoes (hiking boots best), otherwise the sand will scorch your feet at midday. One of the great experiences in the Kitty Hawk/Nags Head area.

4 years ago

Fun hike in the dunes of NC. Take bug spray. Could hike this in sandals or barefeet.

trail running
4 years ago

Take lots of bug spray. Be prepared to get bitten anyway. Take benadryl. I went in early June and the trail was fun but the bugs thoroughly ruined the experience. It might be best to visit in colder months.