Explore nc outerbanks - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

nc outerbanks Map

Great trail and very clearly marked. 1&2 gave beautiful scenery with some challenging inclines and some beautiful built in steps. When we hit trail 3, we made it about 1/4 mi in before a 4ft cotton mouth jumped out at us. Standing its ground in the middle of the trail we turned around to have an even bigger rat snake do the same 200ft away. My heart definitely got a workout. Took it really slo the rest of the way out of trail 3, spotting another big cotton mouth curled up next to the trail. Still a great hike. If you’re snake sight seeing head to trail 3 after it rains

Nice hike. Clearly marked and well maintained trail. Saw a few plain bellied water snakes (not a plus for me!). Real downfall to this hike is the flies. About 25% of my hike I was harassed by them and had to continually swat my hands as I was walking. Maybe it was the time of year I went. It was an overcast day and I went about 4 pm. According to the sandy parts of the trail, I was the first one there that day. No other footprints. I would like to try some of the other trails next time I’m back.

Well marked with plenty of surprises and sights along the way. Enjoyed the different maritime plants labeled as well. Will be back for sure.
Trails 1-3 off the visitor center dock are more advanced (no pets on these trails). Trails 4-6 are moderate to easy with a beautiful sound view and some great live oak trees at the end. Trails 4-6 are pet friendly as well.

All six of the trails here are nice to walk, especially if you're beached out. Take some bug spray though. You could definitely kill a few hours at this park if you want to make a day of it.

I came across this visiting for the weekend. Overall, it's a pretty cool place and well tended to. This trail was 1 of 6 within the entire preserve. Unfortunately, my visit was the day after a thunderstorm, so the conditions were wet and humid. This also meant the bugs were in abundance (despite being covered in bug spray). I'd love to give this one another go, but maybe during a cooler season or with more clothing.

Easy hike that takes you through a landscape you don’t expect to see. It starts out in a maritime forest before entering a schrub thicket and then onto sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see. The sound and marsh views are wonderful. There is about a 30 foot climb straight up a sand dune when coming back from the sound. The visitor center at the trailhead is nice and has several interesting nature exhibits including fulgurite from lightening strikes on the sand dunes.

Nice hike through a maritime forest with numerous intradunal ponds and tall pines. Due to recent rains, the first small loop as you start the trail was closed. There were several ascents and descents on this trail, which made for a nice workout. The highlight was a plain-bellied watersnake about two feet off the trail that was getting ready to shed its skin and didn’t move when we walked by and took a photo. Some of the pictures submitted for this trail show sound views but those pictures are probably for the Discovery Trail that does have great sound views.

To find the trailhead go from the visitor center across the parking lot and turn left on the road. It starts a few dozen yards done the road on the right. Once there you will go through a maritime forest with several intradunal ponds. After descending to a road you will cross the road and pick the trail up on the other side.

If you look to your right as you cross the road you will see the old Tillett family cemetery. A sign further down the trail talks about the Tillett’s homestead and you can still see some remains of their home’s foundation. Eventually, the path leads to a sound view that is spectacular. Some benches are there to sit on and take in the view. A beautiful black rat snake made an appearance on our way back to the trailhead. This was an enjoyable trail that I will definitely do again.

If you are a birder you will love this trail. A boardwalk first takes you over a pond with several turtles that are used to humans and have no problem posing for pictures. Then the trail leads through a tunnel of wind blown trees before opening up to a chat path with wetlands on each side. Birds are everywhere and varied. At the end of the path is an elevated platform with great views of the surrounding wetlands. Along the chat path are viewing decks that allow better viewing of the wetlands.

Don’t overlook the visitor center at the start of the trail, which has free to use spotting scopes pointing at the wetland from big picture windows as well as several nature exhibits. They also sell birding books, t-shirts and related items. Looking out the visitor center window toward the ocean you can still see sticking out of the ocean the boiler of the shipwrecked steamer SS Oriental that sank in 1862.

I recommend finding the trailhead by using the directions function on the app, which takes you to the trailhead on Ridge Road. There is a wide spot in the road at the start of the trailhead where two cars could probably fit. The trail goes through a maritime forest and is easy to follow to the sound, which is a short side trail out and back from the main trail. The sound is hard to see but you can see parts of it and the Wright Memorial Bridge.

If you continue going north on the trail once you have returned from the sound view side trail you will come to a wooden gate. Heading north past the wooden gate the trail is not marked and becomes nonexistent at parts. You will eventually come to a road and if you follow the road and plunge back into the forest where the gps map says you should, you will eventually come back to another wooden gate where the trail picks up again and is better marked. That trail will lead you around the loop and back to the trailhead. That said, I recommend not treating this as a loop trail but instead as a couple of out and back trails and turning around once you come to the wooden gates.

2 months ago

We found the trailhead at the end of Birch Lane. The trail is unmarked past the trailhead & minimally maintained. In many places trees have fallen across the trail & hikers have created by-passes to go around the barrier, but masking the trail hard to find sometimes. The trail just sort of ends with no indication. Insect repellent is a must. Careful tick check is important after the hike. We came off the trail with a large collection of ticks.

So many bugs but very worth it and the ocean view at the end of the trail was a great and beautiful surprise

Very hard to find the trail. It is sparsely marked in some places & just sort of ends in other places. We accessed the trail from Covered Bridge Road, which is on some maps but isn't actually marked with a sign. Bug repellent is a must. It was an interesting hike but very frustrating to try to find the trailhead.

Nice easy hike, petty scenery. Great sunset views!

3 months ago

We enjoyed this trail. The hills were challenging and the forest was beautiful.

3 months ago

There wasn’t much parking at the trailhead on Ridge Rd. The trail to the sound was fairly well-marked by small signs and a light blue post. It was narrow and wet in some areas. The view of the sound was obstructed by trees. We preferred the trails in Nags Head and the Sandy Run boardwalk trail which were both in great shape and much more enjoyable.

3 months ago

We enjoyed this trail. It was short and easy and well-marked. The view of the sound was very nice.

It's nice. Went with the dogs. Unfortunately the whole trail isn't open to dogs.

A fantastic surprise in the OBX. A great trail run in a hidden gem smack in middle of Kill Devil Hills. Surprising variation in elevation along the run from blueberry and bumble gum. About a 4 mile or so run. One hill is killer for sure. My only down mark would be and also to some would not be a concern would be that the trails are very narrow. I make sure to search for ticks here as you are very much in the woods and there are spots that’ll are slightly overgrown and you will have to track through vegetation. That is also an endearing quality I like here too.

The signs were really easy to follow and the scenery was both beautiful and fascinating. You will pass a small cemetery and later learn more about the family that it belonged to. It's ends at a little beach by the sound and when I got there a couple told me that I had just missed seeing a snake eat an eel. Really cool especially if you're used to mainland scenery - it's totally different.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Locals said the trail was marked, which it was, but not thoroughly. Hard to follow, should have just stuck to the GPS map. Ended up on a private road going in the wrong direction at one point.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My daughter, grandchildren, and I do this every year. Always a fantastic time

nature trips
Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Have been several times. Be sure to bring water during the summer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Year's was a bug free walk. We did see a cottonmouth moccasin sunning himself on this chilly day. Well-marked, popular, but not overly crowded. Wooded dunes hidden off the beaten OBX track offer well-maintained and marked trails appropriate for hikers of all ages and conditions.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

This was so fun! We had our three kids with us ages 10, 10 and 6 and they loved it too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fun trail with great terrain changes. Our dogs (and my husband) were covered in ticks after. No mosquitoes when we went (November).

Sunday, October 30, 2016

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

Load More