Three Boardwalk Trails Neusiok Trail • Palmetto Boardwalk Trail • Fenwick-Hollowell Wetlands Trail [caption id="attachment_174562" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] From Havelock to Morehead City, the Mountains to Sea Trail follows the Neusiok
From Oyster Point, on the southeastern edge of Croatan National Forest, one can look across the Newport River — over alligator snouts poking above the brackish water — and see Morehead City in the distance. Oyster Point is the southern terminus of the easy, 20.4-mile Neusiok Trail, which traverses pine forests, hardwood ridges, cypress swamps, and pocosin bogs before reaching the Neuse River. The varied ecosystems teem with life, from the hard-to-find — like tiger salamanders hiding under logs in the pine forest — to the hard-to-miss, like loons calling out their mournful wails on the Neuse River. Along the trail, hikers can see old tar kilns — mounds of dirt that seem out of place in the flat landscape — and derelict moonshine stills, vestiges of human settlement in a place that is otherwise so wild. — Rebecca Woltz
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This easy, 1-mile out-and-back trail in Goose Creek State Park crosses through a unique ecosystem: What once was a shady, fresh-water, hardwood swamp has become a sunny marsh thanks to the huge hurricanes of the late ’90s, which killed many of the trees when they pushed saltwater into the area. Today, swamp and marsh animals combine to create a diverse environment. As you cross through the peaceful marshland, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a wealth of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for leopard frogs, salamanders, box turtles, beavers, and even otters, and look up to see Spanish moss dripping from weathered old trees. In the mood for a longer hike? Trek through a pine forest and head to the shore of the Pamlico River to dip your toes in the water. — Katie Schanze
This elevated path — a 3,440-foot boardwalk — on the campus of the College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City extends roughly half a mile through marshland and along the Pasquotank River’s edge. Benches and gazebos are incorporated into the boardwalk trail — intimate spaces to gather with family for a picnic or a snack and point out waterfowl and wildlife that make their homes here. Among the cypress trees and marsh grasses, spot green herons, turtles, and osprey. As part of Kids in Parks, a national program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation that promotes children’s health, the trail entrance offers kid-friendly brochures with nature-themed activities. — Lara Ivanitch
Fenwick-Hollowell Wetlands Trail
1208 North Road Street
Elizabeth City, NC 27909