Ashley and I had a recent trip to North Carolina with family (a yearly family tradition) and had the chance to do some hiking. One of the trails that we did was the Cedar Point Tideland Trail in the Croatan National Forest. This is a fun short trail that offers a great chance to see wildlife in Coastal North Carolina. For more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.
Directions to Trailhead: The Cedar Point Tideland Trail is located off North Carolina 58 about 1.25 miles North of the Junction of North Carolina 24 and North Carolina 58. If you are heading over the bridge, leaving Emerald Isle, continue through the intersection of NC24 and NC58 towards Maysville, in 1.25 miles you will make a left onto VFW Road (It is the first left after the NC24 and NC58 intersection). You will proceed on the road and will make a left onto Croatan Forest Road, which will take you to the trailhead for the Tideland Trail.
Description of Hike: The Cedar Point Tideland Trail is near the mouth of the White Oak River and is surrounded by a salt marsh and coastal forest. The Tideland Trail is a national recreation trail and meanders through the salt marsh and adjoining forest. There are two different loops that are offered to hikers. The first loop is a 0.6 mile loop (Indicated by the connecting yellow line in the Google Map Below) that crosses the salt marsh and follows its edge. This short loop is wide enough for wheelchairs as well.
The second loop is the 1.3 mile loop (Indicated by the entire blue line in the Google Map Below) that goes on to skirt the edge of the White Oak River and wind over the marsh and through the woods, then reconnects with the short loop. Ashley and I hiked the 1.3 mile loop. There is minimal elevation gain to both loops. This whole area is a nutrient rich wetland and offers a great chance to see wildlife. Note, in the warm months, chiggers, ticks, and mosquitoes can be active.
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I both enjoyed our hike here. The trail was well maintained and the bridges that went over the saltwater offered amazing views of the scenery. Even though we did this hike during the summer, we had a nice cloud cover that made the hike much cooler than it normally would have been during the summer. If you hike here during the summer make sure to bring water and wear sunscreen.
We had the chance to see a lot of wildlife while we were hiking in this area. There was a nesting pair of ospreys that we saw in addition to several snowy egrets and a couple of great blue herons. Additionally we saw fiddler crabs, blue crabs, a couple toads, and a 4 foot eastern king snake while hiking here. We also saw a porpoise that was hunting for fish in the salt water marshes. This is a great hiking location and you are likely to see other people hiking here, as many locals use these trails.
Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 0.6 or 1.3 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).