Segment 17

The Neusiok Trail to Cedar Island Ferry

/Segment 17
Segment 17

Project Description

Hiking on Neusiok Trail | Photo © Becka Walling

Hiking on Neusiok Trail | Photo © Becka Walling

Segment 17: The Neusiok Trail & Cedar Island

The Neusiok Trail to Cedar Island Ferry

HikingBackpackingRoad BikingTrail Communities on Route
  • Distance: 69.1 miles (45.6 on paved roads; 4.3 on unpaved roads; 19.2 on trail)

  • Difficulty: difficulty: easy to difficulty: moderate
    Easy on-road sections to moderate on trail

  • Trail Communities: Otway, Stacy, Davis

  • Check Trail Updates before starting your hike.
Download the Trail Guide
Day Hikes
Segment 17 Map

By Kate Dixon and Jim Grode

This special part of the MST includes the Neusiok Trail, the longest hiking path in eastern North Carolina, the North River, small fishing towns that face the Core Sound, and the 14,500 acres of the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The Neusiok Trail marked its 45th birthday in 2016. This trail in the Croatan National Forest was built and is maintained by the Carteret County Wildlife Club with help from the United States Forest Service. The western (northern) end is at Pine Cliff Recreation Area on the Neuse River, and the trail continues 21 miles to Oyster Point Campground on the Newport River. Between are pine forests and cypress swamps, boot-grabbing bogs and sandy beach, salt marsh and distinctive raised swamps called pocosins. Hikers may encounter black bear, alligator, bald eagles, and several species of poisonous snakes. Boardwalks in many of the boggiest areas, and three primitive camping shelters, make this trail a great backpacking experience.

Heading east, hikers cross the North River north of Beaufort, and then head “down east,” past a string of waterfront communities fronting Core Sound. Hikers are rarely out of sight of bays, estuaries, and wetlands as they hike through Otway, Smyrna, Williston, Davis, and Stacy.

The route veers off US 70 onto NC 12 as it nears the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, where the only people on the road are visiting the refuge or heading for the ferry. The refuge sits where the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers empty into the Pamlico Sound. Here vast marshlands stretch toward the horizon, dotted with occasional “islands” of trees. Two hundred and seventy species of birds, 91 of amphibians and reptiles, and 35 mammals are known to live in the refuge, including breeding black rails, a bird species of special concern.

Highlights Include

  • 21 miles of the Neusiok Trail, the longest continuous hiking trail in North Carolina’s coastal plain
  • The diversity of native plants and wildlife—first in the Croatan National Forest and then along the sounds, rivers, marshes, and estuaries of North Carolina’s inner banks
  • The welcoming people who live in the small villages “down east” along the Core Sound

Day Hikes

Day Hike #1
Pine Cliff to Highway 306 – 6.8 miles

Day Hike #2
Highway 306 to Highway 101 –  2.9 miles

Day Hike #3
Highway 101 to Billfinger Rd –  3.4 miles

Day Hike #4
Deep Creek Rd to Alligator Tram Rd – 2.7 miles

Day Hike #5
Alligator Tram Rd to Oyster Point – 4.0 miles

Day Hike #6
Mill Creek Rd to Oyster Point – 1.7 miles

Day Hike #7
Oyster Point Loop – 1.6 miles

The Hiking Project

Hiking Project page


Seg17-Lg1-Beverly H-Boardwalk on the Pinecliff MST Trail
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