Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve

Nags Head, North Carolina

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Nags Head Woods is a triumph of preservation—an undisturbed woodland that is an essential anchor for North Carolina’s migrating barrier islands. In 1974 Congress named the forest a National Natural Landmark, and portions of the woods have been owned or managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) since 1978. The Town of Nags Head was an early supporter of the idea to protect the woods. The town leased acreage to TNC, helped the group acquire another 400 acres, then dedicated 300 acres as a nature preserve. Seven trails explore this 1,111-acre maritime forest preserve in the northern Outer Banks. A short nature trail and a fully accessible trail are near the visitor center, but a circuit of the Sweetgum Swamp and Blueberry Ridge Trails is the premier nature walk on North Carolina’s barrier islands. Out-and-back hikes lead to the edge of Roanoke Sound.
Hiking North Carolina

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Hiking North Carolina

by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)

Nags Head Woods is a triumph of preservation—an undisturbed woodland that is an essential anchor for North Carolina’s migrating barrier islands. In 1974 Congress named the forest a National Natural Landmark, and portions of the woods have been
owned or managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) since 1978. The Town of Nags Head was an early supporter of the idea to protect the woods.

The town leased acreage to TNC, helped the group acquire another 400 acres, then dedicated 300 acres as a nature preserve. Seven trails explore this 1,111-acre maritime forest preserve in the northern Outer Banks. A short nature trail and a fully accessible trail are near the visitor center, but a circuit of the Sweetgum Swamp and Blueberry Ridge Trails is the premier nature walk on North Carolina’s barrier islands. Out-and-back hikes lead to the edge of Roanoke Sound.

© 2016 Randy Johnson/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding, Hiking
Nearby City: Nags Head
Distance: 0.25-3.75 miles
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult
Accessibility: Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Local Contacts: Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, 701 West Ocean Acres Dr., Kill Devil Hills 27948; (252) 441-2525 nature.org. Dare County visitor site outerbanks.org
Local Maps: USGS Roanoke Island and Manteo. Download TNC’s hiking brochure by searching for “Nags Head Woods” on the Conservancy’s home page (see below). A variety of great brochure/guides can be downloaded here.
Driving Directions: Directions to Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve

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Apr 2018