Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve

Nags Head, North Carolina 27959

Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve

Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"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."

More Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Joe Miller
View more trails from this guide book
"Nags Head Woods is one of the best examples of a maritime forest remaining on the eastern seaboard. Within this 1100-acre oasis, you’ll find a world far more diverse than anywhere else on the island. Here, you’ll find five species of salamander, fourteen species of toads and frogs, eight species of turtles, five species of lizards, and twenty species of snakes—including the venomous water moccasin, which likes to sun itself on a hot summer’s day, and the timber rattler. More than fifty bird species nest here, and the tree population includes eleven species of oaks, including several individual oaks estimated to be more than 500 years old."

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Trail Information

Nags Head
Nearby City
0.25-3.75 miles
Several options
Trail Type
Skill Level
Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, 701 West Ocean Acres Dr., Kill Devil Hills 27948; (252) 441-2525 Dare County visitor site
Local Contacts
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.
Local Maps