Portsmouth Island from Ocracoke

Ocracoke, North Carolina 27960

Portsmouth Island from Ocracoke

Portsmouth Island from Ocracoke Professional Review and Guide

"This is one of America’s few remaining undeveloped barrier islands. Covered by grasslands, bordered by dense vegetation, dunes, and wide open beaches, and surrounded by salt marsh, Cape Lookout remains virtually untouched. The earliest maps called the area “horrible headland” in reference to its dangerous shoals. The sound side, however, is a calm, sheltered anchorage. The north side of the island, near the village of Portsmouth, is mud-flats and frequently overwashed. The village is no longer inhabited, except by National Park Service volunteers or those chosen by lottery to stay in one of the historic homes.

You can make this a day trip, but I recommend camping over. Public facilities are limited. Be sure to bring insect repellent, food and drinking water, sunscreen, appropriate clothing, and a hat. Mosquitoes may visit everywhere else, but this is where they live. The weather is unpredictable here. Fierce lightning storms are common, so be prepared."

Portsmouth Island from Ocracoke Reviews

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This trail leads to the northern most section of the Core Banks. Talk to the local kayak guides. They usually have a safe trail marked all the way across the inlet. There are shoals throughout the inlet. At low tide you may have to paddle around them or wade across. There are times when this inlet can be dangerous, always check the weather and tides. On Portsmouth Island are historic homes and buildings. Volunteers live in the old Coast Guard kitchen building, if they are around they will help in emergencies.

Portsmouth Island from Ocracoke Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
6 hours to overnight
Year-round, weather permitting
USGS: NC0586 Portsmouth
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018