Island Creek Forest Walk: Croatan National Forest

Island Creek Forest Walk Trail HeadI’ve been aware for the Island Creek trail for nearly as long as I’ve lived in eastern North Carolina but I’d never visited it.  Everything I could find online about it always said it was a 1/2 mile loop trail.  A 30+ minute drive always seemed a bit out of the way for a 1/2 mile hike. I was in the vicinity of this trail one day with a some time to kill so I decided to check it out. There is a lot more hiking opportunity at the site than normally reported. The site actually contains 4 loop trails plus to interconnecting trails. By walking the paremeter of the outer edges of the loop trails and the two connecting trails the reported hike is about 5 miles in duration. Now that’s a worth while day hike! Apparently the original 1/2 mile loop is the only segment managed by the Forest Service. The remaining trails are blazed and maintained by… well… I don’t really know. Perhaps a local wildlife club or some other organization. Regardless of who’s set it up, it’s all clearly marked and there are accurate maps available at the trail head.

On my first visit I explored part of Loop 1, the Interect Trail, part of Loop 2 and the Natcy trail. Accordingly to my pedometer I walked approximately 3 miles. It was a very picturesque and pleasant hike. The terrain and fauna is a bit different that I usually see in eastern North Carolina. It put me more in mind of the forests of the Midwest. Loop 1 and the intersect trails parallel the creek winding through a hardwood forest. There are some limestone outcroppings and bluffs along the way… A very unusual site for Coastal Carolina. Loop 4 runs through the more typical pine forest. It is not as well blazed and when I visited it, parts of it were under ankle deep water. I’d like to revisit that section after a bit of a dry period. To visit the Island Creek Forest Walk trail take US 70 S from New Bern to NC 1004. 8 miles to trail.

Maps are available at the trail head and are posted along the trail. The permanent trail blazes are very nicely done.

Loop 1 and the Interect trails meander along the creek. Another view of Island Creek

nature photos

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  1. ScribeGirl April 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Enjoyed this walk today and your description and photos.

  2. Rabbit's foot June 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Very nice to read up on all you do! I’m so jealous!

  3. Rabbit's foot June 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    How nice! Can’t wait to come visit.

  4. Kelvin Taylor August 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I was doing a web search for info on Island Creek when I found you blog. Much of what I find is not that informative so it was nice to find photos and personal experiences. I’m heading that way tomorrow in search of wild orchids in the Croatan. Last weekend I was in the Green Swamp near Wilmington. Found a good number of orchids including white fringed ones along Hwy 130 south of Whiteville. Have you ever seen any orchids this time of year?


  5. admin August 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    Hi Kevin. Thanks for the comments. It’s always nice to know people find my information useful. I haven’t been out that way this time of year, and honestly I’m not all that good with plant identification. I know some of the photos of orchids from the Green Swamp are not what I’d think of as orchid like. I quite possibly have seen some but didn’t realize it. Have you tried the pine savanah areas off Millis Road in Carteret County. Haven’t visited the Green Swamp but based on descriptions this area sounds similar.

    Good luck.

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