I’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.