Every Wednesday through Thanksgiving, GetGoingNC.com will feature a hike in North Carolina that just about anyone can do. It won’t be a long hike (though we may throw in a recommendation for going long), it won’t be strenuous hike (there could be a hill-climb option as well). The hikes will be timed to coincide with the changing colors of fall. This week, the 1.4-mile Cedar Point Tideland Trail in the Croatan National Forest.
Distance: 1.4 miles.
Type of route: Loop.
Getting there: From NC 24 north of Swansboro, go west on NC 58 for 0.7 miles. Turn left on VFW Road. After 0.5 miles, go left on the road into the Cedar Creek Recreation Area. The trailhead is another 0.8 miles, on the right. Here’s a map.
Map: A trail map is available at the trailhead.
Highlights: Great exposure, thanks to long stretches of boardwalks, to a tideland marsh.
Why it’s easy and what you’ll see: This may be the fastest 1.4 miles you ever walk. Or at least the best example of 1.4 miles you won’t remember walking. That’s because it penetrates a tidal marsh packed with the all flora you might expect in a coastal community. At points, the narrow gravel trail is embraced by wax myrtle, yaupon, sweetgum, red maple, redbay red cedar, live oak and, up above, long leaf pine. Less than halfway, hiking clockwise, in it brushes against a coastal forest, the change made possible by an elevation gain of, literally, inches, which weeds out enough salt to create a different ecosystem. The return trip is mostly on boardwalk that elevates you above Dubling Creek and the marsh, and offers long views across the White Oak River to Swansboro. Though a persistent wind tends to keep the flying bug population at bay, the trail is best hiked on a cool, late fall day.
More info: Call the U.S. Forest Service office at (252) 638-5628, or visit the Web site.
For other recommended autumn hikes and to find out where fall is peaking in the state, visit
RomanticAsheville.com and Ray’s Weather.