• Ocean waters of Cape Hatteras National Seashore

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Off-Road Vehicle Regulations

    Please check here for information on how to get your Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) permit. More »

Hiking

Boardwalk path along the Buxton Woods Trail

Boardwalk along the Buxton Woods Trail

NPS

For those who want to explore aspects of a barrier island beyond the beach, try one of the three designated hiking trails found within Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
 
Buxton Woods Trail

Buxton Woods Trail

NPS

Buxton Woods Trail
3/4 mile loop

Along this relatively level path you can see the diverse maritime forest ecosystem up close, practice your skill at identifying trees, listen to the call of birds, and traverse some of the highest points on Hatteras Island. The start and end of the loop is at the Buxton Woods Picnic Area.
 
Open Ponds Trail

Open Ponds Trail

NPS

Open Ponds Trail
4.5 miles one direction (9 miles round-trip)

This trail, part of the Mountains to Sea Trail, traverses dunes, shrub thickets, and maritime forests of Hatteras Island as it winds its way between British Cemetery near the Buxton Woods Picnic Area and Trailhead and the Frisco Campground.
 
Hammock Hills boardwalk at the Pamlico Sound

Boardwalk at the Pamlico Sound

NPS

Hammock Hills Trail
3/4 mile loop

This trail, found just across from the entrance to the Ocracoke Campground, leads you from the dunes and scrub thickets, though the maritime forest, and to the salt marsh and views of the Pamlico Sound, before looping back through the forest.

Did You Know?

The Principal Lightkeeper's Quarters and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move toward their new homes, a safer distance from the ocean.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick structure ever moved. When it was built in 1870, it stood 1,500 feet from the shore. By 1999, the lighthouse was within 100 feet of the ocean. To protect it from the encroaching sea, it was moved inland a total of 2,900 feet over a 23-day period.