Life In the Big Green Jolly

Embrace local. Explore often.

Embrace local.  Explore often.

Hike the Beautiful Tideland National Recreation Trail

Gravel Path on Tideland National Recreation Trail

Short, but mighty, the Tideland National Recreation Trail (also known as the Cedar Point Tideland Trail) is a must-visit trail in the Croatan National Forest in eastern North Carolina.

Why You Should Hike the Tideland National Recreation Trail

Don’t be fooled by it’s short length. Even though the total mileage is only about 2 miles for the 2 loops, it’s a whopper of a trail.

Gravel paths and multiple boardwalks take you through and over the salt marsh located alongside the White Oak River. There are plenty of benches to stop and take in the scenery.

The key is to not rush through it. Allow time to meander slowly through the marsh and coastal forest. Bird-watching opportunities include osprey, herons, egrets, and kingfishers are common. At low tide, you might spot crabs scurrying through the mud.

Oyster shell
Oyster Shell at low tide in salt marsh

Near the trailhead is a fishing pier and boat ramp. Be sure to check the tide schedules before setting afloat.

Tips for Visiting the Tideland National Recreation Trail

Early or late day hiking will net you more bird-watching opportunities and less competition for parking.

Marsh = bugs, especially during warm weather. Plan to visit during winter months, otherwise bring plenty of insect repellent.

The parking lot has about a 20-car capacity.

Restroom facilities are located at the trailhead.

Bring your own water and food (for to-go food, check out Snapperz in Emerald Isle) as there are no amenities available at the trailhead. Picnic tables are available for day use.

Cedar Point Campground is within walking distance of the trailhead.

Make it a full-day adventure by combining:

  • Hiking at Patsy Pond Nature Trail
  • Emerald Isle beach trip (dolphins make a frequent appearance here)

Fast Facts

  • Trip Date: January 2021
  • Location: Next to Cedar Point Campground (about 5 miles east of Swansboro, NC)
  • Cost: Free
  • Family friendly: Absolutely!