Segment 13 of North Carolina's 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail explores one of the most diverse and intriguing ecological areas in the nation as well as a Revolutionary War site and the resort community of White Lake.
The route traverses public lands that protect many "Carolina Bays," elliptical depressions all aligned in a northwest to southeast direction. The bays provide habitat for many rare and endangered species, and theories abound about how they were originally formed. Some of the more famous bays, including Jones, White and Singletary, are large lakes. In other places, hikers should look for bays without standing water—still with the same shape and directional alignment. The bays are named for the bay tree which grows in many of them.
At Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest, hikers can also learn about the naval stores industry that tapped longleaf pine for tar and turpentine until the Civil War and the role that public-land managers in Bladen County are playing today to revive the population of endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.
The trail also features Harmony Hall Plantation, which holds one of the oldest residences in North Carolina, built before the Revolutionary War.
The trail through Bladen Lakes State Forest, Jones Lake State Park, and Singletary Lake State Park is marked with blazes and signs for park trails, and with the MST blaze—a 3-inch white circle (in some places, a white diamond may have been used temporarily). Road portions of the segment are marked with blazes and signs. Blazes are on the left shoulder of the road in the direction of travel and signs are on the right side. Note that signs are often a target of theft and vandalism, and should not be relied upon exclusively for wayfinding. The trail in Suggs Mill Pond Game Land is not currently marked.
For more information, including camping, lodging, parking, shuttles and resupply information, as well as detailed, turn-by-turn directions, download a trail guide
from the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.