Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Segment 18
ElevationAscent: 369' 113 m
Descent: -309' -94 m
High: 60' 18 m
Low: -23' -7 m
GradeAvg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)
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“The Outer Banks: Cedar Island Ferry to Jockey's Ridge State Park”— Jim Grode
Hunting is allowed on Ocracoke Island; however, hunting on the beach is extremely rare. Otherwise, the trail is not on any land that is open for hunting in this segment.
As of 2018, the one-way ferry fare between Cedar Island and Ocracoke Island is $15.00 for cars, $3.00 for bicycles and $1.00 for hikers. The Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry is free. Reservations are highly recommended in the summer. Ferry schedules and reservations are available online or by phone (1-800-By-Ferry), and schedules are posted at the terminals.
Dogs are prohibited in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge west of NC 12. Elsewhere on this segment, dogs are allowed but must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. In addition, even dogs on leashes can disturb shorebirds, so please do not take dogs on the beach when birds are present.
- Ocracoke Village, a quaint and quiet town at the western end of the segment
- Cape Hatteras National Seashore, encompassing the beaches for nearly the entire segment
- The Ocracoke pony pens, which hold the descendants of a horse herd that once roamed on the island
- The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which tells the story of the over 2,000 shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina
- The Open Ponds Trail, a sandy track through maritime forest near Buxton Woods
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, at 208 feet the tallest brick lighthouse in North America and the most recognized symbol of the Outer Banks; it is open for climbing in the summer
- The historic Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, the original site of the forerunners to the U.S. Coast Guard, which is now a museum
- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a renowned haven for waterfowl, especially in the winter
- The historic Oregon Inlet Life-Saving Station
- Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, a 1,000-foot fishing pier that is now part of the North Carolina Aquarium
- Jockey's Ridge State Park, the largest and highest dune complex in the eastern United States
The western end of this segment is at the Cedar Island Ferry Terminal and the eastern end is at the highest point on the dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park. The segment includes 82.2 miles of trail plus two ferry rides; the listed mileage includes the ferry rides and thus is greater than the actual hiking mileage.
There are MST blazes—a 3-inch white circle—on the trail in Jockey's Ridge State Park and a few places in the Buxton Woods area. In addition, there are a few blazes along the beach portions of the trail, mainly at the dune line where the trail leaves the beach; however, these are often destroyed by storms, so they should not be relied upon. Finally, there are mileposts on the Open Ponds Trail in the Buxton Woods area and every 0.5 mile on the beach on Ocracoke Island.
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.
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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed
Local Club: Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Friends)
Sep 6, 2019: MST Birthday Wishes from Howard Lee
Aug 29, 2019: We’d love to see the MST through your eyes and lens!