Cape Hatteras Point Loop
ElevationAscent: 27' 8 m
Descent: -27' -8 m
High: 10' 3 m
Low: -7' -2 m
GradeAvg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 1% (1°)
“A 4.7-mile loop that takes you along the beach and around the point of Cape Hatteras.”— Donovan Fitzgerald
You leave the beach on an old access road that is now closed to vehicles, until you reach what is called the Beach Access Road ("Inside Road") which returns you to the parking lot. They call them roads but they are really 3-4 ruts in the sand depending on the width.
If you visit this area in the winter, as I did, you can have the entire point to yourself. This is a great escape to nature during the right periods!
The section from Ramp 44 to the point is mostly beach hiking, which is susceptible to high tides and caution should be advised. Note that traveling on the bluffs is strictly prohibited. Once you get to the point, you'll be able to see the amazing dance between the warm Gulf Stream from the south and the Labrador Current from the north. The two currents are constantly changing the sandbars in the area, and provide some of the best fishing around.
During certain seasons, the point can be full of vehicles, but once you round the point heading towards the town of Frisco the beach is closed to motor traffic. I was there during the winter and had the entire area to myself.
Due to the constant turbulence of the ocean in this area, it offers shell hunting like you have never seen before. The large fish population attracts an abundance of coastal birds for viewing. The loop continues as you round the cape and heads towards Ramp 48. The route displayed here does not go all the way to Ramp 48, but instead takes the access road that heads towards the camp ground access to the beach.
This "short cut" is signified by a large tree branch that is covered with Conch Shells. If the branch is gone, then closer to the dunes there are two different PVC pipes erected in the sand that are marked with red tape. This sand road leads you through the dunes (legally) and takes you to the main beach access road.
A left at the fork takes you to Ramp 48 & 49, but a right leads you back to the Ramp 44 access road (and your car). Bear in mind that 4x4's use this sand access road to get to the beaches that allow motor vehicles, so be careful. Once you reach the the intersection for the Ramp 44 access, take a left to return to the parking lot. Enjoy!
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Land Manager: NPS - Cape Hatteras National Seashore