Trails

Status of park trails

Park map (PDF)

Nearly 9 miles of trails wind through a variety of distinct habitats at Carolina Beach State Park. Relatively flat and easy to walk, the trails offer an opportunity to observe the diversity of plant and animal life in the park.

Sharing the Trail

Flytrap Trail and Fitness Trail are accessible to wheelchairs. Fitness Trail allows bikes. Horses are not permitted on any trail in the park.

Pets

Pets are permitted on park trails. Pets must be on an attended leash of no longer than 6 feet at all times. Please pick up after your pet when you are at the park; pet waste is not fertilizer and can put plants, other animals, and visitors at risk for disease. Please dispose of pet waste in garbage bins and do not throw waste bags in the woods or leave them on the ground. When sharing a trail, hikers with pets must yield to all other trail users, including bicyclists.

Don't Forget:

  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Trail map: Avoid getting lost. Pay attention to trail markers. Download and print a park map (PDF) at home, or stop by the visitor center or marina to pick up a map.
  • Plenty of water
  • Sturdy walking or hiking shoes: Most trails have a natural surface and may have roots, rocks and/or sand.

Please do not wander off the trail when hiking, biking, or walking with your pet. Fragile plants like the Venus flytrap are prone to damage from trampling.

Note: The table below can be sorted by length, difficulty, trail use, and accessibility. Click the corresponding header category to change the order of the trails. You can also use the search function to narrow down the list. This table can also be downloaded as an Excel file.

Trail Name Blaze Length Difficulty Trail Use Accessible Description
Flytrap Trail orange
diamonds
0.5-mile
loop
Easy Hiking only Yes

This wheelchair-accessible trail loops through pocosin wetlands, longleaf pine forests and wiregrass savanna communities. Venus flytraps can be seen along the edges of the pocosins. (Please stay on the trail to avoid damaging these small and fragile plants.) Wildflowers bloom along the trail.

The trail begins and ends at the parking area at the end of Nature Trail Lane.

This trail has a natural surface.

Parts of the trail travel along wooden boardwalks.

Sugarloaf Trail orange
circles
3-mile
loop
Easy Hiking only No

This trail offers great birding opportunities. Journey through a coastal evergreen forest, coastal fringe sandhill forest, tidal cypress-gum swamp and longleaf pine savanna on your way to the Sugarloaf Dune, a prominent precolonial geological feature.

The trail begins and ends at the marina parking area.

This trail has a natural surface and sand.

Campground Trail blue
circles
1-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

This trail briefly joins the Sugarloaf Trail, and much of it winds through a coastal fringe sandhill forest, dominated by longleaf pines and live oaks.

The trail can be accessed from either loops in the campground or from the visitor center.

This trail has a natural surface and sand.

Sand Live Oak Trail yellow-green
diamonds
1.5-mile
loop
Easy Hiking only No

This trail takes hikers along the river and through an ancient sand dune forest, looping around the southern end of the park, before connecting back to the Sugarloaf Trail.

This natural surface and sand trail can be accessed from the Sugarloaf Trail only.

Part of this trail is on U.S. federal property; stay on the trail and follow the blazes.

Snow's Cut Trail red
diamonds
0.75-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

This trail follows along Snow's Cut, which connects the Intracoastal Waterway and the Cape Fear River, through a pine hardwood forest. Towering trees and scenic views of the waterway are seen along this trail.

The trailhead is located at the picnic area, but it can also be accessed from the campground.

This trail has a natural surface and sand.

Track Trail red
diamonds
0.25-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

This section of the Snow's Cut Trail is designated as a self-guided trail for kids, as part of the nationwide network of Kids in Parks Track Trails.

This trail has a natural surface and sand.

Activity brochures may be found at the picnic area trailhead and at the campground trail access near campsite #20.

Swamp Trail red
circles
0.75-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

This trail begins and ends along Sugarloaf Trail. It provides access to the group camping area, as well as views of a tidal cypress gum swamp and brackish marsh.

It can be accessed via the Sugarloaf Trail off of the marina trailhead or via the Flytrap Trail.

This trail has a natural surface and sand.

Oak Toe Trail blue
diamonds
0.25-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

This trail spurs off the Sugarloaf Trail and journeys to the marsh overlook. It offers views of the Cape Fear River and brackish marsh, as well as sightings of fiddler crab, dwarf palmetto, and oak toe lichen.

The quickest access via the Sugarloaf Trail is from the marina trailhead.

This trail has a natural surface and sand.

Fitness Trail yellow
circles
1-mile
loop
Easy Biking,
Hiking
Yes

This wheelchair-accessible loop has several exercise and activity stations set up along the way.

This trail is loccated off of 7th Street, with parking available at the Carolina Beach Recreation Center.

This is a gravel trail.

Bicyclists, please yield to hikers on this trail.