Trails at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Status of park trail

Park map (PDF)

Explore the beach on five miles of coastline or the wildlife-rich marsh and soundside areas on the Basin Trail.


Pets are permitted at the park. 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 on the water, in the woods, or leave them on the ground. Please keep pets away from marked nesting areas of sea turtles and birds.

Don't Forget

  • Insect repellent, especially during warm weather months and when hiking on the Basin Trail
  • Sunscreen
  • Plenty of water
  • Sturdy walking or hiking shoes: the Basin Trail has areas of natural surface, wooden boardwalk, and sand.


Trail Name Blaze Length Difficulty Trail Use Accessible Description
Basin Trail none 1.1-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

This trail meanders through the marsh, allowing hikers a chance to view soundside flora and fauna and the maritime forest. The trail passes a World War II bunker, where the "Fort Fisher Hermit," Robert E. Harrell, lived for more than a decade. At the end is a wooden observation deck with wide views of the Cape Fear River and Zeke's Island, making it a great spot for watching birds and boats.

The trail begins at the park office. An out-and-back hike is 2.2 miles long.

Portions of the trail are on a sandy beach, a wooden boardwalk, and on natural surface.

Hike: Beach none 5-mile
one way
Easy Hiking only No

Visitors are welcome to explore the length of the beach, but please watch out for four-wheel-drive-vehicle traffic.

Loggerhead and other sea turtles, as well as nesting shorebirds, are protected by law. Do not enter marked nesting sites. Anyone who enters the sites, harms the turtles, birds, hatchlings, or their nests is subject to prosecution.