by Judith Bailey on the Hidden Gem of the Nags Head Town Trail,
spanning Nags Head NC to Kitty Hawk NC
A few years ago I became fascinated with the idea of finding the old road that ran along the Outer Banks from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head. I could discern pieces of it on old maps and did some hiking of sections that I could find in Kitty Hawk and in Nags Head. It was a little like Lewis & Clark trying to find the Northwest Passage since portions of it were now in private ownership (read no trespassing).
Then the Outer Banks Marathon came along and low and behold! There was constructed a passageway for foot travel from Kitty Hawk to Manteo, mostly on the back roads. People coming to the Outer Banks think we have only two roads, the Beach Road and the Bypass (which, by the way, bypasses nothing since everyone built their business on that road). But there is actually a third route. This month I traveled a portion of that route in what I like to call south north Nags Head -- since it is the south end of Nags Head Woods which is actually in north Nags Head NC.
To get there, turn at W. Barnes St. and continue toward the soundside until you see a small park complex on your left. There is a parking lot and a sign (pictured). The official title of this trail is the Nags Head Town Trail and you can pick up a map of all the trails in Nags Head Woods, including this one, at a kiosk near the sign.
The trail is quite wide and mulched and is very pleasant walking or strolling. Nags Head Woods is an old maritime forest and it has a great many tree covered sand dunes so you will be going up and downhill until you reach the old Nags Head Woods Road.
Here, the trail crosses and begins again on the other side of the road. The trees are much smaller here with much more undgrowth and the trail not as wide.
The previously mentioned section was widened to accomodate the marathon runners.
But it is a beautiful area and nice stroll down to the sound where there are some convenient tree roots on which to sit and enjoy a winter sunset. Total distance traveled is about 1.6 miles. If you feel like more hiking you can take a side trip north on the old Nags Head Woods Road which has been clay hardened to facilitate driving (or running). Altogether, a great way to enjoy another hidden gem of the Outer Banks.