Croatan National Forest

8:32 p.m. on December 29, 2009 (EST)
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I am thinking about hiking the Nehusak (sp) trail in the Croatan National Forest and I have been having trouble getting relyable information. Has anyone out there hiked this trail and if so is there any treatable water along the trail?

Thanks in advance:


9:53 p.m. on December 29, 2009 (EST)
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Do you mean the Neusiok Trail? Here is the description from the Croatan NF website:

Neusiok Trail
Starting on the Newport River at the Newport River Parking area and ending on the Neuse River at Pinecliff Recreation Area, this trail traverses 20 miles of Forest land and crosses several paved and unpaved roads. Trail is blazed. Primitive camping is permitted along the trail, but their are no facilities. Hikers need to carry water and wear boots to cross frequent wet areas. Most people prefer fall, winter and early spring hiking to avoid the heat, insects and snakes. Winter is probably the best time. The trail begins at the low salinity Neuse River estuary, at the Pinecliff Recreation area and traverses sandy beaches, hardwood ridges, cypress-palmetto swamps, pine flat woods, pocosins, and salt marshes before emerging at the high salinity Newport River estuary at Oyster Point, a scant 5 miles from the ocean.

A pdf of the map is here. Note that the Neusiok Trail is on the east side of the Forest, running between the Cherry Point US Naval Station on the north and Mill Creek on the south.

Try calling the USNF office in New Bern at (252) 638-5628.

9:03 a.m. on December 30, 2009 (EST)
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Hey Thanks Bill: I have found a map and spoken to the folks at the N.Forest Headquarters---BUT in the Eastern part of NC I have unfortunately found that when one mentions backpacking everyone's face just kind of glazes over. Their comment to hiking thru the 21 miles on the Neusick trail was----Why? So, as you can immagaine a question like is there any treatable water drew nothing but poorely informed answers. So, to that end I am looking for someone who has actually hiked the trail to get some real answers. My sons & I just completed 75 miles on the Palmetto Trail in SC and had the exact same experience. However, we had a great hike and I would recomend the Swamp Fox portion for any one interested.

9:38 a.m. on December 30, 2009 (EST)
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I live quite close to the Neusiok Trail and backpack there frequently -- also dayhikes. (And hunting and fishing in the Croatan Forest generally.)

There is a pump at each of the three shelters along the way. The water is unmonitored. I use it mainly for cooking, and carry my drinking water. Not having to carry cooking water is a great advantage.

The Neusiok is a fine trail with unique challenges. For instance, last winter one stretch was so water-logged that it was easier to bushwack through some really thick brush. The briars left their mark, for sure. It was exhausting to push my way through the thick brush, but better than slogging for a couple of miles through ankle-deep water and all that means. This was after a really wet spell; it's not always that way.

"Forest" is a misnomer. It should be called the "Croatan National Swamp." Other challenges include plentiful insects, the occasional bog (they have boardwalks over all but the smallest now), the occasional gator or cottonmouth or rattler, like that. On the other hand, there is plenty of beauty -- wild flowers, some like the venus fly trap are rare elsewhere -- watery vistas, varied terrain and vegetation, wild life, and so on.

With your experience on the Palmetto Trail, you won't be deterred by any of the hazards.

Here is a great site for a trail guide:

I hope you follow through with your plan. My suggestion would be to park at the Oyster Point campground -- the southern trailhead -- it is more secure than the northern trailhead, as there are always campers there who would be happy to keep an eye on your car.

Post back if I can be of further help.

BTW, don't overlook the Uwharrie Natl. Forest, near Charlotte -- it is a very good backpacking venue also.

12:32 p.m. on December 30, 2009 (EST)
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Wow, just what I needed to know. Thank you for the info. I will be hiking at the end of Jan. or middle of Feb. so I think the bug situation should be ok. I will watch my weather and thanks for the the parking info also. NOW, as I work my way west the Uwharri Natl. Forest is next. Do you have any specific trail recomendations? I already have the map:

thanks again


9:05 a.m. on December 31, 2009 (EST)
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My Scouts and I hiked part of the Uwharrie Trail. We arrived at the Yates campground after dark on a Friday night, hiked to the West Morris Mtn. campsite on Saturday, and then to the northern trailhead on Sunday. That is somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of the Uwharrie Trail. We would have liked to go trailhead to trailhead but just didn't have the time. It was a great little hike nonetheless. One plus was that our supply truck could meet up with us at the West Morris Mtn. campsite, so instead of freeze-dried backpacking food, we had steaks grilled over a fire, and baked potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals. Now that's roughing it! (Troop 13's unofficial motto: "We Eat Good.")

Next time we go, we may try some of the other trails; there are quite a few. From the map, it seems that you have to combine loops to get a multi-night trip.

12:44 p.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks again Brerarnold--It took me like 15 minutes of searching on the Uwarie National forest map to even find the trail. Then-bingo there is was down there off 24/29 or something like that. Any way thanks for the heads up and I look forward to getting the Croatan behind me. If you know/or could recomend any other trails East of the mountains; say 30-40 miles please let me know. I have a couple of books on hiking in North Carolian BUT so far most of my bettter experiences have come from folks like you who have set me off in a good direction. Happy New Year & good hiking:


2:49 p.m. on January 3, 2010 (EST)
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Keep your eye on the Mountain to Sea Trail. It runs from Clingman's Dome in the west to Jockey's Ridge on the Outer Banks. A lot of it still uses back roads instead of trails, but they are adding new sections all the time. I understand that a section in the Falls Creek area around Raleigh was just completed, making it about a 48 mile section of trail. But I haven't seen any updates about it on the Friends of the MST website yet.

They are working on the routing for a trail section from New Bern to the Neusiok trail. Since the Croatan Forest comes close to New Bern, it should be doable.

So there is always going to be some news in that department.

The existing trail parts are pretty good -- not that I've hiked them all, but friends have. So check out the FMST website and see if any of it tickles your fancy.

3:11 p.m. on February 7, 2010 (EST)
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I also have been wanting to backpack/camp along the Neusiok. Would love to see a trip report if you make the trek. Been kinda wet so far this winter.


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