Wednesday
Aug012012

Croatan National Forest - Neusiok Trail

Description

The Neusiok Trail is a 26 mile long trail that extends from the Neuse River south to the Newport River estuary. Habitats along the way vary from salt marsh, to longleaf pine savanna, to upland hardwood stands, to dense shrublands. The trail crosses several paved and unpaved roads. The best birding is typically during the early breeding season, from April-June, and winter. In winter, watch for rafts of diving ducks along the Neuse River as it parallels the northern section of the trail, including Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Canvasback and Surf Scoter. The Newport River estuary, adjacent to the southern end of the trail, hosts a variety of salt marsh birds; low tide presents the best viewing opportunities. Two recommended sections of the trail for a variety of migrating and breeding songbirds are the section that extends from the NC 306 crossing north to the Neuse River, and the section that extends from NC 101 south to Forest Service Road 147. Listen for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Brown-headed Nuthatch,Yellow-throated and Pine Warbler, and Summer Tanager in the upland and slope areas. In wetter areas, Prothonoary Warbler, Northern Parula and Acadian Flycatcher are possibilities.

Species of Interest (Full Bird List)

Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prothonotary Warbler, Summer Tanager, shorebirds, wading birds, winter waterfowl

Habitat

pine/hardwood forest, longleaf pine forest, floodplain forest, salt marsh

Special Features/Concerns

Some sections of the trail can be very wet. Plan to get your feet wet. During warmer months, plan for heat, insects, and snakes. Hunting is allowed within the Croatan National Forest during certain times of the year. Birders should be aware of current hunting regulations and seasons and take adequate safety precautions during those times. For more on hunting season safety precautions, see the hunting season information at the beginning of this guide.

Access and Parking

Overnight parking is available at both ends of the trail and at the NC 306 crossing, 1.9 miles north of the NC 101/NC 306 intersection. Another crossing, approximately 1 mile east of NC 306 on NC 101, is a good short-term pick-up/drop-off area. There are 3 primitive camping shelters along the trail, where overnight camping is permitted. Information and maps can be picked up at the Croatan National Forest District Office, located on US 70, approximately 8 miles south of New Bern.

Directions

To northern terminus: from NC 101 east of Havelock, turn north on NC 306 (watch for signs to the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Ferry). Go 3.25 miles and turn left on Forest Service Road 132 to reach the Pine Cliff Recreation Area, where the trail begins. To the southern terminus: From the NC 101/NC 306 intersection, continue east on NC 101, past the small community of Harlowe. Turn right on Old Winberry Road (SR 1155) and travel for 3.75 miles. At the intersection of Mill Creek Road (SR 1154) turn right, then make a quick left onto Forest Service Road 181 to reach the Oyster Point campground, the southern terminus of the trail.

Google Directions

Delorme Gazetteer Page

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