Great Croatan hikes

We asked Johnny Molloy about his favorite hikes in Eastern North Carolina’s Croatan National Forest ( Molloy is author of “Hiking North Carolina’s National Forests” (UNC Press; $45 hardcover, $22 paperback).

Oyster Point to Blackjack Shelter on the Neusiok Trail. “The Neusiok Trail runs for 20 miles and has three distinct sections. This is the first: It starts along the tidal Newport River at the Oyster Point Campground, goes through maritime forests and transitions to coastal pine lands. You’re moving from a brackish to a freshwater environment.”

Boardwalks of the Neusiok Trail. “This part of the trail takes you through wetlands you otherwise couldn’t easily visit because the terrain is so messy. You walk above the swampland on boardwalks, one of which is more than a half-mile long. This is a moderate hike of five miles.”

Neusiok Trail beach and bluff hike. “You start at the Pine Cliff Recreation Area; It’s set on bluffs overlooking the Neuse River, which is very wide and tidal here. Sometimes the trail drops down to the water and you’re hiking along the beach area where cypress trees grow. Its really photogenic.”

Cedar Point Tideland Trail. “It’s a 1.5-mile loop, a nature trail along the coastal estuary. It goes through forests of live oak, then over bridges and tidal streams. You hike through a mix of ocean environment and maritime forest that is beautiful and great to photograph. Enjoy the great views over wide-open coastal wetlands and waters.” John Bordsen