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When the great outdoors offers as much beauty as the forests of Bald Head Island, there’s no reason to stay inside. There are so many things to enjoy about the wide variety of scenic locations on Bald Head Island, and so many ways to enjoy them. Cart tours, biking, geocaching, beach walking, birding, paddle boarding, sailing, and canoeing are all fantastic ways to take in the sights.
Hiking is a favorite way for locals and visitors to
experience the natural beauty of the island. The Kent Mitchel Nature Trail is one of the more popular hiking spots as it offers great exposure to picturesque scenes and wildlife. The trail passes through stunning forested canopies and boardwalk bridges over streams and marshes. It takes only 15 minutes to go from one end to the other and there are several spots to relax and take it all in. You’ll get full views of the marsh and handy markers along the trail offer interesting information of the surrounding flora. If you have a keen eye near the water spots, you may even see some fiddler crabs creeping out to say hello!
Find organized hikes and nature walks by visiting the Bald Head Island Conservancy. This
organization offers guided tours of the trails with experienced naturalists.
You can learn all about the importance of the maritime forest and each hike is
family friendly and offered all year round. Other places to explore are the Loop Trail, Middle Trail, and the “wilds” of Bluff and Kim Islands.
The Conservancy also offers various walking tours that explore specific parts of the island. A short ferry ride is all it takes to get started enjoying an abundance of local wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Guided nature tours offer outstanding information on the pristine beach, maritime forest, and salt marsh. There are also several birding tours where bird enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of the wide variety of Bald Head Island’s feathered friends.
Whether alone, with a friend, or as a family, it’s good to be prepared when taking a hike or walking tour. Here are a few things to remember when getting ready to enjoy the great outdoors.
In the cooler months, the average temperature of Bald Head Island can dip periodically into 30’ with highs in the high 60s, so make sure you stay warm with at least a couple layers so you can remove as needed. Hats, hoods, gloves, and scarves are a great way to layer up. Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are a must.
What to Bring
Depending on your goals for the walk, you may want to bring with you your camera/phone to catch amazing views and local wildlife. A backpack is a great way to ensure you have room to stow any extra clothes you may remove if you get warm. It’s also handy to keep a bottle of water and a snack to stay hydrated and energized for the trail. A plastic bag makes it easy to stow trash so you keep the trail like it was when you walked it. Don’t forget sunscreen, even if it’s overcast. If walking at night, don’t forget some sort of headlamp or flashlight. Other things may include binoculars, insect repellent, field guides, journal, towel, whistle, hand sanitizer, and snacks!
Respect the Environment
Some areas off the main trail can be wet and stomping through may disrupt the natural elements of the land. Be respectful of the trail and its surroundings by avoiding difficult off trail excursions. Keep all your litter to yourself by keeping it in a bag on your person until you can properly dispose of it. Also, don’t take any souvenirs. It may not seem like much, but leaving the land the way it was when you visited is important to the island ecosystem.
Have Fun Learning about Bald Head Island
As much as it does to ease stress and anxiety, hiking around Bald Head Island is also an educational experience. You’ll learn volumes about the thriving wildlife as well as a little about the Bald Head Island way of life. Great pride is given to the conservation efforts of the island and locals take great care to ensure visitors are given an amazing first impression. Hiking around the island gives you a variety of locations, so each hike is truly a new adventure.
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