Island Creek Forest Walk
Hiking trail along Island Creek
This 0.5-mile trail in the Croatan National Forest meanders through a stand of upland hardwoods and follows picturesque Island Creek. Large cypress and tupelo trees are draped in Spanish moss. The trail is lined by wildflowers in the spring.
To access the trail, take U.S. 70 south of New Bern and turn at the Burger King by Trent East Crossing Shopping Center. Go the the stop sign and take a left onto SR 1004 and continue 7.5 miles. The trailhead is on the right.
I've frequently seen this trail reported as a half-mile hike. As such, even though it's less than a 1/2 hour drive from my home, I've refrained from visiting it. This morning I set out to do the little trail at the Flanners Beach Recreation area... not a very rustic trail, as in paved and/or graveled paths, but considering all the recent rain I knew the trails would be decent and I wanted to get in some excercise. Arriving at Flanners Beach at 8:10 AM the gate to the picnic/parking area was still closed from the night before. So I decided to make the drive to Island creek and give it a try. I pulled into the parking area at the head of the Island Creek Trail and found there were maps available. Much to my surprise and delight I quickly found that there was much more than a scant 1/2 mile interprative trail here. The area actually consists of 4 loop trails plus two interconnecting trails! According to the map if one followed the entire perimeter it would be about a five mile hike. I decided to plot a route to cover about half of the perimeter. Assuming my pedometer is anywhere near accurate I ended up making a 3 mile hike. From the parking area I took "Loop 1" to the right untill it junctioned with the "Intersec Trail." I followed the "IT" till it joined "Loop 2." Bearing right at the trail junction I walked "Loop 2" until it met with "Loop 3" Heading left on "Loop 3" I continued unitl it crossed the "Natcy Trail," a short interconnecting trail taking me back to "Loop 1" and eventually the parking area. The first half of the hike paralleled the creek. It was a very pretty section and quite enjoyable. The remainder of the walk meandered through the forest. Most of the trail is well marked with plastic coated versions of the map stapled to trees marked with "you are here" indicators at each junction point. There are a number of numbered and/or lettered blaze markers along the trail, providing reference to the map. The poorest marked section of trail was the "Natcy Trail," which I suspect is a fairly recent addition. It wasn't as well worn and used orange ribbons tied here and there for trail blazes. Overall I found this a very enjoyable hike. I'll certainly visit it again in the near future. So many of the area's day hike trails are too... well... modernized. While the gravel and boardwalks of the Cedar Point Trail and the pavement and gravel paths at Flanners Beach do provide access to a larger number of people, it's nice to find something a bit more pristine that requires a minimum retracing of your steps in the process.