Type of Adventure: Scenic Walk
Distance: 1.4 mile loop
Location: Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach, NC
When most people think about going to Carolina or Kure Beach, they don’t think, or even know about, Carolina Beach State Park.
At 761 acres, Carolina Beach State Park manages to hide tucked away on back side of Pleasure Island, out of sight from the main highways that bring thousands of visitors to the island each year.
The park offers intracoastal waterway access from a marina on the Cape Fear River, camping, and 6 miles of relatively flat hiking.
This particular loop below will cover 1.4 of the 6 miles offered in the park, and will take you along the sandy river’s edge of the mighty Cape Fear, thick marshlands and a beautiful forest with large pines.
Beginning at the marina parking lot, take the Sugarloaf trail which is blazed with orange circles. The trail quickly opens up along the sandy bank of the Cape Fear River. On any given day, groups of people will be letting their dogs splash around in the water, but swimming is prohibited for the humans.
From the banks of the River, the trail will cut back and head inland through some swamp land. Be on the lookout for wildlife! Hopefully you brought some bug spray, especially during the warmer months, or you will be swatting at pesky mosquito and biting flies.
The Sugarloaf Trail will break off to your right and continue down toward a 50′ sand dune on the bank of the river (that’s another article), but if you are short on time, continue on.
Continue across the road and the trail will bypass a parking lot and wind through a dense woodland full of large pine trees. It was slightly raining when I made this loop, however the thick canopy kept me almost completely dry.
Some stroller friendly wooden walkways will carry you across roots and marshy spots.
This loop will eventually circle back around to where you started at the marina.