Carolina Beach State Park (1-1-15)
First Day Hike 2015!!! The New Year found my family and I in a corner of North Carolina we had yet to explore...namely the Wilmington/Cape Fear area. With a morning to burn, a three-or-so mile hike through Carolina Beach State Park seemed as good a way as any to kick off the 2015 hiking year...
Carolina Beach State Park, situated adjacent to the coastal resort town of the same, is one of North Carolina's most popular, seeing over half a million visitors per year on average. This would typically be cause enough for me to avoid it but during the winter months, as you'd expect, things are quite a bit quieter. The plan for the day would be to follow the 3-mile Sugarloaf Trail, which loops through the center of the park, as well as make a couple short spur hikes. Along the way we'd be passing through just about all of the parks natural habitats from coastal evergreen forests, to pocosin swamps, to brackish marshlands, to longleaf pine savannah's. We'd also be stopping by the famous dune known as Sugarloaf (which, I found out later, has quite an interesting history) as well as one of the parks venus flytrap habitats. All in all it was a pleasant stroll through an environment quite new and interesting to me. Here's to another great year of adventures in 2015!!!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 34.049306, -77.919565
Hike Length: ~4.0 miles Hike Duration: 1:30
Trailhead Temp: 50'F
Min. Elevation: 2' Max. Elevation: 55'
Total Vertical Gain: 65' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 16'
Trails Used (blaze color/shape): Flytrap (orange diamonds), Oak Toe (blue diamonds), Sugarloaf (orange circles)