LOCATION: Patsy Pond Nature Trail 3609 Hwy 24 Newport, NC 285709 Ranger: 828-257-4200 LENGTH: Green Trail - .75 mi Blue Trail - 1 mi Yellow Trail - 1.9 mi TYPE: loops RANKING: Easy ACCESS: Daylight hours USAGE: Very light FEES: None MAPS: At trailhead kiosk SURFACE: Sandy with tree roots and pine straw FEATURES: Pond COMMENTS: Be aware of snakes and poisonous plants on the trail Restrooms are available at the NCCF office across the road during business hours M-F. PET FRIENDLY: Yes
The Croatan Forest is a U.S National Forest established in 1936 and is one of four National Forests in North Carolina. The forest is defined by water as it is bordered on three sides by tidal rivers and the Bogue Sound. There is a wide variety of wildlife in the forest including deer, black bears, turkey, wading birds, ospreys and even alligators.
The Patsy Pond Natural Area in the Croatan Forest contains groundwater interception ponds. The water is very dark in color due to tannic acid. The tannic acid comes from peat and not many fish are in the pond due to the acidic nature.
In July 2015 we hiked the Yellow Trail and part of the Green Trail. The trailhead is easily missed from the highway and there’s a small dirt parking area next to the road. This is an easy flat walking trail through the woods and is well marked. We began on the green trail at the trailhead and then picked up the yellow trail for a great view of the larger Patsy Pond.
We enjoyed the birds on this hike and especially the chance to view the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Thankfully we didn't see any black bears or snakes. Be aware hunting is allowed in the forest during April-May and October-February. Wear highly visible orange vests or hats during this time and be careful.
DIRECTIONS: Trailhead is located on Hwy 24 midway between Cape Carteret and Morehead City, NC in the community of Ocean. Entrance is ½ mile west of Croatan High School and across the highway from the NC Coastal Federation office.