2015-2016 MST Trail Guide
FMST is creating a comprehensive Trail Guide for the MST. Each chapter will cover one segment of the trail. Chapters are being released on this website as soon as they are available. To view available chapters, visit www.ncmst.org/trailguide. These Trail Guides are envisioned to serve as the most up-to-date guides for the MST. In each guide you will find photos, maps, highlights, a description of the covered section as well as detailed hiking directions. The guides also include information on where you can find camping/lodging, food, water, supplies, parking, and services. Since each guide is a pdf, you can download and print copies anytime. The complete guide will be finished by February, 2016. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for these Trail Guides. Please email feedback to our Executive Director, Kate Dixon. For more information about advertising in these guides, email our Outreach Coordinator, JoEllen Mason.
March 27, 2015 Prescribed Burn Planned for Pisgah National Forest-MST Closed
The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a 2,200-acre prescribed burn on the the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, between now and April 15th, depending on favorable weather. The prescribed burn on federal, state, and private land could occur as early as Monday, March 30th. The agency will conduct the two-day burn north of Lake Tahoma on the East side of Hwy 80 in McDowell County. For further details, read this notice. During the 2-day burn the MST (aka Woods Mtn Trail), Armstrong Creek Trail and the Bad Fork Trail will all be closed.
March 20, 2015 Graveyard Fields campground closed to overnight camping. (Pisgah National Forest)
Due to aggressive bear activity, Graveyard Fields campground will be closed to overnight camping until further notice by the US Forestry Service. Bear warnings also issued for nearby Shining Rock Wilderness, Black Balsam, Sam’s Knob, and Flat Laurel Creek areas. See further details here.
January 14, 2015 Trail re-route/change in hiking directions from Stone Mtn State Park through Elkin to Pilot Mtn State Park.
The Elkin Valley Trails Association has announced that the MST trail re-route around Wells Knob has just opened to the public. Accordingly, the hiking directions have changed. Eastbound and Westbound hiking directions are available at these links. You may also want to review the section page (Section 19-20) for this portion of the trail.
December 17, 2014- Incorrect GPS Coordinates: Eno River & Falls Lake Trail Guide
If you are using the printed version of Segment 10 MST Trail Guide (Eno River State Park at Pleasant Green Road to Falls Lake Dam by Raleigh (print version dated 11/10/2014), the GPS coordinates for parking areas listed on page 7 are incorrect. Correct coordinates are available here.
September 2014- MST along the Eno River in Durham
Thanks to the completion of the final bridge in Durham, the MST natural footpath is now complete from Pleasant Green Road through Penny’s Bend. Now connected with the Falls Lake Trail portion of the MST, this creates just over 75 miles of continuous natural footpath through this area. If you are hiking the MST here, be sure to follow the directions posted for Section 25 and Section 26 on this website since they represent significant re-routes from previously published information.
April 30, 2014- Sauratown Trail/MST
Sauratown Trail Section 15 (Old Winston Road to the US-52 Underpass) is open again to equestrian riders and hikers!!! With this reopening, the Sauratown Trail can be taken from Pilot Mountain to NC-66. Section 1 (Tory’s Den Parking to Mickey Road) and the James Booth Trail (Booth Loop) are also open. There is one detour still in effect from NC-66 to Mickey Road, due to the closure of sections 2 & 3. This detour is approximately 2.6 mi long. See trail map here.
March 18, 2014- Hatteras Island
As part of construction of the permanent N.C. 12 Pea Island bridge on Hatteras Island in Dare County, the N.C. Department of Transportation has coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the New Inlet boat ramp/sound access parking area and Pea Island day-use beach access parking area as staging locations for equipment and materials during the project. These areas are located approximately one half-mile and one quarter-mile south of the temporary bridge, and will be closed to the public for the duration of the project beginning Tuesday, March 18. Estimated completion date is Spring, 2016. MST hikers/bikers are advised to use caution while traveling in the area. Watch signs for construction information. For more information about Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge programs, parking and access during the closure, visit www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/spec.html, call 252-987-2394 or visit the Pea Island Visitor Center, located at 15440 N.C. 12 in Rodanthe, about four miles south of the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12. *Sept. 2014 update: although construction of the Pea Island Bridge has been suspended for now, the parking areas and canoe access/boat ramp listed above are still closed to public use. If you’re planning to park a vehicle in this area or launch a boat/canoe/kayak, be sure to call them for more details.
February 2014- Pilot Mtn State Park
The MST was changed to incorporate twelve miles of trail within Pilot Mountain State Park into the route. To hike the new route, see the map of the trail route in the park and the new east-bound and west-bound backroad hiking directions between Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain state parks. East of Pilot Mountain State Park, the trail continues to follow the Sauratown Trail to Hanging Rock State Park. The interactive google map has also been updated to show the new directions.
June 2013- Falls Lake, Raleigh
Hiking directions headed east from the Falls Lake Dam have been updated:
After exiting footpath, past gated barrier, reach the Tailrace parking area, by restrooms. Turn R to exit parking area and immediately go L onto ramp access to descend and go under bridge to start paved Neuse River Greenway path (note “Falls” to L). Just after passing the ¼ mile marker there is a parking area, R. Staying on the greenway path, go past the ½ mile marker and cross under double bridges of New Falls of the Neuse Road. Immediately turn R and take paved access ramp up to road. Turn R onto sidewalk, heading N, to cross the river. Walk approximately 0.8 miles on New Falls of the Neuse Road and turn L onto Wakefield Pines Drive. Go approximately 1 mile on this and turn R onto Falls of the Neuse Road. You are now back on the original route described in Allen Dehart and Scott Ward’s books and on the interactive Google map on this website.
April 2013- Sauratown Trail/MST
Sauratown Trail Sections 2 & 3 (between Mickey Road and NC-66) are permanently closed to all users.
A road detour is available for thru-hikers, but it is not appropriate for equestrians. The detour involves NC-66, which is a very curvy road with fast traffic and little road shoulder.
Sauratown Trails Association is working to establish a new trail route for this area, and help will eventually be needed with trail construction. If you are interested in helping work on the trail, please Steven Mierisch at firstname.lastname@example.org about being placed on the trail work email list.
February 2013- Great Smoky Mtns N.P. (hiking directions/links updated 3/2014 also)
FMST has developed new hiking directions for Section 1-3 of the MST. There are currently two routes that we suggest. One option is through Great Smoky Mountain National Park, meeting up with the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 458 via Heintooga Rd. The second option exits the Smokies at Deep Creek Campground and follows back roads along the Tuckaseegee River and then back up to Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway on trails through Pinnacle Park and land owned by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. If you hike one of these routes, please contact Kate Dixon, FMST Executive Director, to share your impressions at email@example.com or 919-698-9024.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is now requiring permits for backcountry camping at a cost of $4 per person per night. Permits are available 24 hours a day at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov, or in person at the Smokies backcountry office. Permits will be available up to 30 days in advance. For more information, call the Backcountry office at 865-436-1297. Please plan to obtain a permit if you plan to camp on the MST in Great Smoky Mountain NP.