FMST has just released the first of 3 new Trail Guides for the MST. 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. Listed below are the guides that are currently available; more will be added as soon as they are complete. Since each guide is a pdf, you can download and print copies anytime. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for these Trail Guides. Please email feedback to our Executive Director, Kate Dixon.
March 18, 2014
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.
For those planning a hike through the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has put out its schedule of road openings for 2014. Secondary Roads are scheduled to open as follows: Forge Creek Road will open on March 7; Clingmans Dome Road will open on April 1; Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road will open April 4; Parson Branch, Rich Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Nature Trail, and Little Greenbrier will open on April 11; Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain roads will open on May 23 and so will Balsam Mountain Campground. You can still walk Heintooga Rd before it opens. you just can’t drive it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In MST Section 21, the closed section of the Sauratown Trail (Section 3), now has updated detour directions. It is a road route for pedestrians only. A suitable detour for equestrians has not been found. Directions for both east and west bound hikers can be found here, and updates can be found on the Sauratown Trail website.
The FMST Board approved new hiking directions from Greensboro’s Bryan Park (Section 25) to the Falls Lake dam north of Raleigh (Section 27) so that hikers can start using much of the new trail that has been built along the Haw and Eno rivers and on the western end of Falls Lake.