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.
July 18, 2015 MST Closed near Bald Knob in McDowell County due to wildfire
An estimated two acre wildfire burning near Bald Knob in McDowell County will require temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail from the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River to Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106). The closure will remain in effect until the fire is declared controlled. Forest Service firefighters are asking members of the public to avoid the area for their own safety and the safety of the emergency personnel responding to the incident. For more information, contact the US Forest Service, Matthew McCombs, (828) 257-4215. UPDATE: As of July 30, 2015 the MST remains closed in this area due to the fire. We are awaiting further update from the US Forest Service.
July 2, 2015 Contamination in Catawba River upstream of Lake James, McDowell County
The U.S. Forest Service announced that the McDowell County Health Department has issued a NO SWIM ADVISORY for the North Fork of the Catawba River from American Thread Road in Woodlawn to Burnette’s Landing and Lake James Landing due to an unknown substance in the water that has killed hundreds of fish. State and federal officials continue to test the water in the area to determine the cause of the fish kill. Citizens and forest visitors are advised to keep their pets away from the waterways as well. The MST crosses the Catawba River within this hazard zone. Hikers are advised to contact the number below regarding water treatment for consumption by hikers or else do not consume water from Catawba River in this area until further notice. For more information, please contact Rachelle Baily, PIO, N.C. Emergency Management Team at (828) 925-8209.
May 29, 2015 Trail/beach closed in N. Topsail Beach. Use Roadwalk detour. Segment 15B
Beach renourishment activity, with heavy construction equipment and dangerous high pressure flow of sand and water is continuing until near the end of June on the south end of N. Topsail Beach. Beach is closed to the public in the area of active work, which is migrating south as sand is added. The work will end when it reaches the N. Topsail Beach City limit, and it has been completed north of the N. Topsail Beach Fire Dept. MST hikers should use the road through this section, less than a mile, past the Surf City Family Campground (a good place for hikers to spend the night). When following the 15B Trail Guide, the detour extends from MM 31.2 to 32.5 East Bound or from MM 58.0 to 59.3 West Bound.
May 20, 2015 Sec. 15 of Sauratown Trail is closed due to logging
Sauratown Trail Section 15 (US 52 to Old Winston Road) is temporary closed until further notice. Timbering operations are occurring by the trail, and section 15 is unsafe to travel at this time. Section 15 will remain closed until STA has determined conditions are safe again. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
March 20, 2015 Graveyard Fields area closed to overnight camping. (Pisgah National Forest)
Due to aggressive bear activity, Graveyard Fields area of Pisgah National Forest 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 in addition to the Stone Mtn S.P. map and the Pilot Mtn S.P. map.
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 hiking directions in the Segment 10 Trail Guide for Eno River & Falls Lake 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- Stone Mtn State Park to 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 for those hikers following Scot Ward’s Thru-Hiker’s Manual and route Segments 11-16C:
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 email@example.com about being placed on the trail work email list.
February 2013- Great Smoky Mtns N.P. (hiking directions/links updated 3/2014 also)
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.