Bald Head Island Conservancy

Year of the Trail

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Jennifer Wiggen, Senior Educator

Did you know this is the Year of the Trail in North Carolina? 2023 was designated the Year of the Trail by House Bill 554, which states that “the State of North Carolina would encourage all North Carolinians to use their local and regional trail networks, to further enhance the State’s trail networks, and to pay tribute to those who maintain these public amenities.” This is a celebration of North Carolina’s thousands of miles of stunning trails, greenways, and blueways!

The Timmons Oak, a hallmark of the Loop Trail through Bald Heads Woods Reserve.

The Timmons Oak, namesake of Dr. Robert Timmons and a hallmark of Bald Head Woods.

On Bald Head Island, we can celebrate the trails in Bald Head Woods. Bald Head Woods is 191 acres, the second largest maritime forest in the state of North Carolina. Maritime forests grow behind dunes and are an important part of a barrier island’s ecosystem. The main tree species in our maritime forests are live oak and laurel oak, which have waxy leaves to withstand salt spray. Bald Head Woods in particular is known for the extremely old, large live oak trees that exist here.

The Timmons Oak, a massive live oak in Bald Head Woods, is the oldest tree on the island at over 300 years old. It was named after Dr. Robert Timmons for his passionate commitment to land preservation. In addition to the live and laurel oaks, the forest’s thick undergrowth consists of wild olive, American holly, yaupon, and catbrier. The dense, deeply rooted maritime forest acts as a buffer to protect the island against storms. These forests also provide shelter and nesting areas for birds, white-tail deer, and tree frogs that would not otherwise survive the harsh environment of a barrier island.

On November 4th from 10 to 1 p.m., you can explore Bald Head Woods with the Bald Head Island Conservancy and NC Coastal Reserve! Conservancy and Coastal Reserve staff will offer two separate hikes to explore the woods while identifying local plants and animals.

Loop Trail Hike: This guided family-friendly and accessible hike will be on the Loop Trail, which is roughly 0.5 miles long. A scavenger hunt will be included.

Timmons Oak to BHI Conservancy Campus: This guided hike will go from the Timmons Oak to the BHI Conservancy campus, which is roughly 1.5 miles long. This hike will include a tutorial on iNaturalist.

The Fleming Environmental Education Center at the BHI Conservancy will also be open from 10 to 1 p.m. with nature-based activities involving fun crafts and our digital microscopes. 

Register To Hike Here:

Learn more about Bald Head Woods Reserve:


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