Hiking North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) just got easier with publication of a set of guides that literally describe every twist and turn along the 1,100-mile route from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, including the stretch through Wilkes and Surry counties.
“These guides will make the MST more user-friendly, whether you’re hiking an hour, or for weeks,” said Kate Dixon, executive director for the Friends of the MST.
In addition to east and westbound directions, the guides have information about locations for parking, camping, water, places to eat and resupply. A general description of the route ahead and unique natural features and historic sites along the way are highlighted.
“Follow steps down to right to cross creek using large boulders. In the next 0.2 mile you climb up and down hills, with a series of cascades in creek on left, followed by 3 sets of wooden steps,” is typical for the thousands of directional entries in the 20-volume guides.
In eastern North Carolina there are three alternative routes, including a 217-mile paddle on the Neuse River from below the dam near Wake Forest and Raleigh to where it flows into Pamlico Sound. The guide gives specific information about put-in and take out landings for canoeists and kayakers. The guides are available on line in a printer friendly format at ncmst.org/TrailGuide.
The MST is a linear state park with more than 600 miles completed and most of the remaining mileage being traversed on lightly driven rural roads. Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is a non-profit organization whose volunteers build and maintain the trail. Each year thousands of hikers use the trail. To date, 58 people have gone the entire length a total of 60 times, and the number grows every year.