The Outer Banks blessed with interconnected multi-use paths from the north end of Duck at the Currituck County line to South Nags Head. This area is perfect for a family bike outing, a pleasant ride and relaxing way to tour the area or even a long ride for a more advanced rider. One of the most pleasant sections among the Dare County multi-use paths is the ride through Kitty Hawk. This post will focus on the multi-use paths in Kitty Hawk and the Kitty Hawk trails.
The Woods Road Multi-Use Path
Bisecting Kitty Hawk Woods, much of the ride is along the aptly named Woods Road. This is a beautifully shaded walking, Jogging and bike trail. It winds around live oak, dogwood, sweet gum and other trees of a maritime forest. Many homes that line the road are almost hidden by the dense foliage and most of them abut the Kitty Hawk Woods border. It is an ideal ride for the whole family. Some of the small rises as the path winds around trees might challenge the littlest legs, but even children with training wheels will be able to manage the path.
Parking is available at the David Pruitt Kitty Hawk Town Park just south of the Dominion Power property on The Woods Road. This is the northern terminus and a great place to begin the ride. It’s a very pleasant ride in any season. In the summer it’s wonderfully shaded; during fall there is an explosion of colors. The trees give some protection from winds in the winter. Spring is a good time because the dogwood are in bloom and the trees are a remarkably vibrant shade of green.
Second Leg of Multi-Use Path
At a little over a mile and a quarter, there is a fork in the path and a choice to be made. Bear right, and it takes riders along Twiford Street. If you go straight, then the path ends in about a half mile at West Kitty Hawk Road. There is really no right or wrong choice to be made, but bearing right is probably a more interesting ride.
Twiford intersects West Kitty Hawk Road at a bridge that crosses Jean Guite Creek, a still water creek that connects Kitty Hawk Bay with Currituck Sound at Southern Shores. Because the entire creek can be paddled, kayakers may wish to take notice. It goes through the heart of Kitty Hawk Woods. Some of the older homes of the town of Kitty Hawk are located along this road. At one time this part of the town was called Otilla, although that was some 100 or more years ago.
The multi-use trail ends at Rogers Street. The Austin Cemetery will be directly in front of riders at the intersection. The Austin Cemetery was one of the first community cemeteries on the Outer Banks. A few headstones predate the Civil War. This is a great place to turn around and head back for a nice out and back six mile ride. Riders pedaling mountain bikes looking for more of a challenge, may wish to turn right on Rogers Street and then right again on Ridge Road. This road will take you to the Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve.
Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve
There are two different trails through different sections of the Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve. The trails through Kitty Hawk Woods are moderately challenging on a bike and the ride is a beautiful journey through a pristine maritime forest. These trails are suitable for mountain bikes but not road (skinny tire) bikes. The amount of wildlife that can be seen in from these trails is about as diverse as it gets on the Outer Banks. Besides bear, just about every mammal that lives on the Outer Banks can be seen here. During warm times of the year, there will be lots of reptile and insect species as well.
The first Kitty Hawk trail is at the north end of Ridge Road. This is actually many connected trails that meander in about 100 acres of maritime forest. At least one trail from the Ridge Road trailhead reaches the sound.
The second Kitty Hawk trail starts at the Kitty Hawk Skatepark on Kitty Hawk Road and runs north to Birch Lane in the Kitty Hawk Estates subdivision. This trail is on a ridge that runs north to south through wetlands and the maritime forest. Up until the summer of 2021, this trail was inaccessible from the skatepark. The town built two bridges over sections of wetlands to make this trail easily accessible from both the north and the south.
Sandy Run Park
About a quarter mile north of the intersection of Twiford Street on The Woods Road is Sandy Run Park. For riders looking to stretch their legs a bit, this is the perfect place for it. The park is a half mile loop trail. It crosses an estuarine pond, taking people through a maritime forest on the back side. Most of the trail is a boardwalk, except for the path through the wooded sections. Blue heron are common in the waters. The past few years have had a nesting pair of osprey in the tall pines on the west side of the park. On warmer days yellow bellied sliders are too numerous to count—and there’s usually a good sized snapping turtle or two to be seen.
Walking or riding on the Kitty Hawk trails and multi-use paths is just another way to enjoy the beach lifestyle. Besides the beach, each OBX municpality has their own unique trails and recreational areas. If you love the Outer Banks then take some time to check them out. It could take you years to explore them all.