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Jockey's Ridge State Park

Jockey's Ridge State Park is a 426-acre park in Dare County in Nags Head along the Outer Banks.  Jockey's Ridge is the largest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast of the United States.  Located on Bodie Island, a narrow barrier island, both the Atlantic Ocean and Roanoke Sound are visible from the top of the dune.  The area that is now the park was once in danger of being developed.  Concerned residents, in particular Carolista Baum, led a grassroots effort to stop the development and protect the dune.  Today, the park features, picnic areas, a couple trails around the dunes and hang gliding.

Contact Information:

300 W. Carolista Drive
Nags Head, NC 27959

Phone: (252) 441-7132

GPS: 35.9642, -75.6330



Soundside Nature Trail:

Distance: 0.6 miles

Soundside Nature Trail starts from the Soundside Road parking lot.  It makes a short loop through shrub thicket with views of the dunes and Roanoke Sound.

Tracks in the Sand Trail:

Distance: 1.2 miles

Tracks in the Sand Trail leads from the southwest corner of the parking lot to the dunes.  The shifting sands prevent construction of typical trails, so the route is marked by 14 w stations.  After leading along the dunes, the trail loops around to a view of Roanoke Sound then meets back up with the trail.


Although the harsh environment of the dunes is inhospitable to most life, a few hardy plants and animals can be found among the dunes.  The southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) is one such hardy plant that can withstand such conditions.

Pollen cones of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)

The marshes along the Roanoke Sound are teeming with life.  Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) can be seen hunting for fish in the sound.  Tall man-made stands in the sound provide additional nesting space for mating pairs.

Blog Entries:

06-Apr-2019: Jockey's Ridge Hikes

External Links:

NC State Parks website: https://www.ncparks.gov/jockeys-ridge-state-park

Friends of Jockey's Ridge website: https://friendsofjockeysridge.org/