Croatan Forest

New Bern's hidden tresure

New Bern's Hidden Jewel

The Croatan National Forest is one of the gems of Eastern North Carolina. This expansive forest of 161,000 acres remains somewhat undiscovered even to many of the native Eastern North Carolinian's.

 Croatan Forest ponds are a haven for water fowl

Croatan Forest

The large variety of landscape in Croatan provide a protected and mostly undisturbed habitat for quite a few different species of animals. You will  find white tail deer, black bear, turkey, squirrel, rabbits, raccoon, muskrat, and mink and many species of snakes.

Strange Plants

Croatan is New Bern's largest forest

The Venus flytrap (Dionaea Musipula) thrive in the Croatan Forest. This species of meat eating plants are found only in the eastern coastal plains of North and South Carolina. The Venus Flytrap attracts insects to it's open hinged leaves and then zap, in one tenth of a second it snaps shut and starts secreting digestive juices. A horrible way to go no doubt. In addition to the Venus Flytrap you will find other carnivorous plant including Sundew, Butterwort, and Pitcher plants.

Large Birds

The croatan is 5 miles from New Bern

The many creeks, bays, marshes and swamps provide an excellent array of habitats for a variety of bird life including Bald Eagles, Osprey, Herring, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Canoeing

Canoeing in the Croatan Forest

The Croatan with it large lakes and untamed creeks, offers many opportunities for those that like to transverse by canoe or kayak. Look for occasional alligator, wading birds, ducks, and many other species of animals while quietly taking in the beautiful landscape. For larger bodies of water try the Neuse, White Oak, or Newport Rivers.

Trails

For those looking to bond a little with nature try hiking along one of the three trails that carve through the forest and over the creeks.

Island Creek Forest Walk

There are several trails that parallel Island Creek and takes you through a hardwood forest that have some of the largest hardwoods you will find in Eastern North Carolina. Island Creek is particularly beautiful in the fall and spring as you get to see the changing colors.

Neusiok Trail

The longest of the trails the Neusiok is 26 miles in length and passes through pine and hardwood forest, pocosins, and along the Neuse River. There are no developed camping facilities but primitive camping is permitted.

Cedar Point Tideland Trail

Located in the Cedar Point recreation area which offers camping, picnicking, boat ramp, fishing pier, and canoeing, this trail provides excellent opportunities to view wildlife and explore a salt marsh.

Hunting and fishing

Hunting and fishing are allowed under N.C. state regulations. Call the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission(919-662-4381) for information on licenses and regulations.

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