Jockeys Ridge

Jockeys RidgeJockey's Ridge State Park is a North Carolina state park in located in Nags Head, North Carolina. It covers 426 acres and includes the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States. It is the most visited park within the NC park system with over a million visitors a year. The park is a day-use only park and has no campgrounds. Jockey's Ridge contains three unique ecosystems: the Roanoke Sound, the dune system, and the maritime forest. Much of the park is made of living dunes or medanos that shift back and forth with prevailing winds from the northeast and southeast. Often when it rains, water collects near the bottom of the dunes creating a temporary pond, known as a vernal pool. Few fauna can be seen around the dunes, although some types of flora, such as tall grass, may be readily identified closer to the bottom of the dunes. Visitors to the Outer Banks can enjoy many activities at Jockeys Ridge State Park including hiking, wildlife, picnicking, kite flying, hang gliding and swimming in the Roanoke sound. There are several covered picnic shelters with grills available and sound access to a wading beach at the end of the Soundside road. Enjoy self-guided hiking trails like the 1.5 mile Tracks in the Sand trail that begins at the parking lot and goes over the dunes to the soundside and back. There is also a 360 foot boardwalk that is perfect for people who prefer a shorter trip and would rather stay off the sand. Finally there is a 1 mile loop soundside nature trail that focuses on the estuary and scrub thicket ecosystems found in the park. For the more adventurous, hang gliding is allowed in certain dune faces in the park. Only persons with a USHGA Hang 1 rating card can hang glide alone. All others can sign up for lessons with Kitty Hawk Kites. Sand-boarding is also allowed in designated areas from October 1 to March 31. Permits must be obtained first. The park offers many fun-filled programmed activities for the family. Some programs are limited to small group participation and require pre-registration, such as Seine The Sound, Crabby Clinic, Kayaking, Birding on the Sound and Go Fly a Kite. The most popular program is Sunset On The Ridge, held nearly every evening during summer months at the top of the ridge. For information on all of our programs, please see our Calendar.

Jockeys Ridge dunes

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