Emerald Path

North Carolina

4 Reviews

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Emerald Path Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Carteret
Length: 11 miles
Trail end points: Old Coast Guard Rd & Ring St and 1st St & Emerald Dr/NC 58 at the Indian Beach town limits (Emerald Isle)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 8940922


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Emerald Path Description

The Emerald Path is an 11-mile multiuse pathway stretching from the Indian Beach town limits all the way to The Point at Bogue Inlet at the western end of Emerald Isle. The path follows Emerald Drive/NC 58, passing through a diversity of landscapes, including grassy areas, shady woodlands and the heart of downtown. There is a variety of shopping and dining options alongside the trail as well as a grocery store, a pharmacy, and multiple surf shops. Because the island is narrow, and as the pathway sits on its spine, it’s possible to view most of the island from there. There are plenty of beach access points no further than a block or two off the path.

The Emerald Path is a component of the East Coast Greenway. 

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at multiple points along the trail. The town of Emerald Isle has various parks along the island that are on or near the path. This includes beach parking lots, parks with boat and kayak launches.  In some sections you can park on neighborhood streets. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.

Emerald Path Reviews


The bike path is really a sidewalk down the peninsula. As you ride there are rows of houses to the left obscuring any water view and 3 rows of houses to the right obscuring any ocean view. Every 50 to 100 feet there is a crossroad with a bike stop sign so don’t expect to get any long pedaling in. If you like stop and wait and go crossroads this is for you! The homes you see are typical beach houses, all new builds, nothing spectacular. The business sections look a little run down. It is hardly worth taking the bikes off the car let alone driving all the way there. If you don’t mind leaving your bike and walking thru a beach access, the ocean view is pretty. But this trail can be scratched from your list. Sorry. We wanted to like it.

Awesome Day!

We rented 5 bikes from Beach Wheels and started riding from the first beach access off of Ocean Dr. We didn’t feel comfortable riding on the road, so Bryan at Beach Wheels was kind enough to drop the bikes off there so we could ride on the bike path. We took the path all the way down to Plaza Mexican in Emerald Isle and had lunch. Then we biked down to Emerald Isle Woods where we took the bikes down to the water and enjoyed the view. Around 3:00 we turned around and biked our way back to Sweet Spot for ice cream. We were pretty tired at that point so we biked our way back to car.

Overall it was a very enjoyable bike ride. One thing I wish we had know is that the path is mostly downhill as you bike your way towards Emerald Isle which means it’s uphill as you’re coming back towards the car. We biked around 20 miles in total so the last 5-6 miles we’re pretty rough as we were very tired! Also, there’s a good bit of crosswalk traffic so be very cautious of cars as your cross.

Cold but enjoyable ride!

I had difficulty finding parking at the end of the trail but was able to find a public beach access parking in Indian Beach just past the end of the off-the-road portion. The cross road stops could get a little monotonous in the busier months but were not a big issue in November. It was cold and windy but still was an enjoyable ride. There are several public restrooms along the route.
The description only includes the portion of the trail that parallels, but is off, the main road (about 11 miles). There is an on-road trail that continues into Indian Beach and Atlantic Beach (probably close to 25 miles total). This road is fairly busy but the bike path is wide enough so it isn't uncomfortable.

Emerald Isle Trail.

All paved, gets a little busy with cross car traffic around downtown Emerald Isle on the path. Nice path for the most part. I would suggest early morning or later afternoon to heat. Has water stop, rest rooms at the beach access and tourist center. We like to ride along Ocean Drive along the ocean and end at the beach (end of Coast Guard Road). You can park at Boat Ramp or several beach access locations.

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