Buxton Woods is one of the largest remaining maritime forests in the Southeast. It consists of pine- and oak-covered dune ridges interspersed with maritime swamp forest and unique marshy wetlands known locally as sedges. It’s a very rare ecosystem for a barrier island, and most visitors don’t even realize it exists. The North Carolina Coastal Reserve, a program of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, maintains more than 1,000 acres of the woods for research, education and recreation and offers some great hiking trails for the public to experience this amazing ecosystem. On a walk here you might see one of 360 species of birds, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons, along with gray fox, white-tailed deer, mink, river otter, box turtles, salamanders or snakes. Trails may be accessed from Old Doctor's Road, Flowers Ridge Road or Water Association Road. There's also a trailhead near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on Lighthouse Road.