Mountains-to-Sea State Trail

About the trail

The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail, or the MST, is North Carolina's flagship state trail. The notion of a trail extending across the width of North Carolina was proposed in 1977 by Howard Lee, who was then the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. In 2000, the MST became a state trail and a unit of the state parks system. In 2017, the General Assembly authorized a major addition to the MST: the Coastal Crescent route that loops through southeastern North Carolina.

The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation is completely committed to developing the MST as a continuous, off-road trail across the state. To that end, the Division has dedicated considerable financial and staff resources to the planning and coordination of the entire trail. In addition, the Division has acquired land for the trail and funded trail construction. One of the hallmarks of its efforts is developing partnerships with local, state and federal land management agencies, along with nonprofit organizations, land trusts and volunteers, to advance the development of the MST. The Friends of the MST organization provides information on the trail, sponsors most of the task forces that build and maintain sections of trail and promotes thru-hiking the trail by providing interim routes that connect completed portions of the MST. If you need detailed maps of specific segments of the MST, the Friends of the MST website is a valuable resource.

When completely constructed, the MST will be about 1,400 miles long. Currently, there are 659.5 miles of trail that are completed and designated.

Section sponsorship

If your organization or governmental agency is interested in learning about the opportunities to sponsor a section of the MST, please contact State Trails Planner Smith Raynor at

Volunteer opportunities

The best source of volunteer opportunities on the MST is the Friends of the MST. Each of the section sponsors may also have ways for you to volunteer on the trail.

At a glance



Planned use:  HIKING, with some horseback riding and biking sections

Map of proposed trail

This map has been divided into the Mountain, Piedmont and Coastal regions for more detail below.

Map of the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail

Mountain region

Map of Mountains-to-Sea State Trail Mountain Region

Piedmont region

Map of Mountains-to-Sea State Trail Piedmont Region

Coastal region

Map of Mountains-to-Sea State Trail Coastal Region