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28 Jan 2023
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It’s looking like we’re in for a wet time this coming week, so today seemed like the best day to get out and enjoy the sunshine and beauty of the Outer Banks.

The beach is always nice to visit, especially if the sun is out. A bit chilly today, but nice. That, however, was not what was calling out to be explored today.

Run Hill is sort of the forgotten nature reserve on the Outer Banks. Tucked away on the west side of Kill Devil Hills, bordering on Nags Head Woods, it’s not very large at all. Not even quite one square mile. Yet it is a place of extraordinary diversity.

It is an undeveloped natural protected area, meaning there are no marked trails, no restrooms, just a gigantic sand dune, and it takes some thigh power to get around. But it’s worth it.

At first glance it would seem there is nothing but the gleaming pale tan of sand piled 75 or 80 fee high. Run Hill is so much more than that, though.

At the base of the hill on the northeast side are two exquisitely beautiful fresh water ponds. They’re really low right now—it has been somewhat dry and we didn’t get the usual tropical systems this year. The upcoming rain, though, should recharge them.

Getting to the ponds is easy. Getting back to the top of the dune, however, is a real challenge. 

The dune itself is surprisingly green, dotted with dense patches of woods with pine trees and thickets. Birds love that environment and there is a constant rustle and chirp coming from the thickets. Hard to see just which bird it is, but best guess at this time of the year is a yellow-dumped warbler.

Along the west ridge of the dune, the sand falls away steeply to a dense maritime forest that extends out to Buzzard Bay. The panorama of Albemarle Sound is stunning from that vantage point.

It is a bit of effort to hike around up there, but is certainly worth it for anyone looking to explore a different side of the Outer Banks.

So much to see on the Outer Banks that one visit is not enough. Be sure to make those vacation reservations as soon as possible for the best Brindley Beach Vacations home.