Cape Hatteras Lighthouse area in April 2024. CHNS photo.

The first 1.25-mile-long phase of the new Cape Hatteras Lighthouse pathway is expected to be open to the public by late summer or early fall, 2024.

“The Buxton multi-use pathway project is approximately 40% complete,” said Mike Barber, Public Affairs Specialist for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS). “There is approximately 3,500 linear feet of unfinished project work.”

The new multi-use pathway in March 2024. CHNS photo.

The remaining work includes grading, concrete pouring, culvert replacements, seeding, painting, crosswalks, and other minor tasks. As the project continues, travelers along Lighthouse Road are advised to use caution and watch for ongoing construction activities.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Pathway project officially broke ground in November 2023, but it’s an endeavor that has been decades in the making.

In 1984, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) prepared a General Management Plan that featured a number of proposed projects in the Buxton area, including a multi-use pathway on Lighthouse Road.

The project gained momentum in 2022 with a public comment period on the proposed designs, and in September 2023, a $3.2 million contract was awarded to Terra Site Constructors LLC of Virginia to build the new pathway. Thanks to the National Park Service, funding from the Federal Highway Administration, and generous Outer Banks Forever sponsors and donors who contributed a total of $360,000, the new pathway was fully funded.

This initial 10 to 12-foot-wide paved pathway extends from N.C Highway 12 to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with a crossing near the pond on Lighthouse Road. Once the pathway connects with the Old Lighthouse Beach parking area, it skims through the parking lot to create a direct link from the roadway to the lighthouse – following the same route the lighthouse took when it was moved 2,900 feet back in 1999.

There are also five interpretive panel areas – or plazas – planned for the pathway that will outline the history of the area, the lighthouse move, and other stories that connect with the Buxton site and the Outer Banks.

Eventually, the pathway will extend from the lighthouse to the Cape Point Campground – a phase of the project that will also entail elevating the often-flooded section of Lighthouse Road near ORV Ramps 43 and 44.

While the specific start dates for the next two phases have not been determined, once the first phase is complete in several months, the public will have a new and safer way to explore one of the Outer Banks’ most beloved attractions and Buxton destinations.

For more information:

To learn more about “Pathways to Your National Parks,” and how you or your business can support this project, visit or email Jessica Barnes, Director of Outer Banks Forever, at

Pathway route near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. NPS image.

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