Climb to the Top of The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

0.2 miles 120 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Alex E

Climb to the top of the nation's tallest brick lighthouse. Then spend the rest of the day surfing, fishing, or hiking the Cape.

Add Cape Hatteras to your summer plans! The cape is isolated and never too crowded. The opportunities for adventure are endless on the cape. Of course, as you first arrive, you will see the Historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Enjoy climbing to the top of the nation's tallest brick lighthouse for one of the best views in North Carolina. The top of the lighthouse is a great place to get those amazing shots just before sunset. From the top, you can really understand the true expanse of the Outer Banks and Hatteras Island.

Climbing to the top is the equivalent of climbing to the top of a 12 story building. There are warning signs for anyone out of shape or that may be pregnant. The lighthouse doesn't have any air condition, so during the summer months, the lighthouse can become very hot and humid inside. But once you make it to the top, the cool breeze, fresh air, and amazing views are well worth the sweat.

The lighthouse is open every day from 9am-5:30pm during the summer and until 4:30pm during the winter. Tickets are 8 dollars for adults. A National Park Tour guide will stop you at the entrance and allow groups to proceed after groups have climbed down from the lighthouse. This keeps the stairs from becoming too congested and the guide explains some pretty interesting history as you wait. The lighthouse can also be climbed once a month during a full moon. You must book your full moon tickets 3 days in advance.

After you climb all 257 steps of the lighthouse, spend the rest of the day exploring the cape. The cape is bustling with wildlife. We saw over 12 deer during our 2 day stay. You can also park and fish right on the beach if you have a 4x4 vehicle. The beach permit for a week is 50 dollars and 120 dollars for a year. You can buy the permit at the gift shop of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. 

The town of Buxton has many great places to eat local seafood such as fried catfish and raw oysters. Pop's Raw Bar was our favorite place on the cape. Whatever adventure you decide to enjoy, you will never be out of sight of the beautiful black and white spiraled Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area


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🥇Top Contributor

about 2 months ago

Even better by the light of a full moon!

A climb to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is always a treat but for an extra special experience, visit in the summer when the rangers lead full moon tours to the top of the tower.


🥇Top Contributor

2 months ago

Great views!

This area is amazing and shows what truly the Outer Banks has to offer. The beach here is great for off roading too.

Cape Hatteras

The lighthouse was closed when I went but it was still worth going. Definitely go if the lighthouse is open.

Climb Cape Hatteras lighthouse

Nice climb to the top of the lighthouse with very good views of Cape Hatteras.

Nice View

The view was nice of the surrounding area, given your height. However be aware that there is a fee per person to climb the lighthouse.

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