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Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is a preserve on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in eastern North Carolina managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  The refuge is located in Hyde, Washington, and Tyrrell Counties.  The total size of the preserve is 110,106 acres.  The protected habitat includes natural lakes and pocosin swamps at the southern end of Great Dismal Swamp.  Pungo National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 to private habitat for migratory waterfowl in the winter, specifically tundra swans and snow geese.  In 1990 through a generous donation, additional land was merged with Pungo Lake to become Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

Contact Information:

205 South Ludington Drive
PO Box 329 (mail)
Columbia, NC 27925

Phone: 252-796-3004

Email: pocosinlakes@fws.gov


Pungo Unit:

From US-64 near Plymouth turn onto NC-32 south.  Bear left for NC-45/NC-99 south and turn left for NC-45 south to the refuge entrance.



There are only a few short hiking trails in the refuge.  In addition to these trails, hiking is permitted on refuge roads, including those open and closed to vehicles, as long as they are not marked as all entry prohibited.

Duck Pen Wildlife Trail:

Length: 0.5 miles (one way)

Duck Pen Wildlife Trail is a short half-mile stroll along an old gravel road out to the Pungo Lake Observation Point.  This photography blind provides a great opportunity to view Pungo Lake without disturbing the wildlife.


One of the highlights of the refuge are the large number of migratory waterfowl that overwinter in the shallow pocosins.  There are several viewing spots around Pungo Lake for wildlife observation and photography listed below with the number that corresponds to the Pungo Unit Brochure from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Pungo Lake Observation Platform and Charles Kuralt Trail Site (2):

The Pungo Lake Observation Platform and Charles Kuralt Trail Site is located on the southern tip of Pungo Lake.  The elevated platform provides good views of the lake and surrounding pocosin to view migratory waterfowl in the winter.  A kiosk is located in the parking lot for the Charles Kuralt Trail, which connects several wildlife refuges in eastern North Carolina and Virginia.

Pungo Lake Observation Point (3):

The Pungo Lake Observation Point is a photo blind located on the southern part of Pungo Lake at the end of Duck Pen Wildlife Trail.  When visiting this blind, be as quiet as possible so as to not disturb the birds.


There are a large number of black bears who call the refuge home.  Unfortunately, I have yet to see one here.

Wildlife Safari Tours:

Wildlife tours, with a focus on seeing migratory waterfowl or black bears, are available through the Friends of Pocosin Lakes NWR.  See the website below for schedule and reservations.

External Links:

US Fish and Wildlife Service website: http://www.fws.gov/pocosinlakes/

Friends of Pocosin Lakes website: http://www.pocosinlakesfriends.org/

Blog Entries:

28Dec2013: Post-Holiday Outer Banks Trip


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