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Dismal Swamp State Park

Dismal Swamp is a 14,000-acre state park in Camden County, protecting part of the Great Dismal Swamp.  Once covering more than a million acres in Virginia and North Carolina, the state park and adjacent National Wildlife Refuge protect what's left of the swamp.  George Washington formed the Dismal Swamp Company in 1763 in an attempt to drain the swamp and harvest timber.  The Dismal Swamp Canal, built in 1805, was constructed to carry timber out of the swamp.  In 1974, the Nature Conservancy transferred 14,000 acres to the state of North Carolina to become Dismal Swamp State Natural Area.  Being landlocked on three sides with no roads and the canal on the other, public access was very limited.  In 2008, a hydraulic bridge was installed over the canal and Dismal Swamp State Park opened to the public.  There are nearly 20 miles of old fire roads that are open to hiking and bicycles and the park provides boat access to the canal.

Contact Information:

2294 US 17 North
South MillsNC 27976

Phone: (252) 771-6593

Email: dismal.swamp@ncparks.gov

GPS: 36.50570,-76.35510


The park is located in Camden County along US-17 south of the Virginia state line.  From Elizabeth City, head north on US-17 for about 19 miles and turn left at McPherson Road into the Rest Area.  Drive around the rest area to the parking lot for the state park at the hydraulic bridge.



There are over 16 miles of trails in the park.  Our visit was cut short by a flat tire, so we didn't get to hike much, but will hopefully visit again soon.

Swamp Boardwalk:

Swamp Boardwalk is a half-mile figure-8 loop.  This is the park's Track Trail.  Starting from behind the visitor center, the boardwalk makes a double loop through the Great Dismal Swamp.

Blog Entries:

09-Feb-2019: Flat Tire

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