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Pettigrew State Park

Pettigrew State Park is a park on the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula in Washington and Tyrrell Counties in eastern North Carolina.  The closest town is Creswell.  The main feature of the park is Lake Phelps, North Carolina's second largest natural lake at 16,600 acres.  The park protects most of the shoreline of the lake as well as additional land along the Scuppernong River.  Recreational activities in the park include boating on Lake Phelps and Scuppernong River, hiking trails along the lake shore, camping, and Somerset Place, a historical plantation.

Contact Information:

2252 Lake Shore Road
Creswell, NC 27928

Phone: (252) 797-4475


From US-64 in Creswell, take exit 558 and turn left on Main Street, which becomes Spruill's Bridge Road.  In two miles, turn right on Thirty Foot Canal Road and drive 5 miles.  Turn left on Lake Shore Road and the park office will be on the right.



Bee Tree Trail:

Length: 1.3 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Easy

Bee Tree Trail starts from Somerset Place and follows the shoreline to Bee Tree Overlook.  The overlook was closed when we visited, but there is another boardwalk extending out into the lake at the parking area at Bonarva canal.  Between here and Bee Tree Overlook, a spur trail leads to Pettigrew Cemetery.

Cemetery Trail:

Length: 0.3 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Easy

Cemetery Trail is a spur from Bee Tree Trail that leads to the Pettigrew Cemetery, where James Johnston Pettigrew, the park's namesake is buried.

Lake Shore Trail:

Length: 0.25 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Easy

Lake Shore Trail is a quarter-mile boardwalk that leads from near the boat ramp to Somerset Place, passing through a swampy area.  The swim pier is accessed from the boardwalk.

Moccasin Trail:

Length: 2.8 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Easy

Moccasin Trail is an approximately 3-mile trail that leads from the park office to Moccasin Canal through a lovely forest of hardwoods and cypress trees.  The trail runs parallel to the lake shore, but for much of the length, the trail is much too dense to see the lake.  There are a few openings, mostly closer to the park office. 

At the end of the trail, Morotoc Trail splits off and continues along the northern lake shore.  A 350-foot boardwalk leads from the trail's end out to Moccasin Overlook on the lake.  This boardwalk runs through a beautiful swamp at the lake's edge with cypress trees draped in Spanish moss.


There is a 13-site campground located between the park office and Somerset Place with water, restrooms, and hot showers.  Visit the park's website for details and reservations.  The boat ramp offers a great place to watch sunrise or sunset over the lake.


Wildflowers grow in abundance around the lake during spring.  I spotted this atamasco lily (Zephyranthes atamasca) starting to bloom along Moccasin Trail.

Although not native, pink sorrel (Oxalis articulata) is found in the park.  This plant has leaves resembling clovers and small pink flowers.

Another non-native flower found at Pettigrew is the the daffodil.

Box turtles (Terrapene carolina) can be found along the trails in the park.

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External Links:

NC State Parks website: http://ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/pett/main.php