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Paddle and Hike! A Trip Back in Time-Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge!

  • Apr 28, 2012 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Paddle Trip With Optional Hike! A Trip Back in Time to Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge!! Appropriate for Both Novice and Experienced Paddlers!

A Glorious Paddle to a Hauntingly Beautiful and Completely Wild Natural Lake with bald cypress, Spanish moss, and solitude!

Twisted balk cypress trees rise eerily from the tannin-stained waters of a vast lake, Spanish moss clinging to their feathery needs. Waterfowl cries echo in the distance. Wilderness in all directions, as far as the eye can see. Louisiana? Florida? South Carolina? Nope, Virginia! Like a slice of the bayou, just without all those pesky gators

We Have 3 Sit On Tops (SOT) Kayaks to Rent on a first come first serve basis for a flat fee of 20.00 dollars, including portage, paddle, PFD, and a large dry bag. The leader will be brining them with him so this will save you having to pick up your own rental, buy a rack, as well as portage. That is if you do not own your own boat, yet... We will only bring them with us if they are rented so it you would like one, please e-mail Kellie at [masked] and they are fist come first serve. All of our rentals have been rented. 

Paddle Trip Information

Activity Type: Kayaking
Nearby City: Chesapeake, VA

Length: About 4 Miles or further if you want to stay around as this is on Lake Drummond so we can go as little or far as we wish. We will decide as a group which is what has always worked out best on the paddle trips. But, as you know by now, I tend to be very organized so I do have a 4 mile trip plan but am flexible if you wish to explore more beyond that. Don't forget we are also going to hike after the paddle so we can take this fascinated area in by water and land!

Approximate Paddling Time: As long as we want to explore, as it is up to us as a group! Also, don’t forget we have a post paddle hike option too! Let's plan on paddling at least 4-5 hours since it is VERY flat and easy water and we made a long haul to this mystical place so let's take time to really explore and enjoy it while we are there!

Difficulty: This is a newbie friendly flat water paddle on a lake in the middle of a swamp and appropriate for even first time paddlers.

Required Gear for the Paddle

Kayak or canoe, paddle, personal flotation device. Plenty of water and sunscreen! Pack a lunch to enjoy on the paddle and we will be stopping somewhere on our return trip home for dinner for those interested!

Hike Information

We will have an optional post paddle hike! The hike itself will be an easy side of moderate and led at an average hiker pace. In other words, no land speed records will be set as we are going to head out and explore this most magnificent area. I highly recommend brining along binoculars if you have them to spot birds or furry critters. The bears are smaller down there but they have them so we might get lucky and see a black bear or two.

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The refuge consists of over 112,000 acres of forested wetlands. Lake Drummond, at 3,100 acres and the largest natural lake in Virginia, is located in the heart of the swamp. Yep, you read it right, the lake is in the middle of the swamp!

We can observe natural swamp conditions along the Dismal Town Boardwalk Trail, a mile long elevated wooden walkway over the swamp , or try the 4.5 mile Washington Ditch Trail to Lake Drummond . Our plan is to kayak and then enjoy the Boardwalk Trail and then the Washington Ditch Trail (They simply MUST rename these trails huh?). The name sounds about as bad as the name of the swamp, but the feedback from people who have made the trip down there say it is simply a must do, and there are no words to describe this unique experience. So, onward we go, to explore more of what to us, is the great unknown!

The trails are open everyday from sunrise to sunset so we will not be rushed. The refuge headquarters is only open during the week but the trails are open 7 days a week, yay!. Click here for a complete list of hiking trails in the refuge if you are interested in seeing what the area looks like from a rudimentary map perspective-grin! The Great Dismal Swamp offers miles of hiking trails so we will be in no shortage of choices for places for us to explore after our paddle.

What is the Event Fee For for Kayaking Trips?

Click here to find out why there is a $15.00 event fee associated with guided paddle trips.

Park Fee

None, yay!

Boat Launch Fee
None, yay!

Carpool Information

There are 2 carpools for this paddle but be certain they have racks for the boats!

Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station.

Click here for directions to Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members. Be SURE that whomever you carpool with has room for your boat.

DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride.

Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location.  Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members. Be SURE that whomever you carpool with has room for your boat.

If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!

Directions to Where We Meet for The Paddle

Click Here to where we meet for this paddle!

Paddle is at 10:00 a.m.

Carpool meetup time from Savage Station is 6:00 a.m.

Carpool meetup time at Centerville Park and Ride is 7:00 a.m.

Our Paddling Disclaimer Blurb

By attending this or any other paddling/hiking event with The Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group, you are agreeing that you are responsible for your own safety at all times. No member of the group except yourself can be held responsible for any damages, accidents, or liabilities incurred while paddling with us. Paddling is an inherently dangerous sport like any other outdoor activiy. Information is provided with the understanding that the providers are not engaged in rendering advice on technical matters, equipment performance, safety, or any other aspect of the sport in absolute terms or advocating any of the techniques or experiences described.

Note Regarding Refunds:
There are no refunds, exchanges , selling, giving away, or applying the money toward a future event for this special event. Before you commit, I just want it to be clear so there would not be any possible future confusion. Please keep that in mind before signing up and have a great time. This is non-refundable, period.

See you There!

Mike Harris:[masked]

Don't forget to come visit us on Facebook

Join or login to comment.

  • Lisa

    Great day! Thank you Mike!

    April 30, 2012

  • Jennifer D.

    Great trip and a fantastic workout. Joe and Mike really made it easy and efficient to get there, have a kayak, and have a great time!

    April 29, 2012

  • Kellie C.


    April 27, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    Boat Rentals: 1. Lisa 2. Jennifer B 3. Rui
    Mike will bring each of you a boat, PFD, paddle, and dry sack and see you there unless you will be riding with him and in that case he will see you to carpool.

    April 27, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    @Rui, the boat is yours. All three boats are rented. Please contact Mike to see if there is still room for carpooling in his car.

    April 27, 2012

  • Rui

    Kellie, can reserve boat for me. I would like get ride with mike too.

    April 27, 2012

  • Lisa

    Jennifer and Lisa are meeting at Hechinger's Park and Ride (intersection of 123 & Old Bridge Rd, Lorton) on Saturday morning to ride together to the event. Anyone else want to ride with us?

    April 24, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    Lisa and Jennifer B. have 2 of the three rentals. Just confirming to make sure we are all on the same page-grin I am also confirming that we do have one rental left. Email me for details

    April 24, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    One boat still left. If interested please email me at [masked]

    April 24, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    @Jennifer B. I am confirming receipt of payment for the rental. Mike will bring the boat, PFD, paddle, and dry sack and see you there. Thanks

    April 24, 2012

  • Jennifer D.

    Hi Lisa, I live in Woodbridge and am possibly interested in carpooling. I am waiting to hear about the last boat though because if it is not available I'm planning to rent one down there. I don't know if your vehicle accommodates a kayak or not so that may impact our ability to carpool. I'll keep you posted. Have a great week.

    April 23, 2012

  • Lisa

    hi everyone. I'm coming from the Fairfax area, down 95 south, past Richmond and hoping to meet/ pick someone up along the way to ride or drive. It's a long trip, so I hope someone wants to make the trip with me. Let me know.

    April 22, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The kayaks and canoes are stored in a boat house that is only about 15 feet from the edge of the water & pier. All you have to do is carry it it over 1 or 2 people can carry it easy. From there you can go anywhere in the swamp by water & to the backcountry campgrounds if you want to put everything in the boat. It's a lot of fun. I have done it 5 times. Most recently 2 weeks ago!

    1 · February 25, 2012

  • april

    hi - i am interested in going but want to make sure i can carpool with someone from dc or any metro station... anyone able to help out?

    February 24, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    @Dave, yes Fido is welcome-grin

    1 · February 22, 2012

  • Dave

    My dog likes to paddle with me. I Fido welcome?

    1 · February 22, 2012

  • Margie

    If a kayak comes available, I would be very interested. Thanks

    February 22, 2012

  • Jennifer D.

    Are there alternative options for kayaks?

    February 21, 2012

  • Kellie C.

    @Lisa-I am confirming receipt of your payment for a rental SOT kayak for this trip. Mike will be brining a boat, paddle, PFD, and a large dry sack for you to use. Enjoy the trip!

    January 19, 2012

5 went

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