Skip to Main Content

Dismal Swamp Canal Trail


With 8.5 miles of converted road bed, this multi-use trail allows people of all abilities to explore the wildlife of the Great Dismal Swamp. Running alongside the Dismal Swamp Canal and bordering both Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Cavalier Wildlife Management Area-Dismal Swamp Tract-this trail offers a variety of habitats in an easily accessible setting. Bird life abounds as well as butterflies and dragonflies. Bear, bobcat, and otter frequent this area. Keep an eye out for any of the numerous reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the swamp. Abutting the single largest tract of land in the region-this trail provides a variety of wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities.


Address: 1200 Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, Chesapeake, VA 23323

From Norfolk, take I-464 South to Chesapeake and follow I – 464 SOUTH to Route 17 South. Follow Route 17 South beyond intersection with Route 165.

  • To park at the Northern Trailhead, turn right onto Route 17 BUS – George Washington Hwy. Follow Route 17 BUS about ½ mile to the trail entrance on left.
  • To park at the Boat Ramp/ Ballahack Rd, continue on Route 17 South beyond mile marker 4. Turn right onto Ballahack Rd.

After visiting the site, turn right onto US 17 Business/George Washington Hwy. Follow this road to US 17 North and continue to I-64.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: 757-382-6411,
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, Sunrise to Sunset

Birds Recently Seen at Dismal Swamp Canal Trail (as reported to eBird)

  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Black Vulture
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Chimney Swift

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Bike Trails
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms