Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Dismal Swamp Canal Trail

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWT: Be Safe While OutdoorsDWR encourages you to be safe while outdoors. Before heading out, first check with individual sites on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail for any COVID-19 policies or closures. This information is typically posted on a site's own website. Remember to maintain CDC social distancing guidelines while enjoying the outdoors.


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 wildlfie 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.

From the Previous Site on the South Chesapeake Loop of VBWT:

From A Place for Girls – Nellie Hayse Site head west on SR 165/Cedar Road and follow it for approximately 2.0 miles. Turn left (south) onto Dominion Blvd. and follow it for approximately 4.0 miles. Turn right onto South US 17 Business/George Washington Hwy. Travel .75 miles and turn left into Dismal Swamp Canal Trail North Parking Area. To reach the Southern Trail Head return to US 17 Business/George Washington Hwy and turn right (south). Continue on US 17 for 6.7 miles to Ballahack Road. Turn right on Ballahack Road and enter the South Parking Area.

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, ContactPRT@cityofchesapeake.net
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, Sunrise to Sunset

Seasonal Bird Observations


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