Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Opportunities for our Visitors


Mattamuskeet Refuge is a popular place for visitors to enjoy a variety of wildlife-dependent recreation. During fall and winter, concentrations of swan, geese, and ducks are a delight to both wildlife observers and photographers. Viewing waterfowl and other wildlife species is particularly good along the Hwy 94 Causeway which travels across Lake Mattamuskeet and along the refuge Entrance Road and Wildlife Drive which run from Highway 94 to the refuge headquarters and along the south side of the Entrance Road Impoundment. An observation viewing deck is available along the Highway 94 Causeway. Visitors are welcome to walk or bicycle throughout the refuge, however, visitors are cautioned to review the corresponding map and observe refuge regulatory signs as some areas are closed to the public during the winter. Each December the refuge hosts an annual Open House where visitors may enjoy tours of a part of the refuge which is normally closed to public access in the winter. Swan, snow geese, northern pintail and other waterfowl as well as bald eagles are often observed.

Boating and sport fishing for largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish, crappie, and other species is permitted on Lake Mattamuskeet and the adjacent canals. Taking blue crabs at the water control structures is a very popular sport enjoyed by all age groups. All fishing activities must be conducted in accordance with state regulations. Additional refuge regulations are available at the refuge headquarters.

Mattamuskeet Refuge provides for quality public hunting of white-tailed deer and waterfowl. For current information on hunting dates, contact the refuge headquarters.


Recreational Features

  • Auto tour (Entrance Road and Wildlife Drive)
  • Two observation towers/decks - perfect for wildlife observation and wildlife photography
  • Three boat ramps
  • Trails


Prohibited Activities

  • Camping
  • Littering
  • Air boating
  • Jet skiing
  • All terrain vehicles
  • Swimming
  • Sailing
  • Sailboarding
  • Molesting wildlife
  • Collecting plants, flowers, nuts or berries
  • All boating is prohibited from November 2 - February 28


2013 Public Use Statistics

  • Special Event Participation: 460
  • Visitor Service Center Visitors: 3500
  • Total Hunt Visits: 1153 (Waterfowl 963, Big Game 190)
  • Foot/Trail Pedestrian Visits: 5000
  • Auto Tour Visits: 50,000
  • Boat Trail/Launch Visits: 6,000
  • Bicycle Visits: 250
  • Total Wildlife Observation Visits: 55,850
  • Photography Participants: 3000
  • Educational Participants: 120
  • Interpretation Participants: 440
  • Total Other Recreational Participants: 2,280 (picnic, walking, jogging, horseback riding)


Be a Refuge Volunteer!

If you have a talent or skill, and some time and energy to spare, come by the office or call us. Usually, the best volunteer positions are customized according to the current needs of the refuge and the skills and abilities of the volunteer.

For more information, contact or call (252) 926-4021.




Countless waterfowl fill the sky and sit on the lake

The overlook on the Charles Kuralt Trail. Photo: Mattamuskeet Staff, USFWS.


A yellow and black bird sits atop a No Littering sign

This eastern phoebe wants to remind you not to litter on the refuge. Photo: Allie Stewart, USFWS. View/download on Flickr.


A boardwalk winds into the woods

The New Holland Trail. Photo: Mattamuskeet Staff, USFWS.

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
85 Mattamuskeet Road
Swan Quarter, NC 27885
(252) 926-4021 FAX: (252) 926-1743

Last Updated: 10/27/14