The refuge is open from 5am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
Visitor Center hours are 9am to 4pm, 7 days a week.
Lighthouse & Refuge Treks Available
The 2016 schedule for the Refuge Trek & Lighthouse Climbs is now available from our friends group, Chincoteague Natural History Association.
Protecting Nesting Shorebirds
To give birds a chance at survival we create nesting sanctuaries by closing Toms Cove Hook and Assawoman Island from Mar. 15-Sep. 15.
We protect threatened species like the piping plover.
OSV Zone Open to Coast Guard Station
The Hook is open for all access to the Coast Guard Station and remains closed south of the station to protect nesting birds.
OSV permit information (NPS website)
Outdoor Classroom Project
We are working with Accomack County Schools to create an outdoor classroom at Kegotank Elementary School.
You can now download a quick synopsis of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Chincoteague and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). This 15-year management plan will guide refuge practices to achieve our wildlife conservation mission and to support public use on the refuge.Comprehensive Conservation Plan Fact Sheet (pdf - 550KB)
We are pleased to announce the release of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Chincoteague and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). The 15-year management plan will guide refuge practices to achieve our wildlife conservation mission and to support public use on the refuge.Chincoteague and Wallops Island NWRs Final CCP
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Around the Refuge
Good news! Bicyclists are now permitted to ride on the service road up to "D-Dike". Please see the link below for a map and details.Read More (pdf 167KB)
On May 17, the refuge opened an additional Over-sand Vehicle area. It is accessible from the Service Road and open to valid OSV permit holders for the purposes of fishing only. From this point forward, OSV users in either zone are required to sign-in and out during their visit. Please see the link below for detailed information and related updates to rules regarding use of the OSV areas.North OSV Zone details
Refuge staff continues to use heavy equipment to cut dead pine trees along the refuge entrance trail, Lighthouse Trail, Woodland Trail and Service Road. The type of forestry equipment being used requires a 500 foot safety radius, to prevent bodily injury from flying debris.
Please proceed with caution in these areas and be aware of periodic short-term closures of these areas while tree removal is underway. We apologize for the noise and the inconvenience of closing these trails. Please bear with us and enjoy your exploration of the rest of the refuge.Map and More Information
If you visit Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge year after year, you've likely noticed the dramatic changes to our recreational beach and the accompanying parking areas. The history of managing dunes in this area is a fascinating story spanning over 50 years. Discover the lessons learned by the National Park Service over the years in this fascinating look into the history of our beach.History of Dune Management
Over the past 200-300 years, these modern-day descendants of domestic horses have adapted to the hardships of living near the ocean. Prior to the refuge's establishment in 1943, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company purchased the ponies and continues ownership to this day. The Firemen are allowed to graze up to 150 ponies on refuge land through a Special Use Permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Sunrise over Chincoteague - Jacqui Trump.
Last Updated: May 24, 2016