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Plan Your Visit

Visitors on the boardwalk

Know Before You Go

  • The refuge trails are open daily, sunrise to sunset, for hiking and biking. 
  • The auto tour (Lake Drummond via the Railroad Ditch Entrance) is available Monday - Saturday, 7:30am to 3:00pm.  Vehicles must exit the route by 4:00pm. A self-serve permit is found at the gate entrance.
  • There is no fee to visit the refuge.
  • When enjoying the outdoors, please remember to be mindful of the elements. It is a good idea to wear bug repellent and sunscreen while fishing or walking along one of the many refuge nature trails. Sources of potable water are not available on the trails. In order to stay properly hydrated it would be beneficial to bring drinking water along on your visit. 
  • Disturbing or collecting plants, animals, or artifacts is prohibited. Swimming, camping, and fires are also prohibited on the refuge.  
  • Vault restroom facilities are located at the Jericho and Washington Ditch parking areas.
  • Pets must be leashed at all times.
  • Cell phone reception is unreliable.
Points of Interest 

The main public contact point:
Refuge Headquarters
3100 Desert Road
Suffolk, VA 23434
Phone: 757-986-3705 

  •  The office is open Monday – Fridays, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and is closed on weekends and federal holidays. 
  •  The trail system is open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset, for hiking and biking.
  •  The Railroad Ditch Auto Tour route is open Monday-Saturday, 7:30a to 3:00p, vehicles must exit by 4:00p; self-service permit is required. 
Public Use Map of trails and entrance locations


 Other points of interest include

  • The Railroad Ditch entrance is the auto tour route to Lake Drummond. It is a six mile, gravel, all weather road. Along the route, visit the Underground Railroad Education Pavilion, the Cypress Marsh, the West Ditch Boardwalk, and Lake Drummond. An observation deck is located at the lake. For auto access a self-serve permit is required and is found at the gate entrance.  Auto access is only Monday-Saturday, 7:30am to 3:00pm.  Vehicles must exit the route by 4:00pm.
  • In the Washington Ditch entrance enjoy the ¾ mile accessible boardwalk trail that loops deep into the forest, or take the 4 ½ mile hiking or biking trail to Lake Drummond. An observation deck is located at the lake.
  • In the Jericho Ditch entrance you find many miles of hiking and biking. This is also a great area for bird watching during the spring migration and visiting the bird banding station.  The Feeder Ditch entrance is a by water only access to Lake Drummond from the Dismal Swamp Canal entering the refuge from the east. 
  • Fishing/Boating access from the Interior Ditch boat ramp is seasonally allowed with a special use permit. Permit applications are accepted March 1 through June 15 each year.  Contact the refuge office for more information.
Refuge Brochures  


Last Updated: Jul 22, 2015
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