The refuge has two half-mile trails. In addition, hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public, such as roads.
Interpretive signs along the trail identify vegetation types and wildlife that may be seen. A 200-foot boardwalk takes you out onto the freshwater marsh to the north of the trail. On the south, an overlook provides viewing of the Creef Moist Soil management area where waterfowl, raptors, and other migratory birds may be seen. Depending on the season, biting flies may be present. Insect repellent is recommended. Horses and bicycles are prohibited on the walking trail. All pets must be on a leash to protect wildlife and plant life on the trail.
A georeferenced map can be found at https://www.fws.gov/media/coastal-north-carolina-nwrs-gateway-visitor-center-trail-map
The trail parallels a portion of the Milltail Paddling Trails and it is common to see and hear paddlers along the way. The trail wanders among sphagnum moss beds and cypress knees and has approximately 1400 feet of boardwalk. It runs along the north bank of Milltail Creek, cutting through both forested wetlands and herbaceous marsh habitats. The forest features loblolly pine, oaks, bald cypress, and sweetgum. The marsh offers cattail, maidencane, switchgrass, pickerelweed, duck potato, sedges, and ferns.
Common wildlife species that may be seen or heard along the trail include pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, wood ducks, prothonotary warblers, otters, white-tailed deer, and black bear. There are also a variety of reptiles and amphibians in the water and on the trail. If you walk to the right of the trail sign at the entrance, you can walk to an overlook which will give you a wonderful view of Milltail Creek. You may even spot an alligator!