National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. With 15 miles of hiking trails and a pristine beach, there are plenty of opportunities to seek out the 275+ bird species that call our refuge home throughout the year. Natural wonders abound, so keep an eye out for deer, dolphins and other wildlife as you explore. Connect with the area's rich cultural history during a trip to Assateague Lighthouse or while watching the Chincoteague ponies graze in our saltmarsh. From photography and bicycling to fishing and hunting, there's something for everyone to enjoy on our magical island.
We offer a variety of entrance pass options. Refer to our fees page to decide which pass best fits with your plans. Prices start at $10.00 for our daily pass and entrance is free for visitors planning to hike or bike into the refuge.
Whether you're looking for a long kayak paddle, a morning of birdwatching, or a day frolicking by the seashore, we've got something for every type of outdoor adventure!
Our trail system offers an interconnected, 15-mile network of immersive nature exploration. You will wind through forests, shrub-thicket, and wetland habitats each of which are home to a unique set of wildlife. The refuge has few hills, so most trails have very little elevation-gain. This makes for relatively easy walks and bike rides. Our paved trails offer more even surfaces to visitors who use a wheelchair or other assistive devices. Read to plan your adventure? Print your own trail map or pick up one when you arrive. Note: we do not allow pets on the refuge, even in your vehicle.
Please be aware that hunting occurs in areas surrounding our trails. All hunters are required to follow Virginia state's safety guidelines, which state that there is no hunting within 50 feet of the center line of any road or trail, nor within 100 feet of any building.
- Trails will remain open during Archery season (usually October - January).
- Firearms hunting occurs only in the Northern and Southern portions of the refuge. As such, the Service Road closes north of D-Dike during the Firearms season (usually November to January).
- There is no hunting on Sundays or during Waterfowl Weekend (the four days from Thanksgiving Thursday - Sunday annually).
Other Facilities in the Complex
We are managed as part of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, this group of sites protect similar habitat types and wildlife. This means common management needs can be applied toward a common purpose throughout the Complex.
Rules and Policies
Help us protect habitat and keep both you and our wildlife safe by following all rules and policies during your visit. Keep in mind that unless explicitly posted as a nature trail, public road, parking lot, or building, all areas of the refuge are closed to public entry. If you can't find information about your desired activity, give us a call!
From Dover, DE
Take Route 13 South to Route 175 (about 5 miles past Pocomoke City, MD). See below.
From Washington, D.C.
From I-95 enter Route 301 North, following signs to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, to Route 50. Take Route 50 East to Route 13 South (in Salisbury, MD). From Route 13 South take Route 175 (about 5 miles past Pocomoke City, MD). See below.
From Baltimore, MD
From I-97 take Route 301 North, following signs to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, to Route 50. Take Route 50 East to Route 13 South (in Salisbury, MD). From Route 13 South take Route 175 (about 5 miles past Pocomoke City, MD). See below.
From Virginia Beach, VA
From I-64 take Route 13 North, following signs to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Travel Route 13 North to Route 175. See below.
Travel East on Route 175 to Chincoteague Island. After crossing the drawbridge, go straight at the traffic light onto Maddox Blvd. Follow the signs to Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.