Trails

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.

  • Archery season is usually October - January.
  • Firearms season is usually November to January.
  • There is no hunting on Sundays or during Waterfowl Weekend (the four days from Thanksgiving Thursday - Sunday annually). 

Lighthouse Trail

The Lighthouse Trail takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse. Look for songbirds, deer, toads, and the iconic Delmarva peninsula fox squirrel along the way. This unpaved footpath takes visitors over a sandy hill. Visitors who need a more accessible route can drive to the lighthouse by using the access road across from our visitor center. 
Trail Length (mi)
0.30
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Birding
Cultural heritage
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
View Trail

Black Duck Trail

Black Duck Trail branches off of the Wildlife Loop, providing a connection to the Woodland Trail. It's a great place to look for turtles, songbirds and sometimes small mammals. This trail is flat and paved, but may have small bumps due to tree root growth.
Trail Length (mi)
0.55
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Point to point
Trail Activities
Biking
Birding
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Woodland Trail

The Woodland Trail takes you through a beautiful pine forest. Look for Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels and stop by the overlook where you can sometimes see the Chincoteague ponies. In recent years, damage to pine trees from the southern pine beetle has made this a popular place for seeing woodpeckers. This trail is flat and paved, but will have some bumps due to tree root growth. 
Trail Length (mi)
1.75
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Lollipop
Trail Activities
Biking
Birding
Cultural heritage
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Wildlife Loop Boardwalk

The Wildlife Loop takes you around a moist soil management unit and is a great place to observe wildlife. Look for shallow waters and waterfowl in the winter. In summer, expect mudflats visited by shorebirds and wading birds. Pause at one of the benches or overlooks for wildlife viewing and quiet contemplation.This is a wide, flat, paved trail. The Wildlife Loop is also open to vehicular access daily from 3:00 p.m. to dusk.
Trail Length (mi)
0.12
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Biking
Birding
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Swan Cove Trail

Swan Cove Trail, which branches off of the Wildlife Loop, is a popular route to the beach. The trail is surrounded by shrub/thicket habitat where you may see pollinators, hearty vegetation and the occasional muskrat or otter. This trail is flat and paved, but may have small bumps due to tree root growth.
Trail Length (mi)
0.36
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Point to point
Trail Activities
Biking
Birding
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Butterfly Garden Trail

The Marsh Trail is a scenic detour along the Wildlife Loop. Enjoy tree swallows, dragonflies and beautiful marsh grasses on your way to the observation platform that overlooks Snow Goose Pool. This unpaved footpath has a surface that varies from packed sand to stone to grass. Since it is relative flat, the trail may be accessible to some visitors who use mobility assistive devices.
Trail Length (mi)
0.06
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Point to point
Trail Activities
Birding
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
View Trail

Bike Trail

Trail Length (mi)
1.93
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Biking
Birding
Hiking
Running
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Kid friendly
View Trail

Pony Overlook Trail

Trail Length (mi)
0.08
View Trail