Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge offers three trails that are open year-round during daylight hours. The two wildlife trails have several elevated platforms for wildlife viewing. All trails are relatively flat; the North Pond Wildlife Trail is wheelchair-accessible.
The trail features a boardwalk over our "turtle pond" (full of freshwater turtles, including sliders and snapping turtles), three observation platforms, and one double decker tower. All of the observation structures have interpretive panels and permanently mounted binocular spotting scopes. From the top of the tower, visitors can see the entire cross-section of the barrier island.
Dogs are not permitted on the North Pond Wildlife Trail.
A diversity of bird species can often be seen from this trail, including herons, ducks and geese, and shorebirds, making it one of the best birding spots on the refuge. The trail terminates in a raised observation platform, providing an excellent vantage point over the north end of North Pond.
In order to return to their starting point, visitors may retrace their steps (6mi total), hike along the beach (4mi total, including 1.5mi on sand), or hike along Highway 12 (4mi total, including 1.5mi alongside busy traffic).
Bikes are allowed on the service road, but not on the wildlife trails. Bikers should stay below the top of the dike on the north and south sides of North Pond.