Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (Wildlife Drive)

One of the places that Ashley and I had the opportunity to visit this past summer in North Carolina was the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a very unique place with the highest population of black bears on the east coast of the United States and is one of the only areas in the world that you can see the endangered red wolf in the wild. We did the Wildlife Drive, a hike on the Creef Cut Trail, the Bear Tour, and the Red Wolf Howling Safari while visiting the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Directions to Trailhead: The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is located in Eastern North Carolina. The address for the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is Milltail Road East Lake, NC 27953. Office Phone: 252-473-1131, Fax: 252-473-1668. For directions and information for road networks in North Carolina click Here.

Description of Hike: The wildlife drive, is not a hike, but is a drive through the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge. The drive allows you to see how expansive the refuge is and provides you with an excellent opportunity to view wildlife. While on the drive Ashley and I did see 2 black bears. There is no cost to drive on the refuge, but donations are welcome. The refuge is open during daylight hours only, a 1/2 hour before sunrise to a 1/2 hour after sunset. The speed limit on all refuge roads, unless otherwise posted, is 35 miles per hour. Motorized vehicles are allowed only on designated roads. When driving on the refuge, when you stop, make sure that your vehicle does not block the road, or you risk the possibility of citations. One other priority is to make sure you have a full gas tank when you go on the drive as there are no gas stations in the immediate vicinity.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed our visit to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. We especially enjoyed the wildlife drive because it truly allowed us the opportunity to see the wide variety of habitat and large expanses of land that compose the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a broad expanse (152,000 acres) of wildlands and waters. There are many options available to explore the refuge and the designated wildlife drive and trails offer the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Black bear, deer, river otters, and red wolves, along with a variety of birds, reptiles, and amphibians may be seen here. During the winter months, large numbers of waterfowl and other migratory birds are present.

Ashley and I had the chance to see many different types of birds and we even saw two black bears while on our drive in the refuge as well as several deer. Wildlife in the refuge is usually most active at dusk and dawn. Ashley and I highly recommend that you bring plenty of insect repellent and water, especially during the hot summer months. Additionally, to see the wildlife best, make sure to bring a pair of binoculars or even better a spotting scope! Furthermore, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide variety of programs that you can attend. They have the Red Wolf Howling Safari, Bear Tours, and much more.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Varies depending on how much you get out of your car (Easy), Distance: Varies depending on how much you get out of your car (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours. (It really depends on how long you stop to watch for wildlife in each area.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE ALLIGATOR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Wildlife Drive (This Post)

View Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in a larger map

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