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 Wildlife Trail, the Bear Tour, and the Red Wolf Howling Safari while visiting the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. (In the video above, the howling starts at around the 4 second mark and you can hear the wolves best around the 30 second mark and 45 second mark, you might have to turn your speakers up sorry for background noise as people were walking)
Directions to Trailhead: The trailhead for the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is located in Eastern North Carolina. The address for the trailhead is Milltail Road East Lake, NC 27953. For more information or directions to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge their office phone is: 252-473-1131 and their fax number: 252-473-1668. For directions and information for road networks in North Carolina click Here.
Description of Hike: Registration is required to take part in the Red Wolf Howling Safari. To make a reservation call 252-216-9464. Usually the Red Wolf Howling Safari's are only offered during the summer months. Summer Howling Safari's cost $7 per person and Children 12 and under are free. However, they also offered Red Wolf Howling Safari's on other dates throughout the year that are free. The Red Wolf Howling Safari is not a true hike, but is more of an outdoor experience. The Red Wolf Howling Safari begins at the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail parking area. The Red Wolf Howling Safari begins with a informational gathering where you learn about the Red Wolf. This is a perfect adventure for kids to do. After the informational portion of the Red Wolf Howling Safari, you travel in a large caravan of cars deep into the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge to a location deep in the woods. Here, you howl and hopefully the wolves howl back at you!
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed the Red Wolf Howling Safari. The informational portion of the Safari was great. You get to learn about the almost extinction of the Red Wolf and how the captive breeding program has led to the re-introduction of the Red Wolf into the wild again. Their program is modeled similarly to the program used to introduce the grey wolf back into the Yellowstone Ecosystem. You can also hold the pelts of Red Wolfs that have died of natural causes at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
The Red Wolf Howling Safari is something that the entire family will enjoy. There were many families on the safari. The Red Wolf Howling Safari typically lasts about two hours. You are going to want to make sure you bring a flashlight and insect repellent. Also, dress for the weather; the Red Wolf Howling Safari will occur except with lightning, heavy rain, or wind or impassable roads. Decision to cancel will be made at least 1.5 hours prior to the scheduled program. Also, plan ahead! The Creef Cut Wildlife Trail is about a 20 minute drive from Manteo. (Picture on this paragraph from our visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science)
Make sure you exercise patience when you get to the howling portion of the safari. The wolves usually cooperate and howl back at you (But it is not always guaranteed). It took the wolves about 15 minutes to begin to howl back at us. Unfortunately by that some people had given up and began to walk back to the place their cars were parked. Overall, Ashley and I would highly recommend the Red Wolf Howling Safari. We really enjoyed it in addition to spending a day at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. (Picture on this paragraph from our visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science)
Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 0.25 Miles (Very Easy).
Time to Complete Hike: 2 hours.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE ALLIGATOR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Red Wolf Howling Safari (This Post)