Dismal Swamp Canal Update (11/8/16):
The Dismal Swamp Canal continues to be closed due to extensive damage from Hurricane Matthew. Lake Drummond Reservation is closed until further notice. Numerous trees went down from high winds and 25” of rainfall from Sept. 21-TS Julia through Oct. 8th, Hurricane Matthew. The ACOE continues to remove trees and assess the shoaling near the mouth of the Feeder Ditch. A count of #60 trees down initially, but the total is probably much higher now. This process is still ongoing, with no known date of completion.
We have been told the ACOE has requested Federal Funds to assist with the operations to restore the Canal for operations. Flooding occurred in many communities, affecting homes, churches, cars, etc. in the village of South Mills and Deep Creek, as well as many neighboring communities in our region and state. We hope the ACOE and local community agencies can work with FEMA and any other resources, to assure flooding like this does not occur again in the future. We would welcome substantial review of the Canal, Lake Drummond, Flood Plain Management, etc. to benefit all involved. If dredging accomplished two benefits, improved water storage and better navigation, we would all be winners.
We will keep you posted of any new updates.
*The Deep Creek lock is scheduled to have their River Gate pulled and refurbished in January 2017. This process is done about every 15 years and is scheduled maintenance. The canal will be closed during this maintenance period. Updates will be provided as more specific information is received.
The Dismal Swamp Canal is an alternate route along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW), connecting the Chesapeake Bay with the Albemarle Sound.
The AIWW provides pleasure boats with a protected inland channel between Norfolk, Virginia, all the way to Miami, Florida. The Canal is on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic Landmark, noted as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and has received the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Designation. The Welcome Center is home to a 150’ face dock that provides a rest stop to nearly 2,000 boaters yearly.
Dismal Swamp Canal Schedules and Information
South Mills Lock
8:30 am • 11:00 am • 1:30 pm • 3:30 pm
Dismal Swamp State Park Bridge Schedule
The pedestrian bridge at the state park will open as your vessel approaches or by sounding your horn. The bridge is left in the open position when the park is closed.
Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides a 150′ face dock and allows tie-up on a first-come, first-served basis. Boats are allowed to stay overnight and restrooms are open 24 hrs a day.
Deep Creek Lock
8:30 am • 11:00 am • 1:30 pm • 3:30 pm
Elizabeth City Bridge Schedule
7:30 am • 8:30 am • 4:30 pm • 5:30 pm
Between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, and after 5:30 pm this bridge opens on demand.
Additional FAQ’s & Information
18 miles between Elizabeth City and South Mills
17 miles between Deep Creek Lock and Welcome Center
5 miles between Welcome Center and South Mills lock22 miles between South Mills and Deep Creek
40.5 miles from Elizabeth City to Deep Creek
Approximate length of time to transit the canal
The canal is a no-wake zone
3 hours to reach the Welcome Center from Deep Creek
1 hour to reach South Mills
total transit of the Canal four hours.
About the Canal
The Dismal Swamp Canal is the oldest continually operating, hand-dug waterway in the United States. It is part of the Intracoastal Waterway connecting the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia with the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. The Welcome Center is located at mile marker 28.
Army Corp of Engineers map
To access North Carolina Coastal Boating Guides click HERE.
The canal has a controlled depth of 6 foot.
For the latest updates on water levels click HERE.
Canoe and Kayaking Information
The Dismal Swamp State Park rents canoes and kayaks for your enjoyment of the canal in North Carolina. Access is provided for canoes and kayaks beside the State Park bridge. Call 252-771-6593 for availability. If you have your own boat then you may consider traveling the three mile Feeder Ditch to Lake Drummond which is located seven miles north of the Welcome Center, near Ballahack Road, Chesapeake, VA. Lake Drummond offers primitive camping, restrooms (seasonal non-potable water) and picnic shelters.
Boat Access Ramps
Sawyer’s Creek ramp: US Highway 343 North in Camden County
Camden Point: US Highway 343 South in Camden County
Lambs Marina US Highway 158 in Camden County
Dog Corner Park and Waterfront Park ramps: Elizabeth City Waterfront
There are height restrictions at Dog Corner Park.
The Sawmill Park ramp: Weeksville
Fishing on the Canal
Although fishing is allowed in the canal, it is not known for great catches. A current NC fishing license is required.