Boater Information

Fall on the Dismal Swamp Canal

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.

Cruising the Carolina Loop Brochure

 

Dismal Swamp Canal Schedules and Information

South Mills Lock
252-771-5906
8:30 am • 11:00 am • 1:30 pm • 3:30 pm

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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
757-487-0831
8:30 am • 11:00 am • 1:30 pm • 3:30 pm

Elizabeth City Bridge Schedule
252-331-4772
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

Mileage
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.

Maps
Army Corp of Engineers map

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To access North Carolina Coastal Boating Guides click HERE.

Water Depths
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.