Dismal Swamp Canal Trail

EASY 8 reviews

Dismal Swamp Canal Trail is a 16.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Chesapeake, VA that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

16.5 miles 44 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

canoeing

fishing

nature trips

road biking

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

The Dismal Swamp Canal Trail is a former section of Virginia State Rt. 17, now a multiuse trail open to bicycling, walking, running, horseback riding, and boating. The north trailhead is located at the intersection of Dominion Blvd and Old Rt 17 in Chesapeake, VA, and runs south 8.5 miles. The Dismal Swamp Canal Trail is a former section of Virginia State Rt. 17, now a multiuse trail open to bicycling, walking, running, horseback riding, and boating. The north trailhead is located at the intersection of Dominion Blvd and Old Rt 17 in Chesapeake, VA, and runs south 8.5 miles, adjacent to the Dismal Swamp Canal. The Canal is the site of the popular "Paddle for the Border," which takes place in the spring. The event attracts paddlers from Maryland to Georgia, ages eight to eighty, fitness-buffs to historians, nature enthusiasts to families looking for a pleasant day's adventure. boats on canal - photoThis multipurpose-linear nature trail threads through some of the most uniquely historical and ecologically-significant habitats in the United States. The Dismal Swamp Canal Trail is an historic, environmental and outdoor recreation delight. Open to walkers, hikers, boaters, bicyclists, and horseowners, the 8.5-mile trail can provide a 17-mile bike loop or a leisurely 2-mile-up-and-back nature walk and picnic with the family. Spend a day or a couple of hours. The Great Dismal Swamp Refuge is home to myriad species of wildlife; parts of the Refuge were surveyed by George Washington's company; the Swamp is nationally recognized as a stop on the "Underground Railroad"; the GDS Refuge is also a resting spot for thousands of migratory birds in the fall and spring. The trail is linear and flat; perfect for people of all ages to bike or walk and horseowners to ride. The Ballahack Rd./Great Dismal Swamp Boat Ramp provides easy access to launch your boat, canoe or kayak and is the location of the annual Paddle for the Border.

5 months ago

scenic driving
11 months ago

Too much traffic rolling by but nice other than that. It was a beautiful day.

mountain biking
11 months ago

Nice day for a bike ride, but it took me most of the day to get comfortable with the bike.

1 year ago

Old two lane road with 4 gates, nice ride and not crowded during the week days.

road biking
3 years ago

This trail is not for those seeking excitement, it is for those seeking a beautiful (just feet from the Intercoastal the entire length), safe (no motorized vehicles) and long (for runners anyway). I don't like to run it because it frankly gets old. But this is my go-to for biking. I can just clock in 17 miles at decent speeds with never a worry about traffic. Lots of cyclists ride it, then offshoot to the state highway 17 then ride down into NC, and return.

hiking
3 years ago

Walked the whole length of the trail, eventful and somewhat boring. peaceful and some of the pictures I took were nice.

hiking
3 years ago

I been to the dismal swamp trail it's right down my naborhood

hiking
4 years ago

Being a paved trail as part of old Hwy. 17 through part of Chesapeake, it is mostly straight, flat, and boring for walking/hiking. Cyclists and runners would benifit more using this trail. The quarter mile markers will give you a good idea of your speed. Sunny hot days in the Summer are just that - HOT!