Chowan Swamp Game Land

27,516 acres in Bertie, Gates & Hertford Counties

Open to the Public


Things To Do

Fishing / Birding / Small and Large Boats / Boat Ramp View All

Plan Your Visit

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Get Directions

Coastal Plain
Gates County






Colerain, Gatesville, Harrellsville, Mintonsville, Valhalla, Winton

Topographical maps are available by contacting:
NC Geographical Survey.
1612 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1612.
(919) 715-9718


N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
512 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27611
(919) 733-7291


Between 1973 and 1994, The Nature Conservancy worked with Union Camp Corporation and Georgia-Pacific Corporation to protect almost 11,000 acres now owned by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. Forestry Foundation, and the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. 

One of the most extensive swamp forests in North Carolina, Chowan Swamp averages three miles in width and is characterized by a diversity of natural communities. Most of the game land is comprised of a nonriverine swamp forest. Swamp tupelo and red maple dominate the forest, while bald cypress and water tupelo are confined to a narrow strip along the river. The forests growing on the narrow upland ridges within the swamp range from mixed hardwood forest, composed of beech and a variety of oak species, to pine/oak scrub similar to that of the Chowan Sand Banks.

The mouths of Bennett’s, Sarem, and Catherine Creeks are distinguished by their highly diverse freshwater marshes, containing large patches of prairie cordgrass, a significantly rare species in North Carolina, as well as wild rice and arrow arum. The Chowan is home to many breeding neotropical migrants such as the prothonotary and Swainson's warblers and mammals such as black bear, bobcat, and river otter. Canoeing or kayaking the tranquil blackwater streams in the area is a wonderful way to explore the river and swamp forest.

Fishing / Birding / Small and Large Boats / Boat Ramp

Parking is available.


This site is located along the northeast shore of the Chowan River, from the mouth of the Meherrin River downstream to Cannon Ferry. The best access is by boat from a public boat ramp located at the end of SR 1111, south of Gatesville. There are numerous blackwater tributaries that provide paddlers access to this wilderness which is part of the Albemarle Canoe Trail System. Trail markers guide you on Catherine/Warwick Creek, Dillard Creek, Rockyhock Creek and Bennett Millpond, Pembroke Creek, and Queen Anne Creek. This is a popular hunting spot, so check the hunting schedules before you go!


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