Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

North Carolina

(252) 794-3808

Map Directions

Things To Do


Roanoke River NWR was established in 1989 to protect and enhance wooded wetlands consisting of bottomland hardwoods and swamps with high waterfowl value along the Roanoke River. The extensive bottomland hardwood habitat of the Roanoke River NWR is part of what the Nature Conservancy calls "one of the last great places." Refuge lands consist of bottomland hardwood forest interspersed with cypress-tupelo sloughs that includes forested wetlands in the lower 130 miles of the Roanoke River from the fall line at Weldon, NC downstream to the Albemarle Sound near Plymouth, NC. The refuge includes part of an extensive wetland ecosystem that contains excellent examples of several southeastern plant communities and habitat types. These include levee forest, cypress-gum swamp, bottomland hardwoods, oxbows, beaver ponds and blackwater streams. These communities add to the rich mosaic of habitat types in the river's floodplain. The refuge includes valuable wetlands for fish and wildlife; especially waterfowl, neotropical migrants, and anadromous fish. The refuge hosts 214 species of birds, including 88 breeding resident species and the largest inland heron rookery in the state; white-tailed deer; one of the largest natural wild turkey populations in North Carolina; and a remnant population of black bear along with numerous small game and a diversity of fish species including anadromous fish.

Map of Roanoke River NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 36.082540, -77.059994



  • Boating

    The Refuge is most easily accessed by boat. Due to the intermittent swales and ridges found within the vast floodplain, limited access by vehicle is only available from Highway 17. See map for details.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted in the Roanoke River proper and selected tributaries within the Refuge boundaries. In addition to the migrating species which frequent the River during the spawning season (striped bass, blueback herring, alewife, hickory and American shad), the Roanoke River and its tributaries provide excellent habitat for a diverse assemblage of resident fish species such as crappie, catfish, longnose gar, carp, shinners, largemouth bass, darters, bluegill, and white perch.

  • Hiking

    Hikers, photographers and wildlife viewers are also invited to take in the sights and sounds. A self-guided nature trail is located off Highway 17 on the Charles Kuralt Trail. Here visitors can learn more about the bottomland hardwood forest communities and enjoy the natural surroundings. Everyone is reminded to be alert for venomous snakes and other hazards while enjoying the Refuge.

  • Hunting

    The Refuge hosts deer, waterfowl, small game and turkey hunts by permit only on selected Refuge lands. Additional information is available from the Refuge office.



The refuge office/visitor contact station is located at 114 W. Water St., Windsor, NC off US Hwy 17. Refuge tracts are most easily accessed by boat. Due to the intermittent swales and ridges found within the vast floodplain limited access by vehicle is only availalbe from US HWYs 13/17 ten miles south of Windsor.

Phone Numbers


(252) 794-3808