Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

We spent 5 nights (April 7th through April 11th), at Chincoteague, Virginia. We visited Assateague Island several times during our stay.

On the morning of Day 5 of our vacation (Wednesday, April 10th) we rode our bicycles from our vacation home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA. It is approximately 2 miles from our Airbnb to the entrance booths. 

We followed the bicycle trail to Woodland Trail.  We rode the Woodland Trail, where we saw several wild horses in the marshland. 

Woodland Trail – Wild Ponies

Leaving Woodland Trail we took the Black Duck Trail to the Wildlife Loop.  We rode the Wildlife Loop. We saw egrets, birds and wild ponies. 

Wildlife Loop – Snowy Egret
Wildlife Loop – Red-Winged Blackbird

For the first time since 2011, when we first visited the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, we saw wild horses in the marsh, while on the Wildlife Loop. 

Wildlife Loop – Wild Ponies
Wildlife Loop – Wild Ponies

 

From the Wildlife Loop we returned to our airbnb.

Crossing bridge from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island (Beach Access Road)

We rode 11.69 bicycle miles in the morning.

 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge: Wildlife Loop

We spent 5 nights (April 7th through April 11th), at Chincoteague, Virginia. We visited Assateague Island several times during our stay.

On Day 3 (April 8th) of our vacation, we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife refuge is located on Assateague Island, VA.  We carried our bicycles via bike carrier, even though the wildlife refuge is only a couple miles our Airbnb rental.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Trail Map

We rode our bicycles on the Wildlife Loop (3.25 miles), which is open to walkers and bikers all day. Vehicles are permitted to drive the loop from 3:00 PM until dusk. We rode several trails branching off the Wildlife Loop and ended up with 6.86 bicycle miles.  We also got in a few walks, mostly to the ocean.

Black Duck Trail branches off the Wildlife Loop.

The Black Duck Trail can be used to connect the Wildlife Loop to the Woodland Trail.  On this day we rode to the Beach Access Road and back (2 miles round trip) on the Black Duck Trail.  The sign indicated that we might see Canada goose, tundra swans, black ducks and other waterfowl; deer; snakes; and songbirds.  We did see a few birds, including a Flicker, but I was not able to grab my camera quick enough to capture any photographs.  The only photograph I took, while on Black Duck Trail, was of the lighthouse.

Assateaugue Lighthouse, as seen along the Black Duck Trail
Swan Cove Trail branches off the Wildlife Loop.

Swan Cove Trail (0.5 mile one way) is a popular route to the beach.

We saw this pool of water, as we were bicycling to the beach on Swan Cove Trail.
Swan Cove Trail leads to the beach.
Continuing on the Wildlife Loop, a short distance from the Swan Cove Trail is a boardwalk trail.
The boardwalk trail leads to an overlook of Snow Goose Pool.
This is a Service Road that branches off from the Wildlife Loop.

The Service Road is a gravel foot path, 7.5 miles one-way, with limited bicycle access.  Bicyclists can access the trail for 1.25 miles (one-way) to the D-Dike beach access area.  Cars are not permitted on the Service Road, with the exception of Oversand-Vehicle (OSV) Permit holders.

Public Nudity must be a problem. Otherwise, I wouldn’t think a sign would be necessary.
Bob, riding to the beach on the service road
Beach access from the service road

This was our fourth year on the Wildlife Loop, but it was the first time that we saw it via bicycle.  With the exception of the boardwalk trail, we had not been on any of the trails that branch off from Wildlife Loop.

 

 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge: Woodland Trail and Assateaugue Island National Seashore

We spent 5 nights (April 7th through April 11th), at Chincoteague, Virginia. We visited Assateague Island several times during our stay.

Located on the East Coast along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is the largest, natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region that remains predominantly unaffected by human development. The Virginia portion of the island is designated as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of 448 acres in the refuge’s Toms Cove area maintained by the National Park Service.  These 448 acres are part of the Assateague Island National Seashore.  The Assateague State Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore are located on Assateague Island, MD.  This year marks our fifth visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, VA.

Admission to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is $20.00, which is good for multiple days.  We didn’t have to pay the admission fee, as I purchased a National Park Service senior pass in February 2018, when I turned 62 years old.

We rode our bicycles on the Woodland Trail.   The Woodland Trail, which takes you through a pine forest, is 1.6 miles round trip, paved and wheelchair accessible.  The trail is open to both walkers and cyclists.  A couple years ago many of the pine trees were damaged by a southern pine beetle infestation. 

We went for a bicycle ride on the Woodland Trail. This boardwalk leads to an observation platform from which you may see wild ponies.
We looked for wild ponies from this observation platform. We didn’t see any ponies.

Leaving the Woodland Trail, we rode our bicycles on the Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore and back to the Woodland Trail parking lot.

We saw two horses and riders at the beach.

Egrets are popular at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

We watched one egret, as it was hunting, standing immobile or wading through wetlands, to when it suddenly took flight.

Great Egret Hunting
Great Egret, Lift Off
Great Egret in Flight
Great Egret in Flight

We watched another egret standing in a tree.

Great Egret in a Tree

We rode our bicycles a total of 4.16 miles on Woodland Trail and to and from the beach.