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Lake Drummond, the Dismal Swamp Canal, and Around

Lake Drummond in the low light With Cypress Trees

Lake Drummond is considered to be Virginia's most beautiful lake. The bald cypress trees rising from the water are incredible, especially in the low light. We have had absolute solitude here.

The lake does act as an amplifier for air traffic noise - it has been pretty ridiculous all three times I have been on the lake whether it is early morning or after sunset. But it is still a surreal place to paddle.

The Lake Drummond Campsite has water, bathrooms, boat ramp, dock, and even a little train to take your boat from canal to lake level (broken when we visited). The manicured lawns here are a stark contrast to the Great Dismal Swamp, but are just fine for a tent. There is no charge for using the site. We did let the authorities know that our car would be overnight at the Ballahack Boat Ramp.

Lake Drummond Campsite

There are several access points to Lake Drummond, mainly through the Dismal Swamp Canal which is a weird man-made body of water.

The canal is basically a big ditch with perfectly parallel sides that are laser straight. It is part of the intercoastal waterway, and you will occasionally see larger boats on the water so keep your wits about you. The Great Dismal Swamp Canal has a brown, tannin-rich water characteristic of the area. This water is very reflective and paddling on it is a unique experience, but you have to be mindful that there may be several submerged obstacles which ill be invisible in the murky water especially when you are close to shore.

The history of this area is disturbing and fascinating - drop into the visitor center and learn something.

Great Dismal Swamp Welcome Center Boat Ramp

This is a convenient point to access the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, part of the intercoastal waterway. The area has bathroom, fresh water and emergency services. The photos here were taken during the 'Paddle for the Border' paddle event put on by the local government entities.

The North Trailhead has excellent bathrooms and is a close to Chesapeake, VA.

North Trail head Boat Ramp - Dismal Swamp Canal - Virginia

The boat ramp is really nice, but the parking lot is gravel. There is a picnic table and usually a port-a-john. This is the closest boat ramp to Lake Drummond, but it is also good for for just paddling in the canal. Watch out for the larger boats that you will occasionally see on the canal and have fun!

This post was submitted by area visitor Kent Fothergill. Visit his website in the link below for more information on Lake Drummond and Dismal Swamp Canal

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