Alligator River Kayaking-History, Beauty

Abandoned railroad bridge over Mill Tail Creek, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Abandoned railroad bridge over Mill Tail Creek, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Kitty Hawk Kites offers a number of kayak tours, offering paddlers a chance to explore parts of the Outer Banks and surrounding areas in a different way, in ways that very few people have a chance to see. The Alligator River Kayak Tour is a great example of that.

Across Roanoke Sound from Manteo, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, is a vast—154,000 acres—wilderness of swamp, pocosin and forest that nurtures an environment of extraordinary diversity. The woods are home to black bears, deer, fox and many others. . . and yes there are alligators in the reserve. This is also the release site for the reintroduction of the red wolf, a subspecies of wolves that was extinct outside of zoos.

There was once a small city here—Buffalo City—a logging town from the 1870s to the 1920s and when the logging gave out, the residents turned to moonshining during Prohibition. There is nothing left of the town; the surrounding swamp, pocosin and forest have reclaimed the land and Buffalo City is now the stuff of legend.

There is still a road that recalls that history. Flat, fairly straight and dusty, Buffalo City Road dead ends at a beautiful kayak put in on Mill Tail Creek.

The tour is a beautiful paddle through one of the largest primitive areas on the East Coast. The paddling is actually quite easy—the water is flat with little or no current and the environment is well protected from the wind. Yet with massive trees arching overhead and the remnants of the narrow gage railroad bed next to the creek, this is a kayak paddle into nature and history that is perfect for anyone.

An important hint—insect repellant is a must for this trip.

The Alligator River Kayak Tour is just one of many kayak tours Kitty Hawk Kites offers. For more information call 1-877-359-8447 or click to go online.