Kitty Hawk Kites offers a number of kayak tours. This gives 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 the Roanoke Sound from Manteo, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a vast 154,000-acre 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 were extinct outside of zoos.
The History of Buffalo City
There was once a small city here, Buffalo City, a logging town from the 1870s to the 1920s. Then when the logging gave out, the residents turned to moonshining during Prohibition. Now 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 Beauty of Alligator River
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 gauge 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.
Originally published on June 12, 2015. Update on August 24, 2020.