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Canoeing & Kayaking


Lake Phelps, Pettigrew State Park near Edenton, North Carolina, USA

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Copyright 2001 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Kathy Wisniewski
  • Date Submitted: 9/2001
  • Location: Pettigrew State Park, North Carolina, USA
  • Class: 1, with wind driven waves on the lake
  • Distance Paddled: about 20 miles round trip (Lake Phelps is about 5 miles across)
  • Water Level: tidal
  • Water: fresh, clear, rainwater fed
  • Wildlife: eagles, turtles, bass, perch, seagulls, many other birds, bald cypress trees
  • Special Regulations:

Entry and Exit

  • Directions: Seven miles south of Creswell off US 64. Take Main Street to Thirty Foot Canal Road which will take you directly into the park. Also accessible heading east from Plymouth, taking US 64 to Newland Road. Travel Newland Road approximately 6 miles to Keep Road. Turn right on Keep traveling a mile or so to the Cypress Point Access
  • Fee: none
  • Description: paved boat ramp and/or dock
  • Parking: adjacent gravel parking
  • Facilities: restrooms, camping, phone
  • Handicap Access:

What We Saw

An easy drive from Edenton North Carolina (also a nice paddle) is Pettigrew State Park, with Lake Phelps as your kayaking destination (there is a nice campground if you prefer to camp).

Lake Phelps is the most amazing place I've seen in North Carolina. It is a huge (5 miles across) fresh water lake that averages 4 feet deep. The water is crystal clear and most of the bottom is white sand. The shoreline is lined with bald cypress trees (see photo at left), which have a tremendous number of birds, turtles and fish living around them. I've never seen water this clear in North Carolina. It's a real please to hop out of the boat at any time and just walk around in the water.

You have to be a little careful on the lake, because it can look like glass one minute (see photo at right), then have some pretty big waves the next, all depending on the current wind conditions. The lake is so big, you need to be careful not to be caught really far from shore if a storm hits. It's actually more interesting along the shoreline (see photo below), so I don't recommend crossing the lake directly unless you're just trying to get some exercise.
The other amazing thing about this lake is that hardly anyone is there. We saw only a couple of boats during our 8 1/2 hour paddle around the lake. I understand that the area is popular with hunters at certain times of year, so you might want to find out when that's going on. The winter is supposed to be a great time for bird watching.