Explore Green Swamp Nature Preserve

Rate this Adventure North Carolina Green Swamp Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    2 Miles

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

An unreal coastal forest and swamp with longleaf pine savannas and rare carnivorous plants that make for some surreal photo opportunities. With little to no crowds this place allows for the freedom to explore and choose your own adventure.

Green Swamp Nature Preserve is a coastal forest and swamp about 45 minutes outside of Wilmington, NC in the town of Supply, NC. There are two parts to the preserve, the main body that Route 211 runs through just outside of Supply, NC and then the smaller part next to Lake Waccamaw. This post will focus on the larger part of the preserve.

Green Swamp encompasses around 17,000 acres in Brunswick County, NC and has one main hiking trail running through one portion of it. The main trailhead is located just outside of Supply, NC off of Route 211 on the right next to an old pond. At the trailhead there will be a gate for preserve personnel and the trail will be marked with red diamonds on posts. It is just under two miles out-and-back and winds through long leaf pine savannas, wildflowers and the occasional carnivorous plant. One important thing of note is that there is hunting allowed in some parts of the preserve during regulated NC hunting seasons so proper attire is recommended, and one should look up local NC hunting regulations and seasons before hitting the trail.

One the the best and most unique things about this forest is that it is occasionally subject to controlled burns to aid in plant control and ecosystem health. These controlled burns help to curtail invasive species, control plant growth, and help disperse pine seeds through the burning of pine cones. Signs will broadcast when there is controlled burning going on so there is little risk in being in the preserve when there is a burn occurring. But visiting just after the burn makes for some absolutely amazing photo opportunities with the landscape taking on this surreal Alice in Wonderland like look. Head to the preserve at dusk, dawn, or on a cloudy day for the best lighting. The best photo spots are right next to the trail head and just before along Route 211 where you will see some stark pines and beautiful savannas. There are numerous forest roads that you can pull off onto along the way so getting to any spots you want to go should be a breeze. Once all is said and done head 45 minutes up 17 north to downtown Wilmington to grab some great local food and craft beers in the "Little Charleston".

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Water (most seasons besides winter can be very humid at times)
  • Rain gear (this is coastal North Carolina so storms happen with some frequency in the spring and summer months)
  • Brightly colored clothing or reflective equipment are recommended during prime hunting seasons
  • Close-toed shoes (this is a swamp so the trail can get a little soggy in some places)
  • Bug spray (mosquitos and flys are prevalent here at most times during the year)
  • Camera equipment (a tripod is recommended if you are by yourself to keep your camera and gear high and dry)
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Robbie O'Donnell

Coastal Geologist // Photographer

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