What to do in Pettigrew State Park

Pettigrew State Park is a fisherman's paradise. The 16,600-acre natural lake, second largest in the state, offers largemouth bass, yellow perch, pickerel, catfish and sunfish. Formed on a vast peninsula lying between the Albemarle Sound and the Pamlico River, it is thought to be 38,000 years old.

Scientists have puzzled about its origin and have proposed many hypotheses, including underground springs, wind and wave action, meteor showers, peat burn and glacial activity. As yet, no single explanation has gained universal acceptance.

The lake is an average depth of 4.5 feet and a maximum depth of 9 feet and 5 miles across. Because it is one of North Carolina's cleanest lakes, being rain fed, it harbors many species of animals and has proven to have a remarkable capacity to preserve wood.

The park is also home to several species of trees which reach widths of over 5 feet. Several state and national champion trees are located here. Various bay trees, sweetgums, poplars, blackgums and pawpaws are among the largest of their species. The trunks of several bald cypress trees measure up to 10 feet in diameter and poplar trunks exceed 6 feet. Five species have trunks greater than 5 feet in diameter and vines as large as a human thigh wind their way through tall trees soaring to heights of 140 feet. Each November the park sponsors a Big Tree Walk where the visitor is offered the opportunity of learning more about the prize-winning species.

Park Hours: November-February 8 am-6 pm; March and October 8 am - 7 pm; April, May, September 8 am - 8 pm; June-August 8 am - 9 pm. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Recreation
This is one of North Carolina's most marvelous recreation lakes. Fishermen fish year-round while summer months draw sailboats, canoes and water-skiers.

There are 4 trails offering panoramic and historic views. Artifacts found in the area reveal the presence of Indians as early as 8,000 BC. Archaeologists have discovered a collection of dugout canoes found sunken in the lake. Some of them are nearly 4,400 years old. It is believed that the Algonquian Indians, who were seasonal campers in the area, sank their canoes in the lake's shallow water to store and protect them until the next hunting season.

The park is also home to Somerset Place, homesite and burial ground for Confederate General Pettigrew, his father and grandfather.

Picnicking is available at Cypress Point and the main park section. Shelters are available in both locations.

There is primitive youth group camping and family camping.

An Indian Heritage Festival is held every September in addition to the November Big Tree Walk.

Natural and Cultural History programs are also available.
Environmental Educational Learning Experience (EELE)–Secrets of Lake Phelps. Grades: 4,5,6,7 and 8. Introduces students to archaeological research and the significance of Lake Phelps. Major concepts covered include: archaeology, hypothesis testing, Native Americans, preservation of cultural resources, research methods and stewardship.

The picnic area is easily accessible by wheelchair, and there is designated parking at one entrance area. The overlooks are wide enough for wheelchair use and many persons with disabilities have used the hiking trails. Restrooms are also accessible. A designated parking space is located next to the Information Center and office. All facilities including a fishing pier are accessible in the west section by Lake Phelps (Cypress Point).

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is located adjacent to Lake Phelps' south side.

Location
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.

Climate
Winter daytime temperatures average above 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures range above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging 48 to 52 inches (122 to 132 centimeters).

Address
2252 Lake Shore Road
Creswell, NC 27928

Phone: 252-797-4475

Fax: 252-797-7405

Email: pettigrew_sp@coastalnet.com
  • Pettigrew State Park Travel Q&A

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