Activities at NCTC

There are many opportunities after hours to take advantage of our campus. The Potomac River runs adjacent to the north side of the property and known for the small mouth bass, catfish, and other popular river varieties.

For more local activities, visit the Friends of NCTC web site.

Biologist-led Paddling Tour


Beginning in Spring, 2012, Wednesday evening and special weekend interpreted paddling activities are being offered by the Friends of NCTC exclusively for the benefit of NCTC students, instructors, meeting participants and event participants, and if space is available, NCTC staff and members of the Friends in good standing. To learn more, visit the Friends of NCTC web site.


Physical Training Center (PT)/Gym

The Physical Training Center is a complete health and fitness facility, with a full-size gymnasium complete with rubber floor (made from recycled tires) and a full size basketball court.


Fishing is available along the Potomac River. West Virginia Fishing Licenses, including those for one or more days at time, can be purchased over the Internet at The Front Desk has further information, and offers free use of quality fishing rods and lures. Nearby stores sell live bait.

Fishing Reel

"Fallen Comrades" Memorial Wall

The "Fallen Comrades" Memorial Wall is located between Instructional West and the Laboratory building in the open court area (also called the 'Quad'). This wall contains slate plaques with engraved names of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comrades who died in service, with brick courtyard inscriptions.

Elm Grove Overlook

Elm Grove Overlook is out the front door of the Entry/Auditorium building, up the mowed path to the right/west of the building. In addition to a broad view of the campus and eagles nest, there are several varieties of native elm trees and memorial benches. This Nature Conservancy memorial honors the late Mark Benedict (1952 - 2006) an esteemed Conservancy employee who served at NCTC.


Campfires are a great way to collaborate during an evening group event. The location is adjacent to the Instructional West patio. Call NCTC Scheduling and Events Management (SEM) at extension 304-876-7220 for more details and scheduling.

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden is located just off the eastern porch of the West Pond Office Building. Patterned after ornithologist and artist Roger Tory Peterson’s Connecticut garden outside his studio, this small butterfly garden educates visitors and serves as a focus for local school activities.

Butterfly Garden

Walking Trails

There are several walking trails of varying lengths throughout the campus. NCTC's walking trail guide, color-coded by trail and length are available at the Front Desk. Trail routes include:

  • Nest Box Path is a .40 mile loop with the trail head located just across the street from the Murie Lodge. The far portion of the loop connects with Terrapin Neck Trail. This trail offers a variety of bird nesting boxes and habitat.

  • Tulip Poplar Way is .60 miles of the most level and popular trail at NCTC. It is covered in light brown gravel for easier and cleaner walking or jogging. The trail is depicted in purple on the trail guide. The trail head is accessed on the left-rear side of East Pond located on the east side of the Physical Training building.

  • River View Farm Trail is 1 mile long and located on the western edge of the property and depicted in dark blue on the trail guide. This lasso-shaped trail starts on the gravel road to the barn. River View Farm Trail is a combination of forested areas and rolling hills.

  • River Path is .30 miles in length, depicted in red on the trail guide, and runs behind the instructional and laboratory buildings. River Path has an optional cut-off path that runs downhill to the Potomac River’s edge allowing walkers access for fishing and viewing along the river.

  • Twin Leaf Trail is .40 miles in length and depicted in yellow on the trail guide. One end starts at the Commons building side of the bridge. It runs under the bridge down to the Potomac River and behind the Commons and Physical Training buildings. Walkers can also access the end of this trail from the side of east pond, located on the east side of the Central Plant building.

  • Terrapin Neck Trail is 1.60 miles and depicted in green on the trail guide. It is the longest NCTC trail and runs south from the Tulip Poplar loop down past the Support Services building and across the street below the Guard Station. It then cuts back north near the eagle nesting area, crosses Baird Drive, runs past Elm Grove Overlook and ends near the ADA parking in front of the Entry/Auditorium building.