Best Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing in North Carolina

This list represents the most popular whitewater kayaking & canoeing in North Carolina. Use this list to plan your next North Carolina whitewater kayaking & canoeing trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

  • #1 Dan River

    1 Reviews

    Madison, NC

    The Dan River begins near the Blue Ridge Parkway a few miles above Meadows of Dan, Virginia. It is impounded by Talbott Reservoir and its water used by the Pinnacles Hydroelectric Plant in Kibler ...
    •  105.9 miles
    •  Guide

    The Dan River begins near the Blue Ridge Parkway a few miles above Meadows of Dan, Virginia. It is impounded by Talbott Reservoir ...

  • #2 Mayo River

    1 Reviews

    Mayodan, NC

    The North Mayo River watershed begins below Fairy Stone State Park, northwest of Martinsville, Virginia. The South Mayo River watershed begins northwest of Stuart, Virginia near the Dan River. ...
    •  18.1 miles
    •  Guide

    The North Mayo River watershed begins below Fairy Stone State Park, northwest of Martinsville, Virginia. The South Mayo River ...

  • #3 Ararat River

    2 Reviews

    Ararat, NC

    The Ararat River begins just above the North Carolina border in Patrick County, Virginia. It flows through Mount Airy and comes within 3 miles of the majestic pinnacle of Pilot Mountain on its ...
    •  24.6 miles
    •  Guide

    The Ararat River begins just above the North Carolina border in Patrick County, Virginia. It flows through Mount Airy and ...

  • #4 Haw River

    1 Reviews

    Graham, NC

    The Haw River is popular for paddling because of its variety of scenery, whitewater, and proximity to the Triangle and Triad population centers. Many rivers are dangerous during high water levels, ...
    •  46.5 miles
    •  Guide

    The Haw River is popular for paddling because of its variety of scenery, whitewater, and proximity to the Triangle and Triad ...

  • #5 Nantahala River: CR 1310 (Gravel Road Turnout 4.2 Miles Above Forest Service Put-In) to Wesser

    2 Reviews

    Murphy, NC

    The Nantahala heads up just inside the edge of Nantahala National Forest before entering Nantahala Lake, reportedly the highest lake in North Carolina. From there some water is piped down the ...
    •  6.5 hours
    •  12.2 miles
    •  Guide

    The Nantahala heads up just inside the edge of Nantahala National Forest before entering Nantahala Lake, reportedly the highest ...

  • #6 Rocky River Between Locust and Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge

    0 Reviews

    Aquadale, NC

    The Rocky River begins north of Charlotte near Mooresville. It flows southeast before swinging toward the east to join the Pee Dee River below Lake Tillery. It drains a watershed of about 1,500 ...
    •  50.3 miles
    •  Guide

    The Rocky River begins north of Charlotte near Mooresville. It flows southeast before swinging toward the east to join the ...

  • #7 South Toe River: Carolina Hemlocks Campground or NC 80 Bridge to Yancey CR 1311 on the Toe

    0 Reviews

    Newdale, NC

    The South Toe has its headwaters on Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies (elevation 6,684 feet), which is south from the put-in. It is a delightful stream winding through the ...
    •  3 sections that take 10.5 hours to paddle
    •  22.5 miles
    •  Guide

    The South Toe has its headwaters on Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies (elevation 6,684 feet), which is ...

  • #8 Uwharrie River

    1 Reviews

    High Point, NC

    The Uwharrie River begins in northwest Randolph County below High Point. It flows south and passes 10 miles west of Asheboro. Several miles southwest of Asheboro, the river enters Uwharrie National ...
    •  29.1 miles
    •  Guide

    The Uwharrie River begins in northwest Randolph County below High Point. It flows south and passes 10 miles west of Asheboro. ...

  • #9 Big Laurel Creek: US 70/25 Bridge to US 70/25 Bridge over the French Broad in Hot Springs

    1 Reviews

    Hot Springs, NC

    This is a fast wild-water stream cutting a gorge 1,200 feet deep between Mill Ridge on the north and Walnut Knob on the south. This is truly a spectacular scenic run. Unfortunately, as with many ...
    •  3 hours
    •  4 miles
    •  Guide

    This is a fast wild-water stream cutting a gorge 1,200 feet deep between Mill Ridge on the north and Walnut Knob on the south. ...

  • #10 Rocky River Between Siler City and Moncure

    1 Reviews

    Siler City, NC

    The Rocky River begins near Liberty and is impounded for use as a Siler City water supply. It flows southeast, and after crossing US 64 it does not pass near any towns before joining the Deep ...
    •  31 miles
    •  Guide

    The Rocky River begins near Liberty and is impounded for use as a Siler City water supply. It flows southeast, and after ...

  • #11 Upper Little River

    1 Reviews

    Erwin, NC

    The Upper Little River watershed begins in Lee County on the southeast side of Sanford. It flows southeast through agricultural land. Before joining the Cape Fear River near Erwin, it has rock ...
    •  6.9 miles
    •  Guide

    The Upper Little River watershed begins in Lee County on the southeast side of Sanford. It flows southeast through agricultural ...

  • #12 Raven Fork River: Confluence with the Straight Fork to The Bridge at the Job Corps Center

    1 Reviews

    Sylva, NC

    The Raven Fork comes off Breakneck Ridge, often at just that speed. It flows through the Cherokee Indian Reservation to a point just above the town of Cherokee, where it joins the Oconaluftee ...
    •  4 hours
    •  8 miles
    •  Guide

    The Raven Fork comes off Breakneck Ridge, often at just that speed. It flows through the Cherokee Indian Reservation to a ...

  • #13 Uwharrie River: NC 49 Bridge to Morrow Mountain State Park, Directly Across Lake Tillery from the Mouth of the Uwharrie

    0 Reviews

    Ophir, NC

    The Uwharrie heads up west of Asheboro and flows generally south through the Uwharrie Mountains and across portions of the Uwharrie National Forest before it flows into Lake Tillery. The river ...
    •  4 sections that take 14.1 hours to paddle
    •  36.4 miles
    •  Guide

    The Uwharrie heads up west of Asheboro and flows generally south through the Uwharrie Mountains and across portions of the ...

  • #14 Boone Fork: Julian Price Memorial Park to CR 1557 Bridge

    0 Reviews

    Boone, NC

    The Boone Fork rises as a tiny tributary falling off the eastern flank of Grandfather Mountain and then flows a few miles before being backed up by Price Lake. Price Lake is small and man-made ...
    •  2.5 Hours
    •  4.5 miles
    •  Guide

    The Boone Fork rises as a tiny tributary falling off the eastern flank of Grandfather Mountain and then flows a few miles ...

  • #15 Elk Creek

    0 Reviews

    Darby, NC

    Elk Creek begins at an elevation of 3,200 feet in Watauga County, east of Boone, on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On the opposite side of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the watershed ...
    •  8.5 miles
    •  Guide

    Elk Creek begins at an elevation of 3,200 feet in Watauga County, east of Boone, on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge ...

  • #16 Fisher River

    0 Reviews

    Stony Knoll, NC

    The Fisher River watershed begins at an elevation above 2,500 feet on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near where the Blue Ridge Parkway enters Virginia. It flows southeast, ...
    •  20.7 miles
    •  Guide

    The Fisher River watershed begins at an elevation above 2,500 feet on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near ...

  • #17 Green River: Lake Summit Dam to NC 1004 on the Broad River

    0 Reviews

    Saluda, NC

    The Green River has its origins southwest of Tuxedo where it runs quietly for several miles before its inundation at Lake Summit. The Saluda Mountains are the southern border of this upper section. ...
    •  7 sections that take 19.5 hours to paddle
    •  41.4 miles
    •  Guide

    The Green River has its origins southwest of Tuxedo where it runs quietly for several miles before its inundation at Lake ...

  • #18 Buck Creek: Lake Tahoma Dam to US 70 Bridge

    0 Reviews

    Marion, NC

    Buck Creek has its headwaters in the Mount Mitchell Wildlife Management Area below the Blue Ridge Parkway. It flows along NC 80 into Lake Tahoma. Above the lake it is a small, fast-dropping stream, ...
    •  1.5 hours
    •  3.2 miles
    •  Guide

    Buck Creek has its headwaters in the Mount Mitchell Wildlife Management Area below the Blue Ridge Parkway. It flows along ...

  • #19 Little River (near Durham)

    0 Reviews

    Bahama, NC

    Little River is one of the most common river names, and two are in the Neuse Basin. The largest Little River in the upper Neuse Basin joins the Neuse near Goldsboro. The Little River described ...
    •  5 miles
    •  Guide

    Little River is one of the most common river names, and two are in the Neuse Basin. The largest Little River in the upper ...

  • #20 New Hope Creek

    0 Reviews

    Chapel Hill, NC

    New Hope Creek begins about 5 miles south of Hillsborough. It flows generally eastward toward Durham and winds through Duke Forest, a research forest owned by Duke University. The terrain is ...
    •  4.9 miles
    •  Guide

    New Hope Creek begins about 5 miles south of Hillsborough. It flows generally eastward toward Durham and winds through Duke ...