Catawba River McDowell CR 1234 Bridge to NC 18 Bridge

Marion, North Carolina

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The Catawba heads up above Catawba Falls in the extreme western portion of McDowell County and flows into Lake James north of Marion. Below Linville Dam on Lake James, it continues until it reaches the backwaters of Lake Rhodhiss. After Lake Rhodhiss the river is impounded several times with little fast free-flowing water, for which reason there is no further description. The river is small and fast in Section A but carries industrial pollution east of Old Fort. But for this, it could be a very pretty run. However, there are several areas where gravel operations are evident. Below Lake James the river flows primarily through woodlands until it reaches Morganton. The sections of the river from Black Bear Access on Lake James down to Lookout Shoals Access—some 82 miles—have been designated a North Carolina State Water Trail. Maps are available from area chambers of commerce.

Catawba River: McDowell CR 1234 Bridge to NC 18 Bridge Professional Review and Guide

"The Catawba heads up above Catawba Falls in the extreme western portion of McDowell County and flows into Lake James north of Marion. Below Linville Dam on Lake James, it continues until it reaches the backwaters of Lake Rhodhiss. After Lake Rhodhiss the river is impounded several times with little fast free-flowing water, for which reason there is no further description.

The river is small and fast in Section A but carries industrial pollution east of Old Fort. But for this, it could be a very pretty run. However, there are several areas where gravel operations are evident. Below Lake James the river flows primarily through woodlands until it reaches Morganton. The sections of the river from Black Bear Access on Lake James down to Lookout Shoals Access—some 82 miles—have been designated a North Carolina State Water Trail. Maps are available from area chambers of commerce."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Marion
Distance: 27.5
Elevation Loss: Minimal
Duration: 3 sections that take 12 hours to paddle
Class: Class I-II
Local Maps: Marion, Glen Alpine, Morganton South, Morganton North (USGS); McDowell, Burke (County)
Driving Directions: Directions to Catawba River: McDowell CR 1234 Bridge to NC 18 Bridge

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May 2018