Haw River: Swepsonville River Park to Saxapahaw

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Written by

Joe Miller

Destination Distance From Downtown

44.3 miles


2 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

2-3 hours


This dammed 5.8-mile stretch of the Haw River is good, reliable paddling year round, but it may be best in summer. Put in at Swepsonville River Park, warm up with a 0.7-mile paddle downstream to the Puryear Dam, then portage - a portage made fun, funky and easy with a set of slides (for your boat, not you). After putting in downstream of the dam, take a beed on the large rocks, river right. Cool waters congregate here (speculation is that a spring filters in) making a perfect spot for a dip. Sun dry on the rocks, proceed downstream to Saxapahaw and the takeout, river left, just above the dam. Or, you can avoid the need to set a shuttle by putting in at Saxapahaw and paddling upstream against a barely perceptible current, then drifting back. About as fun as the paddle itself is the apres paddle in Saxapahaw. Efforts to develop an abandoned mill have resulted in a coffee shop, Cup 22, where after a winter paddle you can warm up with a variety of caffeinated libations; the Haw River Ballroom, home to live entertainment (and when no one is on stage, plunk down $2 and play pingpong on one of the tables set up between gigs); enjoy a cold one at The Eddy; or, have a hummus wrap or pan-seared giant sea scallops at the Saxapahaw General Store (where you can also load up on beefy jerkey and Twinkees before the trip). No boat, no problem. Haw River Canoe amp; Kayak just downstream from the takeout rents canoes and kayaks. More info here. Maps

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Haw River: Swepsonville River Park to Saxapahaw

2472 Boywood Road
Saxapahaw, NC, 27359
36.005401, -79.377289

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