Not surprisingly, the Yadkin River has attracted humans since the first ones entered the region 12,000 years ago. Initially, the river's waters meant survival. Today, recreation. The 125-mile-long Yadkin River Trail includes 15 access points along the way to help make exploring the river easier. It begins small out of W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkes County and gains steam as it meanders past Pilot Mountain, Boone's Cave Park and Tanglewood Park before giving it up to High Rock Lake. Much of the river is beginner-friendly, mellow paddling though increasingly on bigger and bigger water. What helps beginners - and more experienced paddlers new to the river - decide where to start is the quality of the access. More experienced boaters have no qualms about timberbashing their ride down a steep, muddy bank. Newbies prefer the convenience and safety of a nice ramp, maybe an amenity or two. Such as bathrooms. That's what you'll find at Forsythe County's Old 421 Park Access 20 minutes west of downtown Winston-Salem. You'll also find easy access to an easy stretch of the river, a 5.4-mile run where a steady current takes you through typical Piedmont countryside. The take-out at Huntsville is more of a challenge; it's a more traditional dirt-and-rock takeout with limited parking. A great introduction to the Yadkin River. More info here. Maps here. Getting there from downtown Winston-Salem, here.