The Haw River and its tributaries are enjoyed by those who love to hike, paddle, swim, fish, picnic, or simply sit by the water and experience its magic.  The Haw River Assembly offers lots of ways that you can appreciate the beauty of the river and share that experience with others.

paddling image FHO heron  hawback4.jpg

speed-rock-spring-cropped Haw River near Bynum  April 09 upper bynum res. rapids
Haw River in Chatham County

See Events for a calendar of activities including paddle trips, hikes along the Haw,  river monitoring,  and much more.

How Healthy is the Haw – The Haw Riverkeepers discussion of  pollution problems and how they can impact water contact activities on the Haw River.

Volunteering to be part of our Projects is also a wonderful way to experience river magic and enjoy the fun and satisfaction of working with others to help protect and restore our river.

 Hiking and Paddling

Caution To Paddlers
Current USGS Water Level
Outfitters in the Triangle
Paddling Organizations
Trip Guides and Rentals

Hiking on the Haw

Haw River State Park – north of Greensboro, hiking trials in the headwaters of the Haw River, includes  a beautiful boardwalk through wetlands to a view of the river, and the new trails through the Iron Ore Belt Access area including, forest, fields and wetlands.  Map of Park trails.   The Summit conference facilities are located here and available for group rentals.  Friends of Haw River State Park works to promote and conserve the park and it’s activities.

Alamance County Haw River Hiking Trails  Trails include   Shallow Ford Natural Area, and Great Bend Park at Glencoe  (and Glencoe section of Haw River Trail  that continues down to Carolina Mill),  Red Slide Park in Town of Haw River, Swepsonville River ParkSaxapahaw river trails (plus new Alamance County Saxapahaw Island, accessible from the pedestrian walkway across Haw River bridge)  Many of these sites include historic textile villages and buildings from the 19th century – read more on our website history page

Lower Haw River State Natural Area   (LHRSNA) in Chatham County .Approximately 1,000 acres in size, this river corridor park  adjoins both sides of the river  from Bynum to the Hwy 64 bridge on the Haw.  Beautiful wild scenery, with rocky outcroppings and whitewater.  Our new HRA brochure  has a map to access areas and nature guide for the LHRSNA.  There is also a new Friends of State Parks chapter for the LHRSNA, dedicated to supporting the Natural Area.  See their website at

Jordan Lake State Recreational Area Trails — there are many trails to hike at  the 14,000 acre Jordan Lake (which was made by damming the Haw River). Many great opporutnities to see water birds here,   including a hike to the Bald Eagle Overlook -where visitors can get a glimpse of these beautiful raptors  in early morning or late afternoon, before sunset.

Paddling on the Haw

There’s something for everyone on this river – with flat water behind old mill dams to easy whitewater, andthe  more challenging rapids in the lower river before it meets  Jordan Lake. Please read  the “Caution to Paddlers” below as well as information on guided trips, rentals and other resources to help you plan a paddling adventure.  We recommend reading the Haw River section of Paddling Eastern North Carolina by Paul Ferguson.

Haw River Paddle Trail, Alamance County Section   There are over a dozen access points for paddlers along the Haw River here- from Brooks Bridge in Gibsonville  down to Saxapahaw . These stretches include moderate to intermediate white water as well as flat water paddling behind old mill dams.

Haw River Paddle Access in Chatham County
Beginning at the Chicken Bridge access and taking out at the last rapids before entering Jordan Lake this part of the Haw River offers the best whitewater and beautiful scenery.  For those seeking a calmer experience, the flatwater behind the Bynum dam offers a lovely paddle upriver and back, starting at the 15-501 Haw River bridge access area (make sure to put in and take out a safe distance above the dam)

paddling image FHO
The Haw River is very dangerous at high flow.  Go to the USGS gauge at Bynum on this website to check the current river level.  Open boats such as canoes should not put in when the water is above 5.7 feet on the Bynum gauge. When the river is between 5.1 and 5.7, experience in controlling a boat in whitewater is necessary.   Novices with little white water experience should stay out when the gauge is above normal flow -about 4.7 feet. ALWAYS WEAR A PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE!  Helmets are recommended in whitewater.

Current U.S. Geological Survey Water Levels

Current Haw River flow and height at Bynum

Current Haw River flow and height at Town of Haw River

All North Carolina Rivers

Return to Top

Outfitters in the Triangle

Townsend, Bertram & Company, Carr Mill Mall, Carrboro, NC, (919) 933-9712

Get: Outdoors , 9745 Fonville Rd. (facing Falls of Neuse Rd.), Wake Forest NC, 27587, 1-888-794-4459

Great Outdoors Provision Co. , Raleigh:  Cameron Village, 2017 Cameron Street, Raleigh, NC 27605, (919) 833-1741
Chapel Hill: 1800 E Franklin St Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (919) 933-6148

REI , Cary: 255 Crossroads Blvd (Crossroads Plaza), Cary, NC 27511,  (919) 233-8444
: 6911 Fayetteville Road, Suite 109, Durham, NC 27713, (919) 806-3442
Return to Top

Paddling Eastern North Carolina
by Paul Ferguson covers eight sections of the river from Altamahaw to Jordan Lake.

Paddling Organizations

The Carolina Canoe Club offers many paddling activities. Members of this paddling club (most of whom live in the Triangle) are familiar with the Haw River, and frequently run the sections from Chicken Bridge to Jordan Lake when there is enough water. Boaters plan both scheduled and unscheduled trips. The club offers spring paddling clinics, safety courses, newsletter, river clean-ups, a cruise schedule and an e-mail list.

Triad River Runners provides paddling classes, safety courses, a newsletter and river trips.  Most members live in the Triad.

Central Carolina Paddlers promotes interest and fellowship in canoeing and kayaking activities, and provides information, education and training services to increase the safety, enjoyment, and skills of those paddling. The group meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm at the Lee County Library in Sanford.

American Whitewater, a national paddling organization, maintains an online database of rivers in the United States, including three sections of the Haw:

1. Route 1545 (Chicken Bridge) to US 15-501 (Bynum)
2. US 15-501 (Bynum) to US 64
3. US 64 to Jordan Lake
Return to Top

Trip Guides and Rentals

The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co.The Haw River Canoe and Kayak Co. offers rental, guided, and instructional trips/courses for kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards on over 30 miles of the Haw River in both Alamance and Chatham county. With offices in both Saxapahaw, and Bynum, North Carolina, there is a wide range of recreational opportunity available on the Haw through the Haw River Canoe and Kayak Co. 336-260-6465
Frog Hollow Outdoors provides residents and visitors of the Triangle Region and North Carolina a resource for canoe & kayak education, the exploration of nature, relaxation, adventure, self-discovery, and a greater overall connection with the outdoors.  919-416-1200

Crosswinds Boating Center offers pontoon boat rentals, kayak rentals, and fishing boat rentals.  With our convenience store on-site, we’re your one-stop place for fun on Jordan Lake.  Our public boat ramp, ethanol-free gas, and public restrooms make our marina your home whether you have your own boat or need a boat rental. 919-387-7011

Return to Top