The Haw River and its tributaries are enjoyed by those who love to hike, paddle, swim, fish, picnic and 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. Please read and share our fishing advisory below – we address toxic industrial contaminants which can cause illness if too many fish are consumed.

Below you will also find a huge list of activities including paddle trips, hikes along the Haw,  river monitoring and much more. 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.

Quick Links:

Hiking Trails in the Haw River Watershed

Guilford County and Greensboro:

Haw River State Park – north of Greensboro, hiking trails 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.

Trails  in Greensboro: Information on all  hiking and mountain bike trails  See this great  Map

Trails in Guilford County:  County Park information  

Alamance County

 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 Park,  and Saxapahaw Island  Many of these sites include historic textile villages and buildings from the 19th century. There are also trails in  Burlington’s Town and Country Nature Park  and in the 500 acre Cedarock Park.

NEW!  Alamance opens Trails at Cane Creek Mountain Natural Area The Pine Hill Trailhead features 3.5 miles of trails and provides access to the county’s largest natural heritage area. Hikers will enjoy rolling Piedmont hills, abundant creeks and streams, and some of the best views in the County.The development of the park will continue over the next several years. Upon completion, the Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area will total over 1,000 acres and include an observation tower, camping facilities, wildlife observation areas, and more.
Planning to visit? Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area is located at 5075 Bass Mountain Rd, Snow Camp, NC 27349.  Visit Alamance Parks website for more information and to view a map of the park.

Orange County

Chapel Hill Trails  Including:

  • Morgan Creek Trailhead
  • Carolina North Forest
  • Battle Branch Trail
  • Little Creek Trail System
  • Umstead Park
  • UNC Botanical Garden
  • Bolin Creek Trails

Carrboro Trails   Adams Tract

Johnson Mill Nature Preserve  Owned by Triangle Land Conservancy, north of Chapel Hill

Hollow Rock Nature Park Orange County, off Erwin Rd.

Durham County

New Hope Bottomlands Trailhead 2 mile loop trail with views of creek

American Tobacco Trail: The American Tobacco Trail is one of the premier recreational features of the Triangle area. Excellent for joggers, hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, the trail offers 22.6 miles wonderful views of forest, wetlands and streams and has a relatively flat and uninterrupted surface where a railroad track once was. The trail goes from Durham to Chatham County.

Eagle Spur Trail      a 2.3 mile trail from Durham to Jordan Lake

Chatham County

Lower Haw River State Natural Area   (LHRSNA) in Chatham County. Over 1,000 acres in size, this river corridor park adjoins both sides of the Haw River  from Bynum to the Hwy 64 bridge on the Haw.  Beautiful wild scenery, with rocky outcroppings and whitewater.  Our HRA brochure  has a map to access areas and nature guide for the LHRSNA.  There is a 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 opportunities 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. Another great place to see the bald eagles (as well as osprey and herons) is at the Jordan Lake dam, located off the Pittsboro -Moncure Rd. The view from the Army Corps Visitors Center is stunning, or you can walk across the dam for a closer view of bird activity.

The American Tobacco Trail is one of the premier recreational features of the Triangle area. Excellent for joggers, hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, the trail offers 22.6 miles wonderful views and a relatively flat and uninterrupted surface – from Durham to Chatham counties.

Western Wake County (in Cary and Apex)

The American Tobacco Trail is one of the premier recreational features of the Triangle area. Excellent for joggers, hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, the trail offers 22.6 miles wonderful views and a relatively flat and uninterrupted surface – through Durham, Wake and  Chatham counties.

Fishing advisory for the Haw River : Read further here from the NCDHHS (NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Paddling on the Haw

There’s something for everyone on this river – with flat water behind old mill dams to easy whitewater, and the  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

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Outfitters in the Triangle and Triad

Get Outdoors, 1515 W Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27403   (336) 294-3918

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    


Durham: 6911 Fayetteville Road, Suite 109, Durham, NC 27713, (919) 806-3442   


Greensboro: 3334 W Friendly Ave, Ste 140, Greensboro, NC 27410     (336) 323-3117

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Paddler’s Guidebook
Paddling Eastern North Carolina by Paul Ferguson (Third Edition, 2018) This excellent guidebook includes the Haw River and covers 12 sections from Scalesville Road (Rockingham Co. 1002 bridge) to Jordan Lake. Scalesville Road bridge is about 17 miles downstream of the source of the Haw River near Kernersville.

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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
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Trip Guides and Rentals

The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. offers rentals, 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

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