Haw River, Section 10

Look downstream as you pass over the US 64 bridge, even in the driest of times, and you’ll have no trouble seeing why this is the place the Triangle’s experienced paddlers like to play after a big rain. It’s littered with rock and has the highest gradient (degree of drop) of any section of the Haw. It’s one of the shortest runs in Paul Ferguson’s “Paddling Eastern North Carolina,” yet it receives one of the biggest write-ups because of all the options. Lunchstop Rapid, Ocean Boulevard, Gabriel’s Bend, Moose Jaw Falls, The Maze are just some of the rapids where experienced paddlers spend hours at play.

Note the emphasis on “experienced” paddlers. You need 400 cfs to run this stretch, says Ferguson, which, as you’ll notice if you check out Section 8 just upriver, is twice what’s needed to run that stretch. Less experienced paddlers get into trouble here after a big rain and are frequently the targets of mid-river rescues. If you lack big water experience, do not attempt Section 10.

For a complete description, including hazards, consult “Paddling Eastern North Carolina” (see below).

More info, including maps and access: “Paddling Eastern North Carolina,” Paul Ferguson (2007, Pocosin Press).

Getting there from downtown Chapel Hill

Rating: Class II-III
Length: 1.3 miles
Drive: 25 minutes from downtown
Put-in: US 64 access (west side of river)
Latitude: 35.4372
Longitude: 79.0642
Take-out: Robeson Creek access off Hanks Chapel Road
Latitude: 35.4207
Longitude: 79.0536
Time to complete: 1 hour+
Gauge: USGS Haw River near Bynum
Minimum flow: 400 cfs
City: Bynum
State: NC