Haw River, Section 9

One of the more fun sections of the Haw: this stretch epitomizes the islands and braids that characterize the Haw as its banks widen and it works its way to Jordan Lake. Whether you catch any Class II action depends on how good a guide you have to help you negotiate this part of the Haw puzzle: We can think of no better guide than Paul Ferguson, whose “Paddling Eastern North Carolina” includes a fairly detailed description of how to navigate this stretch.

While searching for whitewater, though, take time to curl up in an eddy and take in the scenery. The lush riparian forest overflows the mid-river islands and clings to any available space along the banks. Rocks cascade into the Haw from river left in spots, and you’ll likely paddle past and over small dams from the river’s heyday as a haven for textile mills. Look closely for signs of the river’s human past. Look, too, for the fat watersnakes that sun streamside in warmer weather (and worry not; they’re of the non-venomous variety).

A nice mix of adrenaline and eye candy.

For a complete description of this stretch, 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 Raleigh

Rating: Class I-II
Length: 3.6 miles
Drive: 40 minutes from downtown
Put-in: Bynum Road/SR 1713
Latitude: 35.4615
Longitude: 79.0858
Take-out: Bynum Beach Road (off Bynum Road)
Latitude: 35.4377
Longitude: 79.0638
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
Gauge: USGS Haw River near Bynum
Minimum flow: 340 cfs
City: Bynum
State: NC