The put-in for this stretch is at NC 55, just northeast of Kinston. This is a remote stretch of the widening (between 100 and 200 feet) Neuse, one where a decent current and the absence of distractions go a long way toward making this a welcome escape.
You’ll paddle past cypress trees lining the banks, a particularly healthy stand of which is just under 9 miles in, where Contentnea Creek enters from river left. If you’re worried that 14.3 miles isn’t long enough, feel free to paddle up Contentnea; the Neuse will be waiting upon your return. If you near the end and, again, feel 14.3 miles has gone too quickly there’s a sandy bank river left at the 12.5-mile mark where you can pull over and delay your ending. Folks have been known to camp here as well. Various other diversions, in the form of creeks entering from right and left, beckon to keep you on the water.
Another plus for this stretch: It’s always runnable. Nothing like a reliable river.
More info: Paul Ferguson’s “Paddling Eastern North Carolina,” Pocosin Press.
Maps: Paul Ferguson’s “Paddling Eastern North Carolina,” Pocosin Press.
Getting there from downtown Greenville
Distance: 40 minutes from downtown Greenville
Time to complete: 6-8 hours
Address: NC 55 at Neuse River
Latitude: 35 1778