There are several runs of rapids on this stretch of the Cape Fear, the first coming amid several islands less than a mile after the put-in. This run of Class Is ends in a Class II known as Buckhorn Falls.

Another Class II rapid comes five miles later, at Lanier Falls, usually best run in the middle of the river. In another mile you’ll pass Raven Rock State Park, with its namesake 150-foot bluff towering river right and a Class I+ rapid at the old fish traps.

Look for more Class I action around the US 421/401 bridge at Lillington.

A long stretch with a good mix of flatwater interspersed with rapids.

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 Wilmington

Photo: Courtesy Dunn Chamber of Commerce
Rating: Class I-II
Length: 16.7 miles
Drive: 2 hours 30 minutes from downtown
Put-in: Buckhorn Road (SR 1921)
Latitude: 35.3248
Longitude: 78.5932
Take-out: Wildlife Road (SR 2069)
Latitude: 35.2381
Longitude: 78.4632
Time to complete: 9 hours
Gauge: USGS Cape Fear at Lillington
Minimum flow: 675 cfs
City: Lillington
State: NC