What makes Rocky Mount a white water destination (when there’s water) is the presence of Rocky Mount Mills, the second oldest cotton mill in the state, dating back to 1818. The whitewater play area is below the dam, a stretch that runs for 1,000 linear feet. Depending upon flows, the water can generate rapids of Class III — or higher.

There’s some portaging involved and the stretch can be somewhat complicated. Do not attempt to paddle without going over the comprehensive description of this stretch in Paul Ferguson’s “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 Greenville

Photo: Postcard perfect paddling on the Tar River in Rocky Mount.

Rating: Class I-II, III
Length: 7.3 miles
Drive: 1 hour
Put-in: Sunset Park in Rocky Mount
Latitude: 35.5719
Longitude: 77.4893
Take-out: NC 97 access
Latitude: 35.5864
Longitude: 77.4315
Time to complete: 3 hours
Gauge: USGS Tar River below reservoir near Rocky Mount
Minimum flow: 90 cfs
City: Rocky Mount
State: NC