Shallow Ford Natural Area

All these Greensboro lakes are great, but isn’t there a nice, mellow river around here to paddle?

Of course. And with the upper Haw River, you get mellow and scenic. The 70-or-so-mile run of the paddle-worthy stretch of the Haw, from northeast of Greensboro to its dissolution into Jordan Lake, has 13 sections. Some are dammed and paddle like lakes, some, after a good rain, make for highly challenging whitewater runs. One of the more friendly “river” sections is the 5.5 miles from the Shallow Ford Natural Area to the Indian Valley Paddle Access. As the good folks at Haw River Canoe & Kayak put it, “This is a beautiful gentle paddle with a few small rapids to Indian Valley.”

And really, from the newbie paddler with minimal experience to the more accomplished boater looking for an easy, enjoyable day on the water, isn’t that just what you look for? Placid flatwater stretches of easy paddling, a riffle or two amid the boulders that frequent the Haw to elevate your heartbeat just a bit. Add to that the lush, junglelike forest that butts up to the river and you’re looking at a great day on the water.

A couple things: One, because this is the upper Haw and has yet to gain breadth or volume, this section needs a recent rain to be run. If the USGS gage at Haw River doesn’t read 2 feet or more, you could be dragging your bottom. Two, the takeout is at a golf course, Indian Valley.

Allow for a three-hour paddle when reserving a tee time.

More info


Getting there from downtown Greensboro

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 35 minutes from downtown Greensboro
Time to complete: 3 hours
Address: 1955 Gerringer Mill Road
City: Burlington
State: N.C.
Zip: 27217
Latitude: 36.0934
Longitude: 79.2929