Talk about a paddle trail personality change! This trip starts on a small quarry lake and spends its first couple miles navigating a series of the same. The lakes are connected; Paul Ferguson of “Paddling Eastern North Carolina” recommends bearing to the right shoreline to find the connections.

Once in the creek itself you will experience an extremely intimate paddle, both banks nearly within reach. Terrain ranges from swamp to banks as high as 15 feet. A good canopy makes this a nice summer paddle.

Gradually, the White Oak begins to widen — fed by numerous feeder creeks including Black Swamp, Starkys and Holston — which you’ll begin to notice about 6 miles in. By the Haywood Landing take-out the White Oak has begun to lose its cozy feel; in another 10 miles it will widen to more than a half mile.

More info and maps

Getting there: From NC 17 headed south from Maysville, go left in break in guardrail before bridge crossing White Oak River. Follow the road for nearly a mile to the boat ramp/put-in. $2 fee. Map here.

Access and shuttle


Difficulty: Easy
Length: 10 miles
Time to complete: 3-5 hours
Location: Edge of Croatan National Forest
City: Maysville
State: N.C.
Zip: 28555
Put-in latitude: 34 53.216
Put-in longitude: -77 13.523