On the Catawba River below the Lake Wylie dam, water levels (or “lower,” perhaps, since the river is dam controlled and thus doesn’t get that low) the rocks that dot the river make for some fun Class I paddling. But when the water is up, it’s time to grab the playboat for some Class III fun! Don’t be intimidated, though: of this 31-mile run of the Catawba, the more challenging portion is its 18-mile midsection; if you live in Charlotte and have a hankerin’ for a more mellow paddle, the six miles from the Fort Mill Access just below the dam down to River Park should do the trick. Nice whitewater close to town.

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