New River State Park
Put In - We used Zaloo's Canoes, Kayaks, and Tubes for shuttling our car to the take out on NC/VA 93 Bridge. This takes around 40 minutes to complete and the charge is 60 dollars for a van load. Since we only had two, it was 30$ a person and well worth it.
Distance/Time - 35 miles/3 days; Day 1: 15 miles, 6hrs 30mins (river level 2ft.); Day 2: 16 miles 6hrs (river level 1.95ft.); Day 3: 4 miles 1hrs 30mins (river level 1.95ft.) Click here for the river' current flow rate.
Difficulty - Very difficult based on a flat water kayak and the number of rapids (only one Class II). Low water is also a factor.
Trip Directions - This was a three day paddle to travel the complete section(35 miles) of the New River State Park. My neighbor had just bought a kayak (Dagger Catalyst 13) and had been wanting to do this trip for the past few years. He planned the trip and I got to go along for the ride! We actually were both new to using a flat water kayak on a Class I river. It ended up being an extensive test of reading the river so as not to shred our kayak bottoms. His new kayak is now used for sure. The New River is the second oldest river in the world and the bottom is lined with shelf lines of rocks. These shelves are what you have to maneuver thru and around. Also, the river is low in many areas and this needs to be judge also as you head down stream. The trip was broken into 3 days using two NC state park campsites. The fee was 9 dollars a night and firewood was available for 5 dollars a bundle. The park is very well maintained and managed.
Scenery - See each trip section below.
Hazards - The river is basically safe in terms of drowning as all rapids are Class I except for one Class II. The problem is you can capsize in Class I if you are not careful and having wet camping gear would be a pain. One low level bridge is on the route, for us we could paddle under it with out heads low. A canoe probably would require a portage.
Starting at Zaloo's you can stock up on a snack or two which we did since it was around lunch time when you drive up from Raleigh(3hrs 30mins). We wanted to get started and moving so we ate while paddling. This first section of the river immediately began with low water conditions that we would encounter through out the trip. And you realize that you will be navigating through Class I white water every 1/4 to 1/2 mile. There are also nice sections of calm water that you can leisurely paddle. The weather was very nice, a little windy but it ended up at our back most of the time. We stopped at the Wagoner Access campsite and checked it out. Not much going on and for the overall trip we only saw two kayakers on the river. The park headquarters is in the Wagoner Access but the ranger was gone from the office. Back on the river we plugged away for the 221 Access campground as it was getting late in the day and we needed to make the campground by night fall. It ended up we arrived around 7PM. One low level bridge is on this section and we were able to slide right under it with our heads low to the kayak. The campgrounds are very nice and maintained. Kudos to the NC Park System. Water and showers are available. And you can purchase firewood for 5 dollars a bundle.
Woke up to the sounds of a turkey calling, but Jere thought it was a hunter practicing. Hmmmm. Had some hot oatmeal and headed out. The campground was getting quite crowded as there is an access road and parking lot 100 yards down and many people use wheel barrels to bring in their stuff. We headed out around 9AM and had the whole day to do the 16 miles to the Alleghany Access campground. 30 minutes down river you hit the New River General Store. Since Jere hated the dried food, it was a perfect place to stock up on his favorites, Mac and Cheese and Vienna Sausages! Also had sandwiches made for lunch. We stopped at the King's Creek day use area for lunch. This is a very nice canoe access with water and restrooms. This section of the river has some long stretches of calm water and low water too. The area is being developed so you pass very nice homes on the river and then sections that are not developed at all. But in all you are very close to roads and civilization. At the Class II section we decided to tie down everything and pack away cameras and such in the dry hatches. I even turned off the GPS and packed it. It ended up being not to bad, you just have to be careful as it is the longest rapid in the river. Soon after this Class II we came upon the Alleghany Access campground. Since this campground can only be reached by kayak or canoe, we were the only ones here. We took campsite 2. Again kudos to the NC Park System as the site is well maintained and the rangers came by in the evening to collect fees and such. We also took a nice hike on the Farm Loop Trail and a trail that ran along the ridge looking down on the river. Jere was happy for dinner tonight. Had another nice campfire and headed to bed a little earlier, we were pooped.
Woke up to the sounds of rain! It started around 2AM and rained steady all night. Around 6AM we decided to get up and get going as conditions did not look like they would improve. Skipped breakfast and I gave Jere an apple cinnamon power bar. His comment was lets find a Cracker Barrel and we did on the way home. But off we went in the rain and about 30 minutes in the sky cleared and everything dried up. We hit the take out about 30 minutes early, very nice section of the river and basically calm. A good way to end the trip and pack up for the trip home.