Paddling the Haw River

a view of the Haw River in the fall

The Haw River Paddle Trail allows novice and expert paddlers alike to experience the Haw as it was meant to be seen. For locals, seeing their home from the river provides a new perspective and a rediscovery of the natural beauty that surrounds them. For visitors, paddling the Haw is an exciting way to experience the natural and historical features of the Haw River corridor.

There are currently 14 paddle accesses offering access to the entire length of the Haw River through Alamance County, from the Brooks Bridge Paddle Access in Guilford County to the new Union Bridge Paddle Access on the Alamance-Orange county line. The installation of Union Bridge Paddle Access in early 2016 completed the Paddle Trail in Alamance County and represents the culmination of over ten years of dedicated effort to provide public access to the Haw River. Alamance Parks maintains and operates 7 of the 14 paddle accesses of the Haw River Trail, including Great Bend Park at Glencoe, Shallow Ford Natural Area, Altamahaw Paddle Access, Glencoe Paddle Access, Saxapahaw Lake Paddle Access, Saxapahaw Mill Race Paddle Access, and Union Bridge Paddle Access. For details about each paddle access please visit the Haw River Trail website at (link will open a new window).

Part of the beauty of the Haw River is that it offers multiple types of paddling in close proximity. The shallow rocky sections create excellent rapids for paddling when the water is at normal level. However, these same features make some sections of the Haw difficult to paddle during low water periods. Due to the historic dams left from the river’s manufacturing past, several sections of the river are backed up to create a lake-like “flat water” paddling experience. These areas are excellent places for beginners to try their first river paddle and are a good choice for dry summer days when the water is low.

For complete information about the Haw River Paddle Trail, including section maps and descriptions, river gauge information, and paddling events, please visit the Haw River Trail website. For questions or comments please email or contact the Haw River Trail Coordinator at (336) 229-2380.