Kayaking the South Yadkin

The South Yadkin River, only ten minutes from Salisbury, has several interesting stretches. Recently, The LandTrust for Central North Carolina hosted a kayak trip there.

Our trip began at the launch site on U.S. Highway 601 South and ended at a public access area at the end of Hannah Ferry Road. Both of these locations have ramps and parking areas. This float is approximately 4 miles and takes about 1.5 hours.

Much of this pretty stretch of river is forested conservation land, which gives the feeling of being in a remote area. A few small rocky bluffs line this portion of the river, and on our float we frequently spotted kingfishers, great blue heron and wood ducks.

Map courtesy Crystal Cockman.

The South Yadkin River joins the Yadkin River at an area commonly referred to as “the Point,” which has also been the focus of a lot of conservation effort. The land trust owns about 1,400 acres here, called the “Two Rivers Preserve.” Most recently, the land trust acquired the actual point of confluence of the Yadkin and South Yadkin, which was preserved thanks to a combination of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, private donations and funding from the City of Salisbury (the city’s water intake is located here).

Earlier this summer I also kayaked along another stretch of the South Yadkin River, from Mocksville Road in Iredell County to Foster Road in Rowan County. We did this float back in early June. Although it is a much smaller river at that point, with all the rain we had this spring and summer it was really flowing fast. We had some difficulty getting out as a result. Neither of these access points are formal (you basically just pull off the road at the bridges), so getting in and out proved to be much more of a challenge.

If you attempt this western stretch, scout out the launch site and where you want to finish in advance – and check your water levels. Be particularly cautious when unloading boats on Mocksville Road, which is a busy highway. I always wear a life jacket any time I’m in a boat, as I’ve seen too many folks flip while on the water. This is a really lovely stretch and has some of probably the easternmost rhododendron found in our state, which just happened to be in bloom while we were out there.

It is nice to be able to get one more river float in before colder weather comes our way. Sadly, it may be the end for this year of kayak trips on low water streams since getting out to drag boats is not an option. I may go out again on a lake or river that is high enough from rain or backwater before spring comes. We are lucky in our area to have a variety of great places to paddle and enjoy. Just remember to be safe out on the water and have fun.