Mikes Paddling Ratings



Howdy everyone! I thought it would be interesting and informative to readers... if I rated my paddling experience on some of the streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes that I blog about here at Durhamblogger! So... I'll keep it "short and sweet"... and hit the highlights of each paddling area. Will add new listings as appropriate. Hope these ratings prove to be useful to folks who may be considering paddling these local waters. Also, if you would like more details or have me add additional sections to my ratings... you can always send me an email. My contact information is listed here.

Paddling Rating Scale:  1x kayak = Poor to 5x kayaks = Fantastic

Beaver Dam Lake

Latitude: 35.81487 Longitude: -78.53277
Driving Directions: Take NC Highway 50 north from Raleigh. Entrance to Beaver Dam park is on the right, about 5 miles north of NC 98. From Durham, take NC 98 east to NC 50, then go north. 
Put in / Take out: Two boat ramps. Shoreline sandy with some rocks. 10 yards from parking lot.
Pros: Gasoline motors prohibited. Bathrooms / Changing rooms. Abundant parking. Beach and swimming area. Picnic shelters. Hiking and bike trails.
Cons: Can get crowded on weekends. $6.00 park entrance fee.
Summary: Large lake with diverse paddling areas including a swamp and marsh area. Bald eagles and beavers have been spotted here.

Eno River

Red Mill Road boat ramp: Latitude: 36.09307 Longitude: -78.82432
Driving Directions: NC Boat Ramps
Put in / Take out: One boat ramp. Shoreline rocky. 20 yards from parking lot.
Pros: No boat ramp fee. Adequate parking. Flat water with little current.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed. Need to be watchful of fast moving boats in narrow waterways. No bathrooms.
Summary: Flat and for the most part, sheltered waterway with opportunities to spot both deer grazing on the shoreline and beavers swimming in mid stream. Paddle west to avoid majority of fishermen.

Flat Creek

Latitude: 36.3954 Longitude: -78.4163
Driving Directions: Williamsboro Wayside
Put in / Take out: 30 yards portage distance from parking lot. Adequate parking. Shoreline is rocky with some tree debris.
Pros: Parking lot (gravel).
Cons: Parking lot and Put in / Take out area will flood in moderate to heavy rainfall.
Summary: Flat Creek is a part of Kerr Lake and has occasional development on shoreline. Some elaborate docks and boat houses evident. Paddle west for more sheltered flat water and quiet coves to explore.


Hickory Hill 

Latitude: 36.05800 Longitude: -78.77311
Driving Directions: NC Boat Ramps
Put in / Take out: Four boat ramps. Shoreline rocky. Steep elevation from parking lot to shoreline. 40 yards from parking lot.
Pros: No boat ramp fee. Abundant parking. Beautiful and elevated views. Not crowded. Lots of opportunities to spot wading birds and egrets.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed. No bathrooms. Shallow water can extend 20 - 40 yards from shoreline, so need to be careful of water depth under your keel.
Summary: Area is off the beaten path and is never crowded. Plenty of "water room" that can be shared by both motorized and non-motorized water craft.

Highway 50 Boat Ramp

Latitude: 36.0296 Longitude: -78.6964
Driving Directions:  The Highway 50 Boat Launch is located on NC 50, two miles north of NC 98.
Put in / Take out: Six boat ramps. Shoreline rocky with some sandy areas. 60 yards from parking lot.
Pros: Bathrooms. Abundant parking. No boat ramp fee.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed. Boat ramp area gets crowded, especially on weekends. Need to be watchful of fast moving boats and jet-skis.
Summary: Highway 50 Boat Ramp is part of Falls Lake and is a major recreational destination for folks - especially in the summer months. Best to plan early morning paddle adventures and than stay close to the shoreline to avoid the crowds. Wild life viewing opportunities will be scarce due to boat motor noise and traffic.

Hyco River

Latitude: 36.6671 Longitude: -78.7552
Driving Directions:  To reach the put in, travel eight miles east of South Boston, VA. on U.S. Highway 58 (Bill Tucker Highway) to Hyco Landing Public Recreational Area. The access point is on the south side of the highway.
Put in / Take out: One boat ramp. Shoreline muddy with direct access to parking area. 25 yards from parking lot.
Pros: Adequate parking. Gravel parking area. No boat ramp fee.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed.No bathrooms.
Summary: Quiet and somewhat secluded, the Hyco River is a tributary of the Dan River. Herons and other water fowl sightings are possible. Fishing and other recreational boat encounters are less frequent on this river.

Lake Holt

Latitude: 36.1668 Longitude: -78.7731
Driving Directions: Lake Holt
Put in / Take out: One boat ramp. Shoreline sandy with grass. 50 yards from parking lot.
Pros: Bathrooms. Concession stand. Adequate parking (gravel). Picnic tables. Benches.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed. $4.00 boat ramp fee.
Summary: Small lake with a number of quiet coves to explore. Beautiful tree leaf colors during October.

Lake Michie

Latitude: 36.1501 Longitude: -78.8297
Driving Directions: Lake Michie Dam
Put in / Take out: Two boat ramps. Shoreline rocky. 20 yards from parking lot.
Pros: Bathrooms. Concession stand. Adequate parking (gravel). Picnic tables.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed. Hosts many fishing tournaments. Need to be watchful of fast moving boats. $4.00 boat ramp fee.
Summary: Large and open lake with a lot of paddling area. Paddle west to avoid majority of fishermen.

Sandling Beach

Latitude: 36.0117 Longitude: -78.6888
Driving Directions: Sandling Beach
Put in / Take out: Portage distance from parking lots varies in the 7 picnic shelter areas. Shoreline sandy, but portage may be over rocky terrain and moderate elevations.
Pros: Bathrooms / Changing rooms. Abundant parking. Beach and swimming area. Picnic shelters.
Cons: Gasoline motors allowed. $6.00 park entrance fee. Need to be watchful of fast moving boats and jet-skis.
Summary: Sandling Beach is part of Falls Lake and is a major recreational destination for folks - especially in the summer months. Best to plan early morning paddle adventures and than stay close to the shoreline to avoid the crowds.

Paddling Rating Scale:  1x kayak = Poor to 5x kayaks = Fantastic