Our small group of die-hard paddlers took off out of Fayetteville about 0630 Saturday morning on our way up to Saxapahaw, NC, northwest of Pittsboro, after a perfect breakfast in Spring Lake at the Biscuit Kitchen. We put in around 0930 at the bridge off of 87N in town. It's not a bad place to put in, but not great either. You'll have to stop in the middle of the two bridges (not much room), and walk under (200 ft.) It is a good 8hr trip in canoes, and there are several challenging class 1 rapids and two fair class 2 rapids, depending on the level of the river.
Oh, I forgot to mention, make sure you go to the left at the last split before the damn, there is no way off the river on the right, yet.
We went 21 miles down to the dam at the 15/501 bridge just north of Pittsboro. There is a pretty good place to ditch out and a safe place to leave your truck in the construction area. There are not a lot of places to go off the river and stretch out though, so make good use of your flat rock area's in the river.
There is usually some great wildlife on this trip. But remember, it is an all day thing, so bring lots of water and be prepared.
Not too many things around unless you stop in Pittsboro, Chapel Hill, or anywhere else you may be coming from. Pittsboro being the closest to the river.
Every thing can center on Pittsboro. If you print out a picture from Mapquest, you should have no problems driving or getting some good info on the river.