Neuse River Paddle End to End
Raleigh to Oriental, NC
Distance 222 miles
Made the paddle to raise awareness of the Neuse River Cleanup at the end of the month. Stopped to talk with folks along the way about the health of the Neuse River.
Launched Monday, April 14 morning at 9:30am from Falls Dam Boat Access 12098 Falls of the Neuse Road (N 36 534.8 W 78 4927.5). Checked release rate from Falls Lake Dam, which resulted in a 2.2 mph current. Were able to paddle an average of 5mph.
At 14.2 miles came to the only dam on the trip. A dangerous dam, portage river right 200 yards and a good lunch stop. Few houses on the water due to flood plain along river. Raleigh area had a lot of floating litter, which lessen the farther down river you travel.
First night camped at Highway 42 Bridge Launch after a 31.8 mile day. Second day landed at Smithfield Town Commons and lunched at Gandolfo's New York Deli two blocks from the river.
From Smithfield down river is completely wild. Many oxbows and occasionally the river cut through an oxbow. Strange to suddenly be paddling through a forest.
Camped second night at a great campsite with platform at Howell Woods Nature area (919-938-0115) 33.2 mile day.
Next day 30 miles to Waynesboro State Park (no facilities).
Next morning landed at US 117 Wildlife Ramp and walked over bridge for breakfast. 26.5 miles to Seven Springs Boat Access. Very friendly little town with two restaurants.
Next day 23.4 miles to Kinston's Neuseway Nature Center & Camp Ground with showers. Great local restaurant The Boiler Road and a mico-brewery Mother Earth.
Heavy rains that night resulting in one of our group being sucked under a floating when launching the next morning. Since we were facing heavy rains and 30 mph winds we took 3 days off and started from Kinston again. Averaged 7+ mph for 36.5 miles to Cow Pen Landing Road Launch.
The next part of the river changes to open water miles wide. Passed 12 occupied Osprey nests in the 3 miles before New Bern. Lunched in Bridgeton and paddled with a 15mph tail wind. Camped that night with the wonderful members of Blackbeard Sailing Club after only 21 miles.
Last day paddled into 15 mph winds and waves for a short 19.8 mile day into Oriental. Great experience and plan to do next year at the same time.
Kestrel 120, Perception Essence 17
Only for some campsites
Falls Dam Boat Access
12098 Falls of the Neuse Road
(N 36 5'34.8" W 78 49'27.5")
Neuse River Paddle Map - Neuse RiverKeeper Foundation