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Roanoke River in North Carolina

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

I met a friend from Virginia in Hamilton, NC. We went above Hamilton to the river on US 42/11 bridge. There was not a designated access area but there was an area that we could park and get to the river there and several people fishing so we decided that would work. We took one vehicle down to the take out point and measured the distance as the crow flies with his gps. 3.9 miles on a wide river so it should be a short trip.

As we carried our kayaks down the path to the river, evidently I nearly stepped on a snake. I went back to see if I could tell what kind it was but was unable to make that determination. It was black but because it had a light underside I did not think it was a black snake.

We put in after talking to the people fishing a bit. The water was moving at a good clip and it did not take us long to be out of site of the bridge. As we were in no hurry and just planning on enjoying the day on the river we paddled some, floated some, and took many stops to get out and play in the water and enjoy a picnic lunch.

This river was the widest that I have been on in my kayak at this point, and the water moved faster than any I had been on. This section of the river moves through a National Wildlife Refuge and I hoped to see some animals that I do not see on a regular basis but that was not the case. We did not see a lot of animals period. Just box turtles and fish. Did not see a lot of birds either.

The closer we got to the take out point which is an official access point in Hamilton, the more cypress stumps we saw and spanish moss.

I was amazed that we did not see many boats on the river. It is a deep and wide river and could handle fairly good size boats at that point. We finally did encounter a couple of families on a ski boats and later a group of kids actually pulling a skier. They had an odd set up for the ski rope but it was working for them. :-)

Only saw one tributary leading off the river and it was huge but not very long according to the map that I looked at. As usual, I was a bit sad when we spied the take out place coming up on the river. I always hate it when my day on the water is over.


Town is very small - one traffic light and I only saw one corner convinence store and it was open on Sunday.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location