Smith River in North Carolina

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

The Smith River is a beautiful destination on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, just outside Eden, NC. Located just below Philpot Lake, this section of the Smith benefits from the regular water release of the dam on Philpot Lake. This releases crystal clear 40 degree water directly from Philpot into the Smith. The dam releases at 5:00 a.m. each day so it's important to get on the river before noon so you can benefit from the water flow created by the release.

We paddled an easy and beautiful 12 mile section of the Smith from Ridgeway, VA to Eden, NC. We started in Ridgeway at a DOT put-in off Morgans Ford Road.

The river is 30-40 feet wide and easily maintains depth for unobstructed paddling. There are 10-15 small class I rapids throughout the trip. The trip was frequently flat water moving at a nice pace; our GPS recorded us moving at an average of 4 mph when just floating.

The scenery is beautiful around every bend and there is no development along the river bank. While the trip is long, it is a great experience for the novice paddler or anyone looking for a pretty trip. The fall colors will make this a spectacularly beautiful trip.


We used shuttle services from 3 River Outfitters located at 413 B Church St, Eden NC 336 627-6215. They were incredibly helpful in recommending an appropriate trip and guidance for best day and time of day. This input is important for a good experience on the Smith because of the release schedule at Philpot Dam. The shuttle cost $25 for two boats and allowed us to use their private take-out with good security.


Route 220 North from Greensboro to hwy 135 to Eden.
Washington St. to Boone Rd. to 3 Rivers Outfitters at the Spray Circle.


"Paddling Eastern North Carolina"

Rockingham County, NC website:

Trip Details

  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location