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Yadkin River in North Carolina

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

We camped friday night at the Yadkin Shores Access and campground on the Yadkin river. The next morning we shuttled the cars and left one near our takeout point at a local restauraunt. Our trip down the Yadkin River trail began at the Roy Burgess/Rockford Access. This location is a low brige that is also a mandatory portage. It looks like they are almost through with a much higher bridge which will eliminate any portaging at this location. The river had come up some since the drought and that was a good thing. We could see plenty of rocks and riffle everywhere. I was a little concerned since we had long touring kayaks and one novice paddler. I was also using my newly aquired Betsie Bay "greenlander" traditional paddle. We put in anyway and proceeded downstream. For the first hour or so we navigated as best we could around rocks and shallows. The bottoms of the boats did not fare well on this trip. All of us spent our fair share of time stuck on a rock. The scenery was nice and the water was cool but not so cold that you could not get in for a dip. The water was a bit muddy from the silty bottom and the recent rain. We encountered several sections of nice flatwater where it paid off to have our touring boats. But there were just as many places where I wish I was in a canoe or whitewater boat. The river is not rough at all but it was difficult to get the boat around some obstacles and through the swift current in places. There are not a lot of places to stop along this section, the banks are steep and muddy. We paddled about 12 miles to just past the Shoals Access. The shoals in this area in the Yadkin islands area of Pilot Mountain State park were the most difficult and frustrating. I dinged my paddle a few times and the water is exceptionally shallow. I would not recommend attempting this in a touring kayak! The map we had showed a road crossing the river at this point. It turns out the map was wrong and for a while we were confused on whether or not we missed our spot. Eventually we found our camp. A large island downstream from the Access point and inside the park. It is a nice place to camp, there are steps going down to the water(very steep), firepits and picnic tables. It should be a quiet place to camp since you must either come by boat or wade the river to get to the island. There is no water or bathrooms on the island so plan accordingly. The next day(sun.) we paddled the short ~.5.5miles to Donnaha Access. most of this trip as uneventful. There was one spot where we had to get out and drag our boats. There are a few small rapids on this section but not as much as the previous leg. Near the end of the trip there is a very shallow spot that forces the water over to the bank and is moving quite fast. One of the people in our group capsized there so be careful. Overall is was a great trip but I would consider carefully if I were to try it again in this kind of boat. Canoes would be better I think.


Yadkin Shores Access- Campground and Access. Porta John. No running water. Steps to river. On hwy 601 North of Booneville.

Yadkin Islands- Nice primitive island camping. Firepits and boat access. no bathrooms or water.


Wilderness Systems Epic, Wilderness Systems Alto, Wilderness Systems Pamlico Excell


East Bend is on Hwy. 67 East of I-77 about 18 miles.

Get off at the Jonesville Exit on I-77, or come up Hwy. 67 from Winston Salem.

Roy Burgess/Rockford Access- Turn on Pendry Rd on 67 in between Boonville and East Bend. Take a left at the dead end and you will see the bridge.

Donnaha Access- on hwy 67 East of East Bend. It is at the bridge over the yadkin river. (note: I was advised not to leave a car or camp at Donnaha for safety reasons.)


Yadkin/Pee-Dee River Trail Map.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location