your paddlesports destination

Yadkin River in North Carolina

Trip Overview

On a beautiful summer day I took a novice paddler friend to one of my favorite stretches of the Yadkin River. We started below the Kerr Scott Lake Dam in Wilkesboro NC, where the Yadkin Pee Dee River Trail begins. The Yadkin Pee Dee River Trail Association and the state of NC maintain a series of put-ins/take-outs for paddlers along the entire length of the river. The put in below the dam has a great parking area, bathrooms and a sloped, paved path to the river. Many fishermen fish at the spillway. The river is about 30 feet wide with a good current and trees lining both sides of the river through out this trip. There is an abundance of birds, turtles, beavers and fish along the way. Very few people actually paddle this section of the river. It is a little shallow and has some ripples.

This 7.1 mile trip goes through mostly an urban area, but you would not know that from the river. We let the river carry us along while we looked at blue herons, riverbank flowers and other beauties of nature and enjoyed the quiet of the river. We greeted all the fishermen along the way. The only scary part was about 2 miles into the trip because the state was building a new Highway 421 bridge and there was a lot of debris in the water. This was the only time I have seen a lot of rocky debris in the river. The river winds many times and crosses under several high water bridges. After about 3 hours we got out at the Smoot Park take out, wishing we had parked the car further down the river so our trip could last many more hours.

This trip is great for many reasons. First, it is so easy to put in and take out. Both areas have rest rooms, parking and are well marked. Secondly, the trip takes about 3 hours, which is a nice morning or afternoon trip time. Third, although much of the trip is in town, nature abounds.

I would suggest this trip to anyone who likes to paddle.




Put in at Kerr Scott Dam off Highway 421 in Wilkesboro. Smoot Park is located at Chestnut and Vance Street in North Wilkesboro.


Great put in and take out areas.


The Yadkin Pee Dee River Association has a great map of the river that can be purchased at

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip