Catawba River, NC

Does anyone in the foothills of NC or western NC know if the north fork of the Catawba is doable ?

We paddled up about a mile from Lake James until we came to a class II rapid the other day and it sure is a beautiful river.

I looked on the Delorme atlas and it appears that it runs for quite a way starting someplace near the Linville River.

thanks in advance,


Suggest you go to river tools on

If it has been run, someone will probably have posted something about it.

Even my old ('81) copy of Carolina
Whitewater lists a North Fork run, from hwy 221 near Marion to Burnetts Landing on the lake. 5.6 miles, class 2-3, ledges, small boulder gardens. Sounds like an ABS run.

That is exactly what I…
was hoping to hear.

Wewill have to try it in the spring wih our little rec yaks.




Here’s one link…

There’s another on this same site that lists a longer trip of around 13 miles, starting a bit further upstream, Pleasant Gardens I think, wich is off of hwy 70. The last 5.6 miles are up to class III.

The North Fork Catawba comes into Lake James right at the landing for the campground that we’re in…should make for a great paddle! We’ll be trying it in the spring in our canoe, to see if we could make it in our 15’ and 14’ kayaks…but it’s doubtfull. Did you see the boulders above the Lake James Rd bridge?

Jo and I are planning to go tomorrow to lake James…I hope to see how far we can make it up the main branch of the Catawba…on the other side of Burnette’s Landing. This will be Jo’s “first” kayak experience, so I don’t know how far we’ll make it.

Sounds like you might have found a fun run…wish I had a short boat…! If only I had room for a Tarpon under my deck too… :slight_smile: I guess I could always paddle my Kaos SOT…although it would be pretty slow…hehe…

Regards…and Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


You can get farther than the boulders
They are old bridge pilings, and we were able to get by them and then through the first rapid which is another couple of hundred yards.

Then when we hit the next one a class III, (small 2 foot water fall) we turned back.

Kind of different sitting in a 18 foot kevlar QCC facing upstream in a hydraulic not doing any paddling!

Let us know how far you get on the main river.

That will be our next place to explore

We will be out there Tuesday, but it will be strictly all work and no play, (interval training)



What’s with the new handle ??
Cheers,and happy New year to you too,


Went today…
It was VERY windy…not the ideal day to put the wife in a kayak for the first time…but we did it anyway. She had a difficult time at first…fighting the wind, and getting used to the stability issue. She did get comfortable in her necky…then I put her in my Perception and she felt even more comfortable.

We stayed just inside the mouth of the Catawba, to a few hundred yards upstream. The first bend in the river offered the most calm, so we just paddled back and forth for a couple of hours. Boring…but at least she got some time in the yak.

Lol…whoops! Looks like Marisa was on the computer…probably checking out the store for Christmas. “LaJean” is her P-net alias…so she must have logged in and it kept her logged in when I signed on… :slight_smile:



I agree

– Last Updated: Dec-27-05 7:01 PM EST –

Yesterday would have turned off a newer paddler.
We had to go down off the mountain (a couple inches of snow here) to a Christmas gathering with my gazillion kids and grandkids, but are heading out on Lake James today
It looks like a perfect day.