Roanoke River (NC) Trip Plan Advice

-- Last Updated: Jan-06-14 1:55 PM EST --

Familiar with the Roanoke River? I'm trying to plan a 3-day trip there and want to know if it is possible to paddle a figure-8 loop that would involve paddling upriver. If the current is 1 mph, I'd try it. If the current is 2 mph, no way. I realize current it going to depend on waterflow, and we don't know what that will be, but on average...

Potential route: From Jamesville, downriver to Broad Creek, up Broad Creek back to the Roanoke, and here's the crux of the matter, 6-miles up river to camp, then eventually into Conine Creek to loop back to Jamesville. If feasible, this will eliminate the need for a shuttle and get us back to the launch without any doubling back over stretches we paddled going out.

In the absence of specific info on the current, probably better just to plan a down-river trip. But, I thought it worth asking.

You can look at a river map here:

Advice appreciated.


Looks interesting
I’d be amazed if the current amounts to much of anything when so many miles of swamp follow the course of the river, and the camping platforms suggest to me that there’s plenty of room for the river flow to spread out away from the channel. I’ve always been fascinated by these southern swamps. Take lots of pictures!

My experience is with…
other eastern NC rivers, e.g. Neuse and Cape Fear. unless the water is extremely high I wouldn’t expect any problems with your plan.

Too much current on 1/18

– Last Updated: Jan-28-14 7:52 AM EST –

The USGS gauge at Williamston was running around 11 feet, which is high, but not unusual. Average is 4 to 8 feet, depending on the season. Flood is 12 feet. With the gauge at 11, I GPS'd our floating speed above 2 and up to 2.6 mph. One can paddle against that current, but going upriver for six miles would have taken many hours, and it would have been very tiring. We shuttled and did a downriver trip.

TR at


Great report. And "it depends"
Chip. I love the Roanoke and have camped in late spring on several platforms, including Beaver Lodge. Your report did it justice.

Last November, my neighbor paddled down the Cashie (from Windsor, camped on Lost Boat platform, then paddled down to the Throroughfare, entered the Roanoke and paddled UPstream all the way to Gardners Creek off Devils Gut. I couldn’t believe it, but he reported that the current was negligible. So I think that going upstream on the Roanoke depends on time of year and, of course, whether there’s been recent rain.

You need to try the Cashie. So beautiful. Black water. You can do a 2-nighter: Windsor to Lost Boat and then on to Otter One on Broad Creek shortly before the Cashie flows into the Albemarle Sound. Or you can do it like we did – Windsor down and back over 5 nights last May.

thanks for sharing your link/trip
it looked like a fun adventure and an interesting area to explore