summer paddling

5 Weekend Adventures (4 with paddles)

We’re about hiking. Mostly.

This summer, though, in deference to the heat, we’re mixing in some paddling trips. Beginner-oriented, on lakes and otherwise still water, one in an area where we hike (the Three-Rivers area of Falls Lake, which abuts Day-Hike Section S of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail), one where we don’t (Saxapahaw Lake). 

The paddle trips make for a nice diversion when the weather gets hot, and it colors our 5 picks for adventure fun on this, the first weekend of summer.

Canoe Hike, Sunday, 6 p.m., Carvers Creek State Park, Spring Lake. This half-mile paddle is through a Cypress swamp, with the benefit of having a ranger guide two-fold. One, you’ll learn about swamp life, and two, if you have no previous paddling experience, you’ll get basic instruction at the start. Canoe, paddle, PFD are provided; you’ll need to bring water, sunscreen, bug spray and appropriate water clothes and shoes. Free, but preregistration is required because of limited space (10); call 910.436.4681. More info here.

Farrington Point Self-Guided Paddle, Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Farrington Point at Jordan Lake, Apex. Maybe you’ve paddled a time or two and feel comfortable on the water. Now, if only you had a boat! Saturday, Frog Hollow Outdoors brings its Traveling Outpost to Farrington Point on Jordan Lake, where from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. you can rent a kayak for $40 and paddle a secluded finger of the popular lake. For more info and to register, go here.

Saxapahaw Mill Race to Union Bridge, noon, Saturday, Haw River Canoe and Kayak, Saxapahaw. When most of us think about whitewater kayaking, we think of being tucked and crammed into the snug cockpit of a teeny, tippy boat. Not the case with this trip from Saxapahaw downstream 5.5 miles on a stretch of the Haw with Class I and II rapids. Not the case because this trip is on sit-on-top kayaks: you flip here and you simply stand up (the water is rarely much more than a couple feet deep), get back on the boat and proceed. Some paddling experience is recommended. $50, includes boat, paddle, pfd and shuttle back to car. More info here.   

Preserve-Park Paddle Trip, Saturday and Sunday (call for times), Dan River, Hammer-Stern Wilderness Preserve/Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. Up for something a little more adventurous, like paddling a mountain river — but don’t have time to drive to the mountains? You’ll get a similar experience on this trip in the northern Piedmont, on the Dan River, as it makes its way 6.5 miles through the Sauratown Mountains. $50, including boat, paddle, pfd and shuttle. Learn more here, at the Dan River Company.

Tree ID Hike, 11 a.m., Saturday, Eno River State Park, Durham. OK, we need at least one hike, and this being the Year of the Tree in North Carolina State Parks, we’ll make it a Tree ID hike at Eno River State Park, specifically, on the Eno Trace Trail at the Fews Ford Access. Learn more and sign up here.

Some good options for the first weekend of summer. 

GetOut! And enjoy!

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Explore with us!

Like the idea of a hiking/paddling combo come summer? Check out our GetHiking! Summer 2022 Blue Trails hiking package, which includes eight hikes (on Sundays and Tuesday evenings) and two paddle trips. Learn more here.

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