In the northwestern corner of North Carolina, the north and south forks of the New River flow north from headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winding over 100 miles through forested mountains and pastoral valleys, the forks join a few miles south of the North Carolina-Virginia line. The New River continues its unusual northward flow through southwestern Virginia and West Virginia.
The New River is believed to be one of the oldest river in North America. It existed before the mountains through which it now passes and its waters have followed essentially the same course for millions of years. Many stretches of the New River flow through remote countryside and are not easily accessibly by road or trail.
Canoeing, Kayaking, and Tubing
The New River’s shallow, gentle waters and mild rapids are perfect for beginners, families, and groups, but even expert paddlers return again for the river’s beauty and tranquility.
Along the course, small tributary streams merge with the river and minor rapids stir the water’s surface, adding excitement as canoes or kayaks are maneuvered downstream, or as tubes float downstream. The best months for higher water levels are May and June. August and September are low-flow periods.
Canoeists, kayakers, or tubers may leave their vehicles and launch canoes at several access points along the river. For overnight parking, all vehicles must be registered.
The south and north forks of the New River provide some of the best smallmouth and redeye bass fishing in the region. Trout fishing is excellent in the smaller, faster tributaries, most of which are designated general trout waters and are stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout. Anglers 16 years of age and older are required to possess a valid North Carolina fishing license.
Wagoner Access has a 10-table covered shelter with grills and a fireplace, which may be reserved. A grove of apple trees provides a canopy for 13 tables and two grills. Restrooms and drinking water are located nearby.
U.S. 221 Access
Located a river mile 15, the U.S. 221 Access has a small picnic area downstream from the campground. Bathrooms are located nearby. An eight-table shelter with a grill is also available and may be reserved. The community building located at the 221 Access features a large meeting, kitchen facilities, and restrooms.
Kings Creek Access
This area is closed during winter months, but in warmer months it offers two tables and two grills with restrooms nearby.