Haw - 1. Route 1545 (Chicken Bridge) to US Route 15-501 (Bynum)

Haw, North Carolina, US


1. Route 1545 (Chicken Bridge) to US Route 15-501 (Bynum) (Upper Haw)

Usual Difficulty I-II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 7.5 Miles

Bynum Dam

Bynum Dam

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02096960 200 - 10000 cfs I-II(III) 01h07m 3650 cfs (running)

River Description


The put-in for this section is on Chicken Bridge Road on river left. The put-in is steep at the river.


The take-out is right above the Bynum dam on river left. Parking is available off of US 15-501. This is also the put-in for the Middle Haw.


The Upper Haw is a nice section of river through rural Chatham County. This section is ideal for beginners, novices, and intermediate paddlers. Most rapids are boat scoutable. From the put-in there are small rapids providing opportunities to test skills. This section of river has many unnamed rapids. The larger rapids include Sawtooth Ledge, Little Nantahala and Final Solution.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2008-04-25 14:17:50


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.7Sawtooth LedgeII
2.7Lunchstop (Upper Haw)IPlayspot
3.6Little NantahalaIIPlayspot
4.7Final SolutionII
6.7Bynum DamTakeout Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Sawtooth Ledge (Class II, Mile 1.7)
The first major rapid on this section of the Haw. There are rapids on either side of an island. On the left, there is a rocky Class I. On the right, there is a slighty more technical, but fun rapid named, Sawtooth Ledge (II). The rocks at the end of this rapid are sometimes hard to avoid.

Lunchstop (Upper Haw) (Class I, Mile 2.7)
The next rapid really does not have name. It is an ok playspot. It is a nice spot to step out of your boat and stretch.

Little Nantahala (Class II, Mile 3.6)
This rapid is recognized by old bridge supports. Run this rapid towards the center, in the main flow. Fun rapid to surf.

Final Solution (Class II, Mile 4.7)
This is the last rapid before the Bynum Dam slack water. According to guidebooks and CCC mailing lists, canoes love to broach on this rapid.

Bynum Dam
Take-out for the Upper Haw. Portage around the dam on river left. Running this dam, like all dams, is not recommended.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 30 2018 (42 days ago)
SilverSupSurfer (160249)
Upper HAW14,000 cfs 27OCT18 Hala Atcha 9'6 A lot of water moving very fast. Cruising at 5.5 mph
without paddling. Some features were bigger, some were washed out. Hell of a fun time though.
September 27 2016 (805 days ago)
Jogbir9 (158608)
I kayaked this stretch from Chicken bridge on Sunday Sept 25 2016 I believe the water level was
just above 3. If it was much less I would have had to drag my kayak over lots of rocks. I put in
under the Chicken bridge. For the first part it was pretty slow moving but scenic. The second part
was full of rocks and small rapids and was pretty fast. This was a fast moving and fun section to
paddle. After the section of rocks the river became calm and for a few miles I paddled staying to
the left as possible for the portage above the dam. I hugged the shore line as I approached the dam
and there is a decent muddy take out to the far left. Total trip took about 2.5-3 hrs The day
before I launched from the new kayak landing on old Greensboro hwy and kayaked to the Chicken
Bridge. This was about 3 hrs. Very slow moving.
December 3 2014 (1469 days ago)
Kanoeist (157036)
Ran 11/28/2014 @ ~1800cfs, 5.5ft. in a dagger canoe. Most rock gardens washed out at this level,
plenty of water over 'sawtooth ledge'. Trip took 2hrs, lot of steadily moving flatwater. Have run
at 3 ft, (~3-400cfs?) scraped a lot and a lot of maneuvering to get through, but doable. The bank
at the takeout appears to have washed enough to drop some trees across the entrance where the
sluice gate is. I didn't like the look of it and took out at a spot about 100 feet farther up,
where the trail comes to the bank.
May 27 2013 (2024 days ago)
cblischok (155468)
Ran it in 2 person Old Town at ~900 cfs. Level seemed pretty much perfect. Most rapids boat
scout-able. Had to frantically attain to make another run on the left to center at Sawtooth Ledge
(A down tree on left side of the river bend forced us too far river right). Stopping on the rocks
at Little Nantahala made for a great middle of the trip lunch/break spot. Not a human was seen
until the takeout at the dam. Highly recommend this paddle to anyone interested in getting away
from civilization for around 3 hours.
October 5 2012 (2258 days ago)
x (1)
10-5-2012. Ran Upper and MIddle Haw today at less that 350 cfs. Not too bad, but scarped bottom any
June 17 2004 (5289 days ago)
Robert MartinDetails
Chicken Bridge got it's name after a truck, loaded with chickens, crashed at the bridge. The
surviving chickens hung out at the bridge for several weeks afterward. The Air Force used to use
the bridge as a target for mock bombing runs. It was not unusual to have an A-4 Skyhawk or an F-4
Phantom zoom over you at low levels. They made the Air Force stop this practice back in the early
October 16 2000 (6629 days ago)
robert martinDetails
This section is known as the Upper Haw or the Chicken Bridge section. It is a good run for the
novice at the right level.

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