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Difficulty I-IV
Length 1.5 Miles
Flow Range 2.20 - 10.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 39 minutes ago 1.86 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 11/04/2006 11:55 am

River Description

Says robert martin 2001-02-07 17:06:24

Here are some notes from Russ Condrey, a paddling legend. At 3.2' USGS it's like the Nantahala+, at 4.8' it's excellent, at 7.2' it's huge (Upper Gauley), at 10.4' it's scary.

Other notes from Russ: 2.0 is painfully low. 3.0' to 5.0' is a good level. 5.0' it gets pushy.

If you look on a map there are two possible put-ins above Johnson's Mill Road, one is on South Lowell rd. Before Hurricane Fran this was a good warm-up before the Micro-gorge below Johnson's Mill Rd. They have developed this area heavily, so you will be paddling through people's back yards. Due to the Eno River Society, areas of this unique river are being saved from developement and turned into a park. This river also harbors the Roanoke Bass, a spieces of fish that has become threatened in the last few years. They are locally know as "red eyes". They thrive in swift moving waters. What better fish could represent whitewater boaters.

robert martin 2000-10-16 12:48:27

The most challenging 1/4 mile of whitewater on the Piedmont of North Carolina, no joke. It's like being on an Appalachian Creek! At high water it's class V!

Put in at Johnson's Mill Rd. and take out on Hwy 501. If you park at the takeout on the river right, upstream side of the bridge, DO NOT park in the grass, keep all 4 tires on the pavement. The land owner has complained about this.

Rapid Descriptions


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Erik Erwin
2 years ago

I was a little skeptical that anything in this area could be comparable to the Upper Gauley but we paddled this on 4/25/17 at 9.5ft, and this run at this high flood stage level is legit! The Upper Gauley comparison is accurate and definitely scary with how high the water gets up in the trees. By far the most fun you can have kayaking in Durham if you are up to it! But be aware that there are no eddies and a swim at this flow would be very bad!

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8 years ago

It is possible to run the gorge and carry back to the put-in. There is a goat trail on river left, at the last rapid with the rock wall on the right, that leads you up along the ridge back to Johnson Mill Rd. I have done it once. It's about a twenty minute hike. Not particularly enjoyable but very doable. Actually, the trail is on river right and you can access it after the bottom of the second big drop from the big eddy. It is a fairly straight forward hike back up the river with some houses on your left. If the river is running really high, the trail will be under water. It is not uncommon for local boaters to get in a bunch of laps without even going to the take-out!

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David Strauss
9 years ago

This run is not 1.5 miles if you put in from South Lowell Road. There are two put-ins. One is Johnston Mills Rd and from that bridge to the takeout may be about 1.5 miles. However if you put in from South Lowell Rd, the trip is more like 5 or 6 miles. The best rapids were after Johnston Mills Rd, but the first stretch is worthwhile if the river is running above 3 feet.

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Josh Guske
12 years ago

There are several nasty strainers on this river. Be careful.

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Joe Slater
15 years ago

Here is the deal on the permits required to run the Little. (OK, they are't strictly required to run it, but they are required to use the lake for the takeout. I pity the fool who would try to take out without going over the lake).

The permits are $5 and are good for one year. You can get them from the boathouse by turning right onto Orange Factory Road from 501N then turning right into the boat house once you've crossed the lake.

Here is the official website

The best shuttle is to turn right out of the takeout area, turn right on Preston Andrews Rd., then right onto Johnston Mill Rd. Parking is not allowed at the bridge, so you'll have to move your vehicles up the road a ways once you've unloaded your boats.

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Chris Guptill
17 years ago

One thing to keep in mind about this
run is that walking things can be
difficult. The trails beside the river,
where there are any, are sparse and
badly overgrown. Scouting, if you need
to, is pretty rough is places too.
Also, a lot of the rapids are some
weird kind of carved boulder jumbles,
so the lines are pretty technical.

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Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190888 11/04/06 n/a n/a