Roanoke - NC Route 48 to 0.5 mi. downstream of US 301 (Weldon)

Roanoke, North Carolina, US


NC Route 48 to 0.5 mi. downstream of US 301 (Weldon)

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 5.6 Miles

Mike Keeney blunting center wave

Mike Keeney blunting center wave
Photo of Mike Keeney by Jim Wei taken 09/11/05 @ 2700

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-0208062765 10.00 - 23.00 ft I-III 00h43m 35.55 ft (too high)
usgs-02080500 1000 - 3500 cfs I-III 01h13m 17400 cfs (too high)

River Description

Put in at the Hwy-48 bridge over the river. There are parking are on the river left bank just downstream of the bridge.

The river is mostly flat for the almost three miles to the I-95 bridge. Downstream of the I-95 bridge, the river splits into multiple channels. There is one insignicant rapid before the next bridge which is the US-158/US-310 bridge.

About 150 yards downstream of the 158/301 bridge is the "Rapid". When the lake level is low enough to expose the rapid (see the gauge description), there are three lines and some play spots. Also downstream of the 158/301 bridge but immediately upstream of the Rapid, a small channel branches off to the river left that bypasses the Rapid. However it also bypasses the takeout so you'll have to make a long flat but upstream paddle back to the takeout.

Takeout is the boat ramp a few hundred yards downstream of the Rapid.

To get to the take out or to park & play at the Rapid, get off I-95 Exit 173 and head east on 158 for 2 miles through the town of Weldon. Take a left on 301 then take an immediate right, park behind the soccer field.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-08-25 17:27:28


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
5.0The RapidIITakeout Portage Playspot

Rapid Descriptions

The Rapid (Class II, Mile 5.0)
The river right channel is a class III rapid. Standard line is starting from river left, then move to river right after passing the hole against river right bank about half way through the rapid. The bottom drop has a sticky hole on the river left named Dumpster Hole. Brave souls play there and sometimes result in broken equipment, body parts, and spirits. When the dam is releasing above 3000 cfs, the river right side of the bottom drop forms a dynamic wave. There are alternate lines through the river right channel that involves catching multiple micro eddies and one large eddy. The center channel offers two basic lines. Most of the water flows through the main center channel. Start in the center angle left following the water, then heads back right to punch through a 2ft ledge, after which ride the fast current and hit the bottom wave. The easiest line through the Rapid is on the river left. From the pool above, look for the left most slot that forms by two rocks. This slot is just to the right of the the cove where one can get out to scout and portgage. Line up for the slot and paddle straight through and you'll end up on the bottom on river left. No manuevers required. The bottom wave in the center channle offers endless surfing. The wave gets steeper the lower the lake level is. The 2ft ledge near the top of the center channel also has some potential play spots but eddy access are difficult and head banging potential are high. According to the locals, when the big release comes through (20,000+ cfs), big and dynamic waves forms for a few hours until the lake level catches up. Once the rapid disappears, the only playspot left is the eddy lines at the 158/301 bridge.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 24 2016 (820 days ago)
jimbobboater (157201)
I went to Weldon Falls park two weeks ago. The level should have been prime for the Weldon Wave,
2800 cfs. A couple other boaters were there looking for some surf. Unfortunately, the wave did not
produce. High water from Fall of 2015 through the 2016 summer rains may have shifted the formation.
what surf was left, wasn't on par with my experience of the past. There are still a couple surf
holes in the upper part of the rapid but they are shallow and sticky. surfing Dumpster Hole is
still a Paddle at Your Own Risk adventure.
September 28 2010 (3038 days ago)
ECUAdventure (152455)
One can avoid the long flat water section described and paddle the swiftwater/class I-II rapids
near the 95 bridge by using a lower, public access point. The Roanoke Canal trail runs along the
river. On River Road, in Roanoke Rapids, there is a parking lot to access the trail (use Google
Maps to find it). A short 5 minute walk along the lower trail brings the trail next to the river
and an abandoned housing development on the right. Put in here, next to a drain culvert with good
eddy service.
August 21 2010 (3076 days ago)
fishman027 (151029)
The "insignificant" rapid noted in the river description is not that insignificant. I consider this
section to be a great run for beginner paddlers and the noted rapid that is just below I-95 can be
fairly technical depending on the level and particular channel on chooses. I first paddled this
section in an open canoe with a girlfriend and I found the run to be enjoyable, minus the
occasional unpleasant odor associated with Roanoke Rapids in general. Long story, short: this
section offers more than just park 'n play, especially for those looking for a fun and relaxing day
on the river with a grand finale!
October 8 2009 (3393 days ago)
kayakist1955 (145284)
The boat ramp at Weldon is being completely rebuilt. What this means is that the boat ramp is
sometimes inaccessible. This may mean hiking up and out on river right near The Dumpster, there is
an alternate takeout on river right above The Dumpster which is easier. Yesterday, the parking lot
was closed, you can park by the hunting/fishing shop lot across the street. @ current levels, the
wave is hard to get on to, as construction carries on this may change. I've never seen the river
this low.
December 31 2008 (4040 days ago)
x (1)
At the present 1500 CFS the wave is harder to ride, and things are a little bony.
June 29 2005 (4955 days ago)
apparently the gauges have been changed a little, I was there yesterday at about 3000 cfs and the
wave was great. one of the best park and play spots anywhere for quality of features and ease of