This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-III
Length 5.6 Miles
Flow Range 10.00 - 23.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 40 minutes ago 44.43 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 08/25/2013 5:27 pm

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.


Rapid Descriptions

The Rapid

Class - II Mile - 5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
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.


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Jim McNeill
3 years ago

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.

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Brad Beggs
9 years ago

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.

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9 years ago

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!

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11 years ago

was there on 7-26-08 center line play hole was great right side dumpster hole was rocky with little water watch for fishing equipment in rapids. will update again on 8-3-07

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12 years ago

At the present 1500 CFS the wave is harder to ride, and things are a little bony.

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14 years 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 use.

Gage Descriptions

The "Rapid" will appear when the the Dominion Dam near Roanoke Rapids Gauge is releasing below 3500cfs and the lake near Halifax Gauge is below 20'. When the Halifax Gauge (which indicate the lake level downstream of the rapid) s over 20', the center wave disappears. The"Rapid" will go underwater when the Halifax Gauge is above 23'. 


The center wave is wider but less steep when the lake is higher, and narrow and steep/peaky when the lake is lower. 

Dominion's projected release page will give an idea about the next few days, but always check the actual gauge before going.

The dam's normal mode of operation schedule can be see here. However, water level in Kerr Lake dictates the actual release.

You can check this webcam for a visual of the rapid.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports





Jim Wei


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190910 07/25/08 Jim Wei n/a
1202620 08/25/13 Jim Wei Added webcam link