Data from Joe Greiner, local expert
Additions by Garrick Taylor - half baked paddler
Great alternative when the Lower Haw is too high. Lots of Class II rapids with some flatwater in-between. Some nice play spots to have fun. It is a narrow river so watch out for wood. The is a good squirt line a couple of miles in where a rock protrudes into the river from river left. There is an old stone wall back in the woods on river left at this spot.
More Class I-II rapids follow with some flatwater thrown in between.
Section of Class III about mid-way into the run. The river drops over an old 4-5' stone mill dam. This is followed by 100 yards or so of Class II water as the river bends to the right. This is followed a 3-4' ledge that forms a nice sized hole at high water. Following this is another 3-4' ledge with another hole. This is followed by a wave train that has a couple of 4-5' waves at high water.
A large eddy follows this where you can pick up the pieces or paddle back up to just below the bottom ledge to run the wave train again or to practice some surfing.
After this the river has a bit of flat water followed by more Class I-II rapids mixed with flatwater.
Class II rapids begin again and run for several hundred yards just before reaching the takeout at the NC 902 bridge.
Trip took 2 1/2 hours at 1-1.5 feet on the paddlers' gage.
Rocky River at US64 Near Siler City is about 2 miles upstream from the put-in. 200 cfs on this gauge is roughly equal to -6" on the paddlers' gauge at the takeout and is a minimum level.
Tick creek is a major tributary that joins in about 1/3 of the way through the run. You can get a better idea of the level on the run by adding the Tick Creek at Mount Vernon Springs gauge to the Rocky River at US64 Near Siler City gauge. 50 cfs on Tick Creek plus 200 cfs on Rocky River at US64 Near Siler City is equal to roughly -6" on the paddlers' gauge at the takeout.
Verify the river is running by checking the paddlers' gage on the downstream river right piling on the NC 902 bridge at the takeout. You can also see the last rapid upstream from the bridge.
On a run where paddlers' gage was 1.5' when we put on and 1' when we took off, there was a very padded out level - more waves trains, glassy waves, and an occasional hole to punch through. The class III section in the middle was fun but not technical. This was a great level for this run.
On a run where the paddlers' gauge was -3" when we put on and -6" when we took off the level was a good minimum. More technical with fewer lines through the rapids. The class III section in the middle was still fun but the waves were smaller and the holes were not as sticky. The flatwater was a lot harder to deal with because it took longer to paddle through. Also a lot less play to be had at this lower level.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Takeout is where NC 902 crosses the Rocky. From there, take NC 902 back towards Pittsboro. Turn left at the first road (Pleasant Hill Church Road). You follow this and it becomes gravel. After it turns to gravel, follow it down a hill, around a curve and then back up a hill. Once pavement starts again, take the next left onto Carolina Hill Road. Go up the hill and then back down. The river comes right up to the side of the road on the left at the bottom of the hill.
Rocky River (of Chatham County)
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