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Difficulty IV+
Length 7 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 11/21/2010 3:25 pm

River Description

The Upper Yadkin is located north of Lenior about 30 or 40 minutes past Wilson Creek. The book Carolina Whitewater says there is a gauge on a wood plank bridge 1/2 mile downstream of the take-out; however, it appears the bridge has been replaced but not the gauge.

An easy shuttle brought us to a little farm drainage-ditch-type creek at the putin. We got permission to park from a nice woman at a nearby farmhouse and started downstream at 3:30 p.m. on the seven-mile run.

Like the

Chauga Gorge

, the Yadkin starts flat, then you come to five-foot ledge. Things gradually start to pick up from there. The farmland recedes and big boulders start appearing in the stream, making for a very intimate feeling little creek.

About the time you come to the start of the Gorge is an ugly sight. The owner of all land in the gorge, something called Yadkin Partners, has strung "no trespassing" signs across the river at the top and bottom of the gorge. It appears they are doing some kind of development all through there. They have cut a road along the river which constantly crosses fords between rapids. This along with some ag runoff from upstream has really messed up the water quality.

The flow was quite minimal, definitely ELF boating. There are logs down everywhere which we wriggled under, over and around. One of the bigger drops of about 6-7 feet has a log down in a boiling cauldron of foam at the bottom. Three of us were able to avoid pinning, by boofing slightly to the left, but one boater in a very long kayak pinned under the log. Fortunately, with the low flow he was able to get out and recovering his boat was a simple matter.

Not far downstream the whole river pours about 4 feet through a slot about 6 feet wide. The kayakers all got stern-squirted there. It turned out to be the one of the best ender spots I have ever seen. It was so powerful even at low water that it launched my 12-foot canoe most of the way out of the water. We took turns doing enders for about 15 minutes, but the light was starting to fade so we headed downstream.

Main Squeeze is the largest drop (about 10 feet); run to the far left to avoid the gigantic undercut rock on the right. I was the only one to run it. To enter far left I had to move a few small rocks out of the shallow channel and prop up a downed tree with another branch so I could get under it. The bottom of the rapid was deep and Oh So Shweeet!

Below this the Yadkin is very much like Lower Big Creek in the Smokies. It gets very scrapy where it splits around islands. There are too many downed trees to count. There are also port-a-johns all along the banks at what appear to be future home sites. Although not apparently connected to the outhouses, there are many 2" black plastic pipes running down the banks. These pipes are not in the water, leading me to think they must be discharging something rather than drawing water. With no trespassing signs everywhere we stayed in our boats and did not investigate further. As dusk fell at 7 p.m. we arrived at the takeout.

The Upper Yadkin would be a very nice run if

Wilson Creek

was running say 1 1/2 feet. It was boatable at this level but not recommended unless you really want to abuse your boat. I plan to forward this trip report on to AW to alert them to potential access problems. In the meantime if you run it be aware that someone could hassle you (we saw no one). This could end up being another test case of navigability rights if the landowners mistakenly think they own the water.

Rapid Descriptions


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tucker deloach
11 years ago

So what was the level when you ran this?

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James Benfield
13 years ago

This section runs thru private trout club water and the "black tubes" are used as feeding tubes for the club to send trout food down to the pools where the trout are hard to reach.

No Gage

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Directions Description

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Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193672 10/31/06 n/a n/a
1198729 11/21/10 Matt Muir corrected non-neg lon coords.