Catawba, South Fork - McAdenville

Catawba, South Fork, North Carolina, US



Usual Difficulty I (for normal flows)
Length 0.2 Miles


Photo of Catawba River-South Fork-McAdenville by Kevin Yount

River Description

Forum: BoaterTalk
Date: Sep 01 2003, 2:02 GMT
From: ncriverboarder

There are two spots on the South Fork of the Catawba (Gaston County) that I have looked at as I have been driving through. Both of them are short so you can park and run them.

In the town of McAdenville below the dam the water flows over a slide into a pillow and monsterous hole. The pillow and hole look like they could be sneaked on the extreme left. The ledge and hole extend further across the river, but it would be hard to ferry out that far, at least at high water as when I checked it out. This looked like a class five at high water, not sure what it is like with less water running over the dam.

To get to it, cross the bridge on Hwy 7 in town, then look for a sign that has all the local churches listed. At this sign there is a trail that goes into the woods and then over some rocks beside the river. The other bank would be hard to put in on due to a water treatment plant being in the way. Right after the rapid there is nothing but fast flat water and many sandy areas to pull into and do it again or leave.

See also S.Fk.Catawba, High Shoals for the other spot mentioned.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-08-05 20:31:08

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 28 2009 (3286 days ago)
x (1)
Hi Justin Collins here, As far as water quality, I dont know. I paddle the S. Fork weekly. During
the drought it ran clear. A fish company in Lincolnton round 1900's used to catch trout in town
along with other fish and sale to the local community so they say. Also used to be able to paddle
up Walker Branch off Clarks Creek as near back as1950's. When it rains it appears to be erosion
pollution and trash. I believe the sod farms take more water than the dairy farms they replaced.
they produce high levels of chemicals from over fertilizing and constant watering from Clarks Creek
and S. Fork River lower the river levels. NO more erosion from cows or cow poop in the river.
Thanks EPA. The sewer smells worse when the flows are lower, i am not sure how flow and discharge
are checked for proper discharge ratio. Smell may come from holding ponds and not being able to
discharge. The "Rainbow River" is gone, long before the cotton mills or dye houses. Memory just
tells great stories of the imagination to remember. I havent seen colors in the river in more than
10 years. I agree the residues and deposits may remain. If you are concerned please find out and
let the rest of us know. I swim in sections and most of the old mill dams are swarmed by local
people daily and have for years attracted all folks on a warm day. when i am paddling it is rare
not to see someone on acanoe, raft, paddle boat, john boat, or sitting on the bank. Like i said im
a boater not a sewage expert or water quality scientist. To the rest of those seeking a great
paddle I suggest any section of the S. Fork. Including the Henry Fork and Jacobs Fork. If you are
looking for a family float or fishing trip then I suggest from Lincolnton downstream. There are 7
dams to portage. Some being more (adventure) difficult. I believe the Spencer Mtn to McAdenville
section is great for quick paddles , introductory boating and incredible scenery outings. All
within 25 mins of downtown Charlotte. And no charge for parking! If you dont have equipment and
gear check out and if you want a guide and/or equipment check out Justin Collins 704.740.9250
April 25 2009 (3319 days ago)
x (1)
I live 5 minutes from here. This dam is rarely as seen in the photos. Only after serious rainfall.
It would be awesome to see someone go over it. But, it's the only rapid around. The South Fork
River flows down on all flatwater from this small McAdenville dam to the next one that drops into
Lake Wylie. I have paddled this stretch a few times. It's about 20% in town and the rest has some
nice scenery and bird watching. There is a new park with a canoe/kayak launch on this stretch in
Cramerton on Riverside Dr. if anyone is looking for flatwater boating.
April 11 2009 (3333 days ago)
gtr_22 (149624)
The water quality isn't as bad as it used to be as most of the mills have shut down. It's still
murky foothills river though. There are several other pretty cool spots on this reach and a couple
of new public access points will be open soon. Look for updates and new photos soon.
November 17 2003 (5305 days ago)
Kevin YountDetails
I went to look at the rocks today while the river was low, and found out that the trail to the
rapid is private property and is now posted with big no trespassing signs and "police have
authority to arrest signs".
September 1 2003 (5382 days ago)
Water quality is terrible... New
Forum: BoaterTalk
Re: Any NC foothills or piedmont paddlers ever ran either of these rapids in gaston county? by
ncriverboarder Sep 01 2003, 2:02 GMT New
Date: Sep 01 2003, 12:15 GMT
From: wsboater

I haven't personally played at these spots, but I know of people that have - and they all wondered
what chemicals were in the water. Numerous textile/industrial complexes upstream of that area.
Buddy of mine that worked for Meck. Parks/Rec called up NC Water Advisory, etc and asked what test
results they had for the water quality and was it safe to kayak in? According to the state, it is
classified as "water suitable for drinking" (just not immediately suitable I presume),
whatever that means. I mean, they dumped how many million gallons of sewage into Lake Norman the
other year and it is classified as safe with respect to recreation/water supply?
Guy kept giving him ambiguous answers about the being in contact with said "drinking"
water, then finally the guy told him that he wouldn't be coming into contact with it at all.
Take a look at the rocks out there in the river bed sometime, I'm not sure what chemicals are
there, but I know that textile dyes are a regular occurence in the area. Supposedly the locals
nicknamed the area the "rainbow river" for all the varied textile dyes that float down at
different times.

There is a lowhead dam just visible when you cross on I-85, water feature of some sort is present
below that, sounds like you have already found the trail to get to the river from below.


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