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Dan River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Nearest City: Eden, NC
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: mayoriver View Profile


Meandering through the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, the "Mighty" Dan River flows for roughly 38 river miles through the north and northwestern sections of Rockingham County. The Dan is a virtually free-flowing river with few modern improvements-only a handful of easily portaged dams. The flood plains are wide, the banks are high, and the tree cover along the river corridors is almost unbroken. Long a favorite of local paddlers, the Dan has become increasingly popular with both novice and experienced canoers for its leisurely pace, beautiful scenery, and historic significance.

Where else, in a single location, can a paddler:

  • Look for fossils over 200 million years old;
  • Pick up Native American relics 300 to 10,000 years old;
  • Find petrified wood, stunning rock cliffs and rare geologic formations;
  • See well-preserved early nineteenth century towns and plantation manors;
  • Enjoy a range of wild flowers and plants that encompasses the mountains to the coast;
  • Experience Class 1 rapid
  • Mark some of the best preserved nineteenth century industrial complexes;
  • Pass a range of bridge architecture representing 150 years
  • Navigate a nineteenth century bateau navigation system that still works and has been recognized by two state historic markers and listing as the first such system on the National Register of Historic Places;
  • Have a family canoeing experience that is safe for the youngest child to the oldest grandparent;

Spend a day or longer in a wilderness where almost nothing modern is seen or heard, where you sojourn with trees, flowers, hawks, herons, kingfishers, shore birds, ducks, deer, beaver, and otter.

The four "official" access points on the Dan cover roughly 20 river miles, and, if the paddler desires, continuing from the easternmost access (Eden Boat Landing) into south-central Virginia adds an additional 16 miles.

From a 1-hour jaunt to an all day adventure, the Dan offers a variety of paddling options for any taste.


Family camping (elec.,showers,toilets) at private campgound with river access. Primitive camping on private land. Hotels near river in Madison and Eden. Boat rentals and guides available. Contact for details.


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