paddling the Eno River

Paddling is a great way to explore the Eno River. Opportunities for both flatwater and whitewater paddling are available along the Eno.

Click here to view a PDF with more details and suggested trips for paddling the Eno River

Flatwater paddling

There are three flatwater sections of the river that maintain adequate river levels of between three and ten feet deep in all seasons. These quiet stretches of the Eno River provide the opportunity for gentle paddling, watching for wildlife and natural history meditation.

West Point Point on the Eno Park – Park at the north end of the traffic loop and walk about 100 yards to the launch area, which is just upstream from the mill dam. From there you can paddle 3/4 mile upstream to Sennett Hole.

Kings Highway Park (AKA Dimmock’s Mill Dam) – Put in at the Kings Highway Park canoe/kayak launch, which is a little over 100 yards from the parking lot via a flat gravel road. Stay left on the road when you leave the parking lot. Paddle upstream (right) under an old railroad trestle, continuing for about a mile until the water becomes too shallow. Some of the land you pass when paddling will be private property, so stay in your boat unless you know who owns the shore.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Eno River Boating Access Area (Eno River Boat Ramp)Driving NE on Teknika Parkway, turn right just before you would otherwise dead end into the campus of a large biotech company. The launch is on the left at the end of the road (Red Mill/Rodolphe St). You can paddle two miles upstream (to the right) to the confluence with the Little River, and possibly farther. Or you can paddle about two miles downstream (to the left) to Falls Lake, passing the confluence of the Flat and Eno rivers on your way. In both directions the river is bordered by game lands.

Please note, Pleasant Green Access is no longer an option for flatwater paddling. The dam was removed in spring 2006 because of safety and environmental concerns.

Whitewater paddling

The Eno River also provides an opportunity for whitewater paddling, but only after a period of significant rainfall.  To enjoy paddling downstream requires an adequate water level. The best times are normally in the winter and spring. It is best to check the USGS streamflow websites before heading out.

Eno River levels:

Hillsborough gauge

Cole Mill Road gauge

Roxboro Road gauge

Park staff have established a rough correlation between the USGS gauge readings and paddling conditions:

  • below 2.25 feet is poor
  • 2.25 to 2.5 feet is fair
  • 2.5 to 3 feet is good
  • 3 to 5 feet is excellent
  • above 5 feet is dangerous

Trips and rentals

Canoeing and Kayaking: Frog Hollow Outdoors is located in the Eno River basin and offers day trips, rentals and instruction for both kayaks and canoes. Individual and group rentals are available as well as customized excursions. For more information on Frog Hollow Outdoors, click here. The Frog Hollow outpost at West Point on the Eno offers hourly boat rentals, open on weekends during the summer.

Think Safety

  • A river in flood is very dangerous. Know the river and know your abilities.
  • Carry a map and know where you are.
  • Do not paddle alone. A buddy boat is a good idea.
  • Wear appropriate wet or dry suits in cold weather. Hypothermia can kill.
  • Always wear a life vest. (In NC, anyone younger than 13 is legally required to wear one.)
  • Depending on conditions, consider also wearing a helmet.
  • Bring drinking water, snacks, and an extra paddle. No alcohol.
  • Expect to spill, and be prepared. The upstream side of your boat is safer than the downstream side.
  • Consider leaving a trip plan either with the park office (if your trip is within Eno River State Park) or on the dashboard of your vehicle.

Maps

It is difficult to get lost on a river, but a map can help you know where you are and what’s around you. The following maps are suggested:
US Geological Survey Maps:

Hillsborough Quadrangle (Highway 70 bridge to Pleasant Green Road) scale, 6 inches equals 1 mile.

Durham North Quadrangle (Guess Road to Old Oxford Highway) scale, 1 inch equals 1 mile.

N.C. State Highway Commission County Road Maps:

Orange and Durham Counties, scale 1 inch equals 2 miles.

These maps are available from the Highway Commission in Raleigh or the District Office, Stadium Drive, Durham.