Buckhorn Dam is the northernmost access point that we utilize, located near Corinth, NC.
Buckhorn Dam and the property around it belongs to Duke Energy.
The dam has not been operated in years, but it still covers the entire river.
Those who approach the dam from upstream will have to port around it.
Do NOT paddle over the dam. It is a deadly hydraulic system that has claimed several lives over the years.
To access the dam you have to drive through the property that belongs to the power company, but the access is not restricted, although it is private. It is a dirt road and can be a little rough, but you shouldn't need four-wheel drive.
The next access point is in Lillington right before the NC HWY 421/401/210 bridge.
It is about a 15 mile paddle from Buckhorn Dam to our office in Lillington.
We offer this trip as a two day adventure called Epic overnight.
Plenty of paddlers have done this section in just 1 day.
In the first half a mile you go through Buckhorn Falls, a set of Class I and II rapids.
They can be very rocky at lower levels, but navigable.
It's followed by several miles of flat water, until entering Raven Rock State park, signified by Lanier Falls - the biggest rapid of this section.
Fish Traps is another popular destination for swimmers and fishermen during summer months less than a mile downstream from Lanier Falls.
The remaining 7 miles to Lillington are mainly flat water, with the exception of small Class II rapids about 2.5 miles before the take out and a small Class I rock garden half a mile after that.
* We typically recommend against leaving vehicles at Buckhorn Dam overnight due to prior incidents.
Coordinates: 35.540341, -78.983957
You can copy and paste these coordinates in google, or your gps