USGS Cape Fear River Gauge in Lillington is the single best source for water level on the Upper Cape Fear River. With readings every 15 minutes, stay safe and up to date with water levels. Every paddler should check this website before starting their trip.
River flow is very important, especially if you plan to spend time on the water. The Cape Fear River is directly affected by the height of Jordan Lake, which is kept at a consistent 216.2’. For example, if Chatham County receives a deluge of rain and Jordan Lake rises, the dam at Jordan Lake will need to release more water to lower the lake back to normal water capacity. There are other factors that go into the equation for determining how much water to release. For example, how much rain is in the forecast, what is the current water level, how much water flow in the river from other sources, and many other factors. When Jordan Lake is releasing more water, it results in a rising Cape Fear River. To put it simply: It’s really important to know the level of the river before a river trip. Please call us or check for yourself if you are unsure of the Cape Fear River’s current height… specifically if the Triangle and/or surrounding areas have received a bout of rainy weather. Higher river levels are dangerous and present a variety of risks that make such conditions unsafe. We do not rent canoes, kayaks, or tubes once the river is above a particular level. However, we provide guided Scenic Rafting and Whitewater Kayaking trips at some higher water levels.
* Water levels and depth vary throughout the course of the river. The river gauge serves as a dependable reference point in determining the river conditions. We check river levels daily to ensure the safety of our customers!