River adventure on the Dan, the Haw, the Mayo and the Smith

Looking of river adventure in North Carolina? Rockingham County’s four rivers—the Dan, the Haw, the Mayo and the Smith—provide more than 60 miles of flowing fun.

paddle board river adventure

Our rivers offer an alternative to whitewater with recreational canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or tubing for all skill levels. Our rivers and streams are also fishable, swimmable and drinkable.

Here, you can have a leisurely float on calm, “flat” water or find thrills across Class II and III rapids. You can also spend time exploring our two state parks, The Haw River State Park and the Mayo River State Park.

With a number of public access points, you can plan your experience for just a couple hours or several days.  






Create your own adventure or join in a planned trip with one of our Local Outfitters

Dan River Adventures
724 Webster Rd, Stoneville

Lake Reidsville*
630 Water Works Rd, Reidsville
*Rentals for use at Lake Reidsville only.

Mad Town Tubing
102 Water St, Madison


Mayodan Outdoor Sports
100 E. Main St, Mayodan

Three Rivers Outfitters
413 B Church St, Eden

Troublesome Creek Outfitters
413-B Church St, Eden

Click here to download the Rockingham County Blueway Guide for a map of our rivers & lakes and trip ideas.

The Dan River Basin Association is very active in our community, promoting the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River Basin through stewardship, recreation and education.  The group offers regular river and trail outings and works to help people enjoy and preserve our life-sustaining rivers.

Get weather warnings and safety alerts about our rivers by texting ROCKRIVER to 888777.

The Dan River Adventure: Scenic Family Fun_M7A6108FinalA

  • Class I
  • 6 public accesses
  • 1-8+ hour trips

The Rockingham County portion of the Dan is 38 miles long and its waters are plentiful for paddling the entire year.  Some call the Dan a “lazy river” because its pace is leisurely and relaxing, making it perfect for paddlers of all skill levels and fun for the entire family.

The Dan flows through wide floodplains, high banks and tree-covered corridors.  It is favored for its slow pace and historical significance.  Sights along the Dan range from fossils more than 200 million years old to remaining sites of the Saura Indian tribe.

During the 19th century the Dan played an integral role in the development of Rockingham County as bateau (long, wooden boats) crews and small steam launches used its waters for commercial river transportation. The Dan’s bateau systems are some of the only that remain the country and were the first to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Check out all the adventures waiting to be discovered throughout the entire Dan River region in North Carolina & Virginia at the Dan River State Crossings.

The Mayo River Adventure: Rushing Rapids & Smooth Currents

  • Class I, II & III rapids
  • 2 public accesses
  • 4-6 hour trips 

The 16-mile portion of the Mayo River in Rockingham County is a mix of rushing rapids and smooth water.  The upper portion features Class II  and III rapids and the infamous “Boiling Hole” rapid.  Avid paddlers say this section offers the best white-water in the Piedmont region.  This section is only recommend for very experienced paddlers.

Water enthusiasts enjoy the infamous "Boiling Hole" rapid in Rockingham County's Mayo River on July 13, 2011. The 16-mile portion of the Mayo River in Rockingham County flows through a scenic gorge featuring rock bluffs and two natural waterfalls.  The river can be divided into two sections and truly offers something for everyone--from beginners to thrill seekers. (Photography By Artisan Image)

The water below the rapids is smooth with a steady current, which is perfect for less experienced paddlers.  Sites along the Mayo include well-preserved Native American fish traps, early dams used to generate power in Mayodan, rock bluffs, two natural waterfalls, and tons of vegetation and wildlife.  The Mayo converges with the Dan near Madison.  It is part of the Mayo River State Park.

The Smith River Adventure: For Short TripsIsland Ford Landing (3)

  • Class I, II & IV
  • 1 public access
  • 1-2 hour trips

Paddle trips on the Smith River are prefect for those who want to enjoy just an hour or two on the water in Eden or a full day by starting upstream in Virginia.  The river originates in Virginia and flows five miles in Rockingham County until it converges with the Dan. 

The Smith is very scenic with rock outcroppings, foliage and wildlife, including great fishing of smallmouth bass and trout.  Experienced paddlers will find Class I, II and III rapids on various sections of the Smith.  There is one public access point at the Smith River Greenway in Eden that provides a two-mile trip downstream to the confluence of the Smith and Dan.

The Haw River Adventure: A Scenic State ParkHaw River State Park - Lake

A small portion of the Haw River flows from Guilford County into Rockingham County just south of Reidsville.  At this time, there are no public accesses on the Haw River in Rockingham County.

A major section of the Haw River State Park and its Summit Educational Center are located here on about 300 acres of beautiful Piedmont land.  While the state park is in the early stages of development, the Summit Educational Center is open to the public.