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Although the Haw River is a wonderful river to paddle under normal condition, the river is subject to extreme changes in water level and flow amounts during periods of rain or drought.  During high water events, the Haw River is extremely dangerous. 

Immediately prior to your trip:

     Check the USGS river gauge at either Haw River or Bynum, depending on the section of the river you are paddling, to determine the water level.  Rough guidelines for minimum and maximum water levels are listed below.  PLEASE NOTE: These levels are not one size fits all.  Use your judgment before leaving, if the river feels too dangerous for you, postpone your trip.

     • Check the forecast prior to your trip.  Stay home if the possibility of bad weather exists.

 

Haw River USGS Gauge

 

Bynum USGS Gauge

     

 

 The following are rough guidelines to help you decide whether to get on the river.  Please note these are the only sections on the river between two approved accesses.

 

River Section Gauge Minimum Water Level Maximum Water Level Relative Difficulty
Indian Valley/Glencoe to Graham
Haw River
2.25
4.0
Blue Square
Graham to Swepsonville
Haw River
1.7
4.0
Green Circle
Bynum Beach to Hwy 64
Bynum
3.3
5.7
Blue Square
Hwy 64 to Robeson Creek/ Jordan Lake Natural Area
Bynum
4.0
5.7
Black Diamond

 

 Relative Difficulty Key:

Green Circle:  Easiest on the River.  Generally suitable for beginners with some knowledge of how to maneuver their boats and safety techniques.  Contains mostly calm water with some rapids to negotiate.

Blue Square:  Moderately Difficult.  For paddlers with experience and advanced knowledge of boat maneuverability and paddling safety.  These sections contain more substantial rapids areas.

Black Diamond:  Difficult.  For advanced paddlers.  These section contain extensive rapids and may require significant portage under certain conditions.