First Saturday Outing from Hanging Rock to Moratock Park

October 7, 2017
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

First Saturday Outing from Hanging Rock to Moratock Park

Join the October 7 First Saturday Outing of the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) on a popular section of the Dan River from Hanging Rock State Park to Moratock Park in Danbury, NC.  The scenic five-mile float will be coordinated by DRBA board members and experienced boaters Wayne Kirkpatrick and Rebecca Gibson. With an easy put-in and take-out, mostly calm waters and one easy Class II rapid at Moratock Park just before the take-out, this is an excellent family trip.

Participants are asked to meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Hanging Rock State Park canoe access off Flinchum Road (GPS coordinates: 36.4299, -80.2482) to unload boats and gear and set the shuttle. Boat rentals and shuttle will be provided by Three Rivers Outfitters of Eden, 336-627-6215,

Known as one of the most scenic portions of the Dan in Stokes County, this section features spectacular of high bluffs coming down to the river’s edge, along with areas of dense rhododendron. Well into the trip is a cave in a rock cliff.

Kirkpatrick comments, “For those who enjoy outdoor recreation, this float on the Dan River in Stokes County is one of the highlight sections of the Dan. The remote sensation one experiences while paddling here goes beyond a rural setting and borders on a wilderness feeling of serenity. As you sit silently in your boat letting the river glide you along at a leisurely pace, cares float away on the early fall breeze.”

Shortly after the put-in, boaters will pass under the NC 89 Highway Bridge. About three miles into the trip is Seven Island Bridge. Except for these two landmarks, most of the trip reveals little evidence of human disturbance, with nearly half of the river corridor passing through State Natural Heritage areas. At this time of year, autumn colors may be gracing the trees on the banks.

After loading their boats at Moratock Park, participants may enjoy visiting the historic 1843 Moratock Furnace, a 40-foot-high granite structure where iron ore from local mines was smelted. According to “The Dan River Atlas,” water from the river was channeled through “an ingenious tunnel through the horseshoe bend” to power the bellows for the furnace. Only the furnace near the canoe access remains today.

Additional interesting facts about this river section’s history, culture, and nearby attractions are found in Maps 68 – 70 of DRBA’s publication, “An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia,” available at .

Participants in the outing are asked to provide boat and paddles, life jacket for each boater, lunch and water, to dress in layers of artificial (quick-drying) fabric or wool, and to sign a waiver. 

To reach the Hanging Rock Access from Stuart, VA, travel south on Route 8.  Turn left on Route 89.  Travel about ¼ mile, and turn right onto Flinchum Road, which is marked by a brown DAN RIVER ACCESS sign.  Drive past the Dan River Company on the way to the concrete launch ramp.

From the town of Danbury, travel west on Route 89.  Pass the hospital and the road to Hanging Rock State Park. About one mile west of the hospital, turn left onto Flinchum Road, marked by a brown DAN RIVER ACCESS sign.  Drive past the Dan River Company on the way to the concrete launch ramp.

Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are open to the public without charge.

For trip information, contact trip coordinator Wayne Kirkpatrick, 540-570-3511,, or Rebecca Gibson,