River Information

Time of travel in every section of the Dan and other rivers are directly related to river gage height and flow of water in the river. Times listed below will vary from trip to trip and should be used only as a suggested time of travel.

These general ratings of rapids and riffles in the Dan River Basin can be invaluable resources for planning your trip to the river.

Dan River, Stokes County, NC

Hart Access to Hanging Rock  12.4 miles 5-11 hours Class I & Class II
Hanging Rock to Moratock Park 5.9 miles 2-5 hours Class I & Class II


Dan River, Rockingham County NC

Location Distance Time Class
Lindsay Bridge Road to 704 Bridge  2.5 miles 1-2 hours Class II
704 Bridge to Settles Bridge 8 miles 3-5 hours Class I
Settles Bridge to Hamilton Street Landing 10 miles 4-6 hours Class I
Hamilton Street to Eden Boat Landing 1.5 miles 1 hour Class I
Eden Boat Landing to Danville 28 miles 14 hours Class I


Mayo River, Rockingham County, NC

Location Distance Time Class
Anglin Mill Bridge to South end of Mayo Beach 1.5 miles 1 hour Class II & Class III
South end of Mayo Beach to Business 220 Bridge 8 miles 3-5 hours Class I
Business 220 Bridge to Dan River 4 miles Not Recommended Class I & II


Smith River, Henry County, VA

 Time Class
Philpott Dam to Bassett Access
 6.4 miles
 3.5 hours
 Class I to Class III
Bassett Canoe Access to Great Road Access 5.3 miles   Class I to Class III
Great Road Access to Fieldale Trail Access  5.3 miles
 5.0 hours
 Class I to Class II
Fieldale Trail Access to Doe Run
 5.4 miles
   Class I to Class II
South Martinsville to Smith River Sports Complex
 5.3 miles
 2.5 hours
 Class I to Class II
Smith River Sports Complex to Marrowbone Creek
 2.5 miles
 4.0 hours
 Class I to Class II
Marrowbone Creek to Mitchell Bridge
 3.4 miles
 6.0hours Class I to Class II

Mitchell Bridge to Morgan Ford Bridge
(No official canoe access at Morgan Ford)

 7.3 miles
   Class I to Class II
Morgan Ford to Spray Dam (private)
 4.7 miles
   Class I to Class II
Spray Dam to Island Ford Access
 1.0 miles
   Class I to Class II
Island Ford to the NC Wildlife Access on Dan River
 2.1 miles
   Class I to Class II


Rapids Ratings

The ratings of rapids and riffles is a subjective and sometimes touchy subject. Ratings vary from class I to class VI. Below is a general rating system. The Dan River Basin rapids generally fall between class I and III, depending on water flow. This is what makes the Dan River Basin such an enjoyable place for recreational and family outings.

  • Class I-few riffles, maybe small waves, if any, few obstacles and very little maneuvering
  • Class II-easy rapids with waves of 2 ft., wide channel with little maneuvering
  • Class III-waves large enough to overturn canoe, narrow passages with increased maneuvering
  • Class IV-large difficult waves, precise maneuvering
  • Class V-very difficult, advanced maneuvering with constricted passageways
  • Class VI-generally considered unrunnable

These class ratings are general and definitely have limitations. The best way to understand a rapid and learn about a river is to learn how to read the water, and then scout rapids on your own. The decision to paddle or portage is a personal decision that everyone who runs whitewater class I or class V should learn to make.