Paddle the Dan River- August FSO!

August 3, 2024
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Davis cliff view from the river

DRBA Paddles the Dan River State Water Trail in North Carolina

DRBA’s August 3, 2024, First Saturday Outing will be a 5-mile paddle trip on the Dan River in Stokes County from the Pitzer Road Finishing Access to Hemlock Golf Course Access coordinated by Will Truslow. Meet by 9:00 a.m. at the Pitzer Road Fishing Access to set shuttle.  

History of the Dan River

History and legend abound on this section of the river, which is characterized by high bluffs forested with hardwoods and stands of stately hemlock trees. About half a mile below Snow Creek is Thompson’s Fish Dam, which has remnants of a rare wooden slat trap. According to “An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River,” a “heavy timber frame, about eight feet square, formed a grid of slats” to trap fish channeled into the trap by a vee-shaped low rock wall. At least two branches of the Great Wagon Road forded the river at shoals on this section, and caves are said to have been used by Confederate draft dodgers. 

Rock formations and uncommon Carolina hemlock stands have received recognition as the Dan River Cliffs natural heritage area. According to Truslow, “This section of the Dan has the last of the really high bluffs before the river winds on into the Piedmont. Some are about 150 feet high.” The most spectacular is Davis Bluff, a dramatic rock face on river left where huge boulders lie in the water at the base of the cliff. Legend says that a member of the Davis family fell to his death from the road on top. To this day, the cliff is known as Mount Horrible. 

About the Paddle 

The Dan River in this section is rated mostly as Class 1, but the remains of a former Duke Power dam, dynamited in 1975, create a sometimes challenging Class 2 rapid. Fortunately, it is located within sight of the take-out ramp at Hemlock Golf Course. 

Meet by 9:00 am at the Pitzer Road Access. Arrange to supply boat, paddles, life jackets, water and lunch; wear water-shedding artificial fabric or wool (not cotton, and certainly not blue jeans); and provide a back-up change of clothing. All participants will be asked to sign a waiver. DRBA’s First Saturday Outings are free and open to the public. For more information, contact trip coordinator, Will Truslow through email at

Rentals will be available in ADVANCE through the Dan River Company. Please contact by phone at (336)593-BOAT. The pick-up location may vary from the starting point. 


Directions to: Pitzer Road Fishing Access, Walnut Cove.  GPS:  36.402403, -80.145994

From Greensboro or Winston-Salem:  Go through Walnut Cove on US 311 and continue north on NC 89 towards Danbury.  In about 5 miles, turn right/straight onto Dodgetown Rd. (where NC 8 enters from the left).

Go about 3-4 miles, cross the Dan River, taking a left on Pitzer Rd. Access is on left in about ½ mile.

From the Martinsville area:  Go south on US 220 into NC and take the NC 770 exit and go right (west). Follow 770 to the NC 704 intersection and turn left onto 704. Then take the first right, onto Delta Church Rd.  Follow this road for several miles and the road changes name to Sheppard’s Mill Rd. Turn left onto Pitzer Rd where Priddy’s Country Store is on the right. Go 2 miles to find the access on the right.

Please visit by 5:00 pm, Friday, August 2, 2024 to determine if weather or other issue prevents the outing to be held. 

Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are open to the public without charge. For more information, please visit 

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