Upper Catawba River Paddle Trail

An RTP grant provided funding for signage at access points along the Upper Catawba River Paddle Trail.

This blueway will share access points with the Burke River Trail (hiking).


The Valdese Lakeside Park access sign will be placed at the park when the official kayak launch is ready. For now, you can launch from the shore. (Number 18 on the Map)

River Access Points

10 – Watermill Road 35.743771, -81.772441
11 – Morganton Weir 35.738502, -81.732017
12 – Morganton Weir Dam Portage 35.739871, -81.729688
13 – Greenlee Ford 35.740853, -81.717968
14 – River Village 35.747091, -81.706037
15 – Rocky Ford 35.772230, -81.691189
16 – John’s River (Spur) 35.793163, -81.676864
17 – Huffman Bridge 35.789574, -81.619653
18 – Valdese Lakeside Park 35.774120, -81.546513
19 – Castle Bridge 35.781818, -81.524949
20 – Connelly Creek 35.784041, -81.484686
21 – Lakeside Park in Granite Falls 35.786480, -81.440664
22 – Rhodhiss 35.771500, -81.442400
23 – Rhodhiss Portage 35.771300, -81.438000

There is not an agency in charge of the trail, checking the conditions or promoting it. Information on this page is from the signs placed at launches. (Design work by DbD)

In addition to the large info/map sign, each site has GPS coordinates that can be seen from the water with distance to next launch.

Check Lake Levels

Check Flow Release

Flow Arrival Times


Current launch area at Valdese Lakeside Park – formal launch to be constructed
Mileage along the River
Mileage along the River – Approx 10 miles Huffman Bridge to Granite Falls – adding John’s River to Rhodhiss would be 15 miles

History of the Catawba River – The river is named after the Catawba Indians – “the people of the river.” Running for 220 miles, it starts in McDowell County and ends in SC as the Wateree River. Duke Energy is responsible for managing the reservoirs and regulating development on the river.

Organizations Caring for the River

River Cleanup by Kayak organized by CRWC and FVR