Rocky River Blueway

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Trailhead

The Rocky River Blueway has six canoe/kayak launches located along its course.  The northern most put-in is located in Pharr Family Preserve and is maintained by Catawba Lands Conservancy. The next launch is 4.5 miles downstream at Riverbend Farm and is maintained by the Town of Midland. At this time, there is no access point between Riverbend Farm and ROPP Nature Park. 

Launch 1: Pharr Family Preserve 

Address - 9111 Mt. Pleasant Road South, Midland, NC 28107 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

*The canoe/kayak launch is 300 yards from the parking lot and trailhead.

Operated by Catawba Lands Conservancy 

 

Launch 2: Riverbend Farm (Approximately 4 miles from Pharr Family Preserve)

Address - 12150 McManus Road, Midland, NC 28107 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by the Town of Midland

 

Launch 3: Oakboro Blueway Park I (Approximately 18 miles from Riverbend Farm)

Address - 3615 NC Highway 205, Oakboro, NC 28129 MAP

*This address is on the Stanly County side of the bridge, but the access is on the Union County side of the bridge.

Operated by the Town of Oakboro

 

Launch 4: Oakboro Blueway Park II(Approximately 7 miles from Oakboro Blueway Park I) 

Address - 10739 NC 138, Oakboro, NC 28129 MAP

Operated by the Town of Oakboro

 

Launch 5: Plank Road (Approximately 10 miles from Oakboro Blueway Park II) 

Address - 5437 Plank Road, Wadesboro NC 28170 MAP

*This address is approximate. The launch is located where Plank Road crosses the Rocky River, near the intersection with Woodall Road. 

Operated by Anson County

 

Launch 6: Norwood (Approximately 5.5 miles from Plank Road)

*No physical address is available. The launch is located on Riverview Road, a few hundred feet from the intersection of Highway US 52.

Operated by Town of Norwood

 

After approximately 7.5 miles downstream, the Rocky River confluences with the Pee Dee River and continues for another 19 miles to Lilesville, NC to take out at Blewett Falls Lake. At this access, the Thread Trail blueway segment of the Pee Dee River ends. There is a dam at Blewett Falls Lake, but no trail to use to portage around the dam. You can access the river below the dam at Blewett's Grave Access and continue a short distance to the Rockingham Access. Please view the Pee Dee River Blueway Map for more information.

 

Description

The Rocky River is part of the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin, and the river forms the boundary between Cabarrus, Stanly, Union and Anson Counties.  The Rocky River’s headwaters begin in southern Iredell county and terminate at the confluence with Yadkin Pee Dee at Fork Farms (Catawba Lands Conservancy has a conservation easement on this property) in Stanly County. It is unconfirmed but believed that the Rocky River is the longest undammed river in North Carolina. The Rocky River Blueway of the Carolina Thread Trail network is approximately 49 miles in length where paddlers can experience varying degrees of difficulty depending on the amount of precipitation.    

On this stretch of blueway, you will experience what the Piedmont floodplain forest habitat has to offer a paddler visiting upclose. Over 50 species of birds call this area home, including some imperiled species within the region. Birders will enjoy the opportunity to see prairie warbler, Prothonotary warbler, red-headed woodpecker, great blue heron, eastern meadowlark, pileated woodpecker, and kingfisher. Paddlers may also hear the calls of the Cope's gray tree frogs, cricket frogs, spring peepers and upland chorus frogs or see over 10 species of butterflies like the Carolina satyr. The shoreline is trimmed with numerous floodplain trees, including the bitternut hickory, sourwood, cottonwood, swamp chestnut oak, and the black walnut.  

This portion of the Rocky River is also very close to the Little Meadow Creek.  This is historically relevant as the Little Meadow Creek was the site of the America’s first Gold Rush.  For more information, visit  the Reed Gold Mine

Trail Manager

The site manager for each launch is listed under the launch information. 

 

Catawba Lands Conservancy
Land Stewardship Director
4530 Park Road, Suite 420
Charlotte, NC 28209
Phone: 704-342-3330 x209
sharon@catawbalands.org

Town of Midland
4293B Hwy 24-27 East
Midland, NC 28107
Phone: 704-888-2232
townofmidland@midlandnc.us

Town of Oakboro
109 North Main Street
Oakboro, NC 28129
Phone: 704-485-3351
townofoakboro@oakboro.com

Town of Norwood
Parks and Recreation
116 South Main Street
Norwood, NC 28128

Comments

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The Rocky River Blueway starts at Pharr Family Preserve in the Town of Midland and continues down for approximately 49 miles before meeting with the Pee Dee River for another 19 miles to the Bleweet Falls Lake Access in Lilesville, NC. This undammed blueway provides long distance flatwater kayaking and canoeing opportunities. 

Quick Facts

Trail Uses Paddling
Location Midland (NC)
Norwood (NC)
Oakboro (NC)
Wadesboro (NC)
Difficulty Moderate
Length49.5 miles, One Way
Surface
Fees No
PetsPermitted on leash
Motorized vehiclesNot Permitted
ADA CompliantNo
Number of parking spacesVaries
RestroomsNo
Hours of operationDawn - Dusk

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Wear light-colored clothing, ideally DEET-free insect repellent, or a headnet to safely keep the biting bugs at bay.

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