South Fork River Blueway

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The South Fork River Blueway has a number of boat launches located along its course.  The northern most put-in is located in Spencer Mountain.

Launch 1: Spencer Mountain

Address - 261 Stanley-Spencer Mountain Road, Spencer Mountain, NC 28164 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

*Special note: The Spencer Mountain access is by permit only.  A permit can be requested by contacting the Catawba Lands Conservancy (See information below). Please allow up to 5 business days to process your request. 

Operated by Catawba Lands Conservancy 


Launch 2: South Fork River Park (Approximately 3.5 miles from Spencer Mountain)

Address - 4185 Mountain View Street, Gastonia, NC 28056 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Gaston County


Launch 3: R. Y. McAden Take-out in McAdenville (Approximately 2 miles from South Fork River Park)

Address - 119 Willow Drive, McAdenville, NC 28101 MAP 

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Catawba Lands Conservancy 


Launch 4: South Fork Village (Approximately 1.3 miles from R. Y. McAden Tske-Out)

Address - 2000 Rivers Edge Drive, Belmont, NC MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Town of Cramerton

*Suns Up Scuba rents kayaks and SUPs as well as offers paddling lessons. They are located at the parking area.


Launch 5: C.B. Huss River Access (Approximately 0.5 miles from South Fork Village) 

Address - 382 11th Street, Cramerton, NC 28032 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Town of Cramerton


Launch 6: Goat Island Park (Approximately .5 miles from C.B Huss)

Address -  MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Town of Cramerton

* The Floating Goat  rents kayaks and canoes. They are located within Floyd & Blackies Coffeehouse & Icecream along 8th Avenue. 


Launch 7: Centennial Center (Across the river from Goat Island Park)

Address - 100 Center St, Cramerton, NC 28032 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Town of Cramerton


Launch 8: Riverside Park (Approximately 1 mile from Goat Island Park)

Address - Riverside Drive, Cramerton, NC 28032 MAP

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Town of Cramerton


Launch 9: Baltimore River Access (Approximately 0.5 miles from Riverside Park)

Address - 301 Cramer Mountain Road, Cramerton, NC 28032 MAP 

Canoe/Kayak Launch: MAP

Operated by Town of Cramerton

*The launch is located at the foot of Cramer Mountain and near the historic Baltimore Community in Cramerton.  Future plans have a greenway and sidewalk connection to the top of the mountain and to downtown Cramerton.


The South Fork Catawba River is west of the Catawba River and merges with the Catawba River at Lake Wylie near the South Carolina border. The river offers miles of natural landscapes, with great fishing and paddling opportunities. The South Fork Catawba River is home to a variety of wildlife, including great blue herons, osprey, bald eagles, and deer. Users who access the river from the Spencer Mountain River Access will paddle through some of the most ecologically diverse lands in our region, many of which are permanently protected by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. Downriver from the dam, paddlers will encounter the headwaters of Lake Wylie, enjoying slower moving water and a number of rich wetlands along the stream banks.

There are currently nine access points for the South Fork River blueway. Catawba Lands Conservancy manages the Spencer Mountain River Access which is a canoe/kayak launch to provide public access to the South Fork Catawba River. The most popular paddling trip is from Spencer Mountain River Access to the R.Y. McAden River Access; this access point is 5.5 miles downriver and the trip takes approximately 2.5 hours. Depending on the current water level, the river features may vary from slow moving water with a few Class I/II rapids to more concentrated rapids at approximately mile 3.5.  

There is a dam approximately 5.5 miles downriver from Spencer Mountain River Access. Users can exit the river on river right (west side of the river) before the dam at the R.Y. McAden Access just south of the I-85 overpass. Those who wish to continue downriver to Goat Island Park or Riverside Park can use the Adam Springs Portage Trail on river left (east side of the river), approximately 450 feet downriver from the R.Y. McAden Access. Look out for a white sign (see below in pictures) stating “Danger Dam Ahead. Take Out Here for Portage”. Please be aware that the portage trail is close to the dam. We suggest paddling as close to river left as possible (see *Special notes). The South Fork blueway continues for another 2.5 miles, ending at the Goat Island Park launch or Riverside Park launch, both in the town of Cramerton.

Other Information


Approximately 5.5 miles downriver of the Spencer Mountain River Access, just south of the I-85 overpass, paddlers will encounter the McAdenville Dam.  Paddlers can exit the river at the R.Y. McAden Access on river right.  For paddlers wishing to continue downriver to Cramerton, you can use the Adam Springs Portage on river left. 


Available Paddling Services:

Suns Up Scuba

704-829-3455 in Belmont, NC

Floating Goat

704-734-8599 in Cramerton, NC


Trail Manager

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

Town of Cramerton
Parks & Recreation Department
Director, Parks & Recreation
155 N. Main Street
Cramerton, NC 28032
Phone: 704-824-4231

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

Gaston County
Parks and Recreation
1303 Dallas-Cherryville Hwy
Dallas, NC 28034
Phone: 704-922-2160

City of Belmont
Assistant City Manager
PO Box 431
Belmont, NC 28012
Phone: 704-825-5586


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This Blueway starts at Spencer Mountain and continues downriver to the Town of Cramerton. Along the way, visitors can enjoy paddling through over 1,300 acres of permanently protected land by the Catawba Lands Conservancy.

Quick Facts

Trail Uses Paddling
Location Belmont (NC)
Cramerton (NC)
Lowell (NC)
McAdenville (NC)
Ranlo (NC)
Spencer Mountain (NC)
Difficulty Moderate
Length8.4 miles, One Way
Surface Other
Fees No
Motorized vehiclesNot Permitted
ADA CompliantNo
Number of parking spacesVaries
Hours of operationDawn - Dusk

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