Glencoe to Red Slide Park

Glencoe Paddle Access

2348 Glencoe Street, Burlington, NC 27217


Red Slide Park

389 Lang Street, Haw River, NC 27258

Downstream from Glencoe Paddle Access:
Distance: 5.0 miles/3.0 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Minimum USGS Gauge Level: 2.25 ft at Haw River

The five miles from Glencoe to Haw River is truly one of the Haw River’s showcase paddles. Rocky ledges make the paddle challenging while a solid current removes all trace of drudgery. This stretch of river was the first to be populated by Europeans 300 years ago, yet the only sign of civilization is historic textile mills that tower over the river.

From the put-in at Glencoe, the old mill village that’s found new life, you hit a nice Class I-II run within a tenth of a mile. The drop is more significant in the center and river right; stay to the left of a small island river left. There’s a drop near the end of the island (stay left), then scootch to the right to follow a nice tongue over a larger drop of a little over a foot.

Thanks to the presence of mills past and present on this stretch of the Haw there’s another Class I-II drop in another tenth of a mile, followed by more Class I action. Within the first half mile you’ll have a good deal of whitewater action when the river is above the recommended 2.25 feet at Haw River.

At just under 2.5 miles the river cleaves around Goat Island. Nearly a mile long, Goat Island is the longest island on the Haw, and probably the most celebrated, with a history that includes an abandoned school bus, an abandoned 18-wheeler, goats, a purported goat man, and Chris-Chris – an apelike monster said to be a full-time resident.

The first possible take out is at mile 3.6, river right at the Town & Country Paddle Access.

Continuing downriver, you encounter a rock playground that, when the water is right, offers Class I fun for 150 yards or so. It’s an interesting 150 yards, with large rocks nicely spaced to create the illusion of a rambunctious passage but with plenty of cushion for safety. Scout the passage from rocks below the put-in before putting in…not so much for safety purposes, but rather to see where, at the current water level, the most fun lies.

A little over a mile later, you’re at Red Slide Park; take-out is river right.