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A view of the river at New River State Park
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The park is a great place for a hike! See the Trails page for more information.


Easy paddling and spectacular scenery make the New River a natural canoe trail for inexperienced paddlers. Its shallow, gentle waters and mild rapids are perfect for beginners, families and groups, but even expert paddlers return again and again to experience the river's beauty and tranquility.

Along the course, small tributary streams merge with the river and minor rapids stir the water's surface, adding excitement as canoes are maneuvered downstream. The best months for higher water levels are May and June. August and September are low-flow periods. Get current flow information from the USGS website.

Canoeists may leave their vehicles and launch canoes at the Wagoner Road Access Area, located at river mile 26, at the US 221 Access Area, located at river mile 15, or at the Kings Creek Access at river mile 7. All vehicles must register for overnight parking. Canoes may also be launched from several bridges and roadways that cross the river. Parts of the river are suitable for tubing at times. Contact the park office for outfitter tube and canoe rentals. 

The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce offers canoe and outfitter information, as well as information about the local area. Visitors desiring to paddle the New River may contact their staff for launch location and take-out instructions. See a CanoeAsh map here.

Below is a listing of estimated river mileage and paddling times between canoe access sites. The time estimates are based on moderate paddling experience.

  • NC 163 Bridge to Elk Shoals Methodist Campground: 5.5 miles, 3 hr.
  • NC 163 Bridge to SR 1159 Boggs Rd. Bridge: 8.0 miles, 4 hr.
  • Boggs Bridge to NC 88 Bridge (Index, NC): 6.0 miles, 3 hr. 30 min.
  • NC 88 Bridge to Wagoner Rd. Access: 5.0 miles, 2 hr.
  • Wagoner Road Access to US 221 Access: 11.0 miles, 4 hr. 20 min.
  • Wagoner Road Access to SR 1595 Gentry Rd. Bridge: 5.5 miles, 2 hr. 20 min.
  • SR 1595 Gentry Road to SR 1601 Fulton Reeves Bridge: 3.0 miles, 1 hr.
  • Fulton Reeves Bridge to US 221 Bridge: 4.5 miles, 2 hr.
  • US 221 Access to Alleghany Access: 15.0 miles, 6 hr. 30 min.
  • US 221 Bridge to Kings Creek Rd.: 7.5 miles, 3 hr. 30 min.
  • Kings Creek Rd. to Alleghany Co. Access: 5.0 miles, 2 hr. 45 min.
  • Alleghany Co. Access to Va./N.C. Rt. 93 Bridge: 4.0 miles, 2 hr.


Cast your line from the river banks and reel in tonight's dinner. The south and north forks of the river provide some of the best smallmouth and redeye bass fishing in the region. The south fork downstream from the US 221 bridge is stocked with muskellunge. Trout fishing is excellent in the smaller, faster tributaries, most of which are designated general trout waters and are stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout. Rockfish also migrate up the New River in the spring behind the shad. Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.  

See an Ashe County Fishing Map here.


Each of the park's access areas includes a picnic area. Wagoner Road Access Area has a 10-table covered shelter with grills and a fireplace. The shelter is available for group gatherings and may be reserved. A grove of apple trees provides a canopy for 13 tables and two grills. Restrooms and drinking water are located nearby at the park office and the campground shower-house.

The US 221 Access Area, located at river mile 15, has a small picnic area downstream from the campground. Bathrooms are located between the campground and the picnic area. An 8-table shelter with a grill is also available by reservation.

The community building located at the 221 Access features a large meeting room, kitchen facilities and restrooms. Contact the park office for reservations and a fee schedule. 

Three picnic tables are provided in an open meadow at the Alleghany County Access Area, located at river mile 1 near the Virginia border. This area can be reached only by canoe. A pit toilet and a pump for drinking water are also provided. The Kings Creek Access Area offers two tables and two grills with restrooms nearby.

358 New River State Park Road
Laurel Springs, NC 28644



Map of North Carolina

GPS: 36.46768, -81.34035


Wagoner Access & US 221 Access
December - February: 8am - 6pm
March, April, October: 7am - 9pm
May - September: 7am - 10pm
November: 7am - 8pm
Closed Christmas Day

Visitor Center & Office
8am - 5pm week days
10am - 4pm weekends
Closed Christmas Day

Kings Creek Access 
Closed November 1st thru March 31st. Re-opens April 1st.
Hours of operation are: 
April, October: 8am - 8pm
May - September: 8am - 9pm