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A view of the river at New River State Park
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Activities

Hiking

The park is a great place for a hike! See the Trails page for more information.

Paddling

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.

Fishing

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.

Picnicking

Each of the park's access areas includes a picnic area. Wagoner Road access 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 U.S. 221 access, 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 Alleghany County access, 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 offers two tables and two grills with restrooms nearby.

Elk Shoals access has five picnic tables available along the swim beach area, including one wheelchair-accessible table. There are no toilet facilities, drinking water or trash bins at this area. All trash must be carried out.

Swimming

A swim beach is located at Elk Shoals access. The swim beach is open to the public year-round, from sunrise to sunset. There are no toilet facilities at this access. All trash must be carried out.

 


Map of North Carolina

 

Contact the park

336-982-2587
new.river@ncparks.gov

 

ADDRESSES

U.S. 221 access
and visitor center

358 New River State Park Road
Laurel Springs, NC 28644

GPS: 36.46768, -81.34035

 

Wagoner access

1447 Wagoner Access Road
Jefferson, NC 28640

GPS: 36.415808, -81.387174

 

Kings Creek access

2250 Kings Creek Road
Piney Creek, NC 28663

GPS: 36.527628, -81.336359

 

Elk Shoals access

349 Methodist Camp Road
West Jefferson, NC 28694

GPS: 36.365324, -81.433277

 

HOURS

  • December to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • November:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
  • Monday to Friday:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
     
  • Saturday to Sunday:
    10:00am to 3:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
  • Closed November 1 to March 31
     
  • April:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     

The swim beach at Elk Shoals access is open from sunrise to sunset year-round.