Uwharrie River – Low Water Bridge to NC Hwy 109

Type of Adventure: Canoeing/Kayaking
Distance: 6.9 miles
Location: Uwharrie River, Montgomery County
Put-In:  Low Water Bridge Rd, 35.488717, -80.005631
Take-Out:  NC Hwy 109, 35.431145, -80.016659

This nearly 7 mile float on the Uwharrie River is great for a relaxing, easy going trip. A lot of work has been completed in the last few years to make this very paddle friendly.

Put in at the bridge on Low Water Bridge Rd. There is parking available here and a paved sidewalk to the river. This area is quite shallow here, so you may have to strategically maneuver your put in to get going.

There are a few Class I rapids on this trip, but overall, the paddle is very easy, and is a good first time paddle.

Paddling on the Uwharrie River below Low Water Bridge Rd.

Paddling on the Uwharrie River below Low Water Bridge Rd.

Since the Uwharrie River winds through the National Forest, be on the lookout for wildlife as it can be quite abundant. I snapped this picture of a bald eagle on one trip.

A bald eagle perched above the Uwharrie River.

A bald eagle perched above the Uwharrie River.

Flying Eagle

Before reaching the 109 bridge, Barnes Creek will empty into the Uwharrie River on your left. If the water is high enough, paddle up Barnes creek about 100 yards and you can see some old bridge pylons. I haven’t investigated what road crossed over here, but if you know, let me know in the comments.

See some old bridge pylons on Barnes Creek about 100 yards up from Uwharrie River.

See some old bridge pylons on Barnes Creek about 100 yards up from Uwharrie River.

Take out under the NC Hwy 109 bridge on the right. At one time, you had to scale rocks up the bank to the road, but now there is a concrete ramp all of the way down to the river, which makes take-out much easier.

Unfortunately there are no river gauges anywhere on the Uwharrie River near this location, so you will have to take a best guess at the river level before you go. The Uwharrie can be quite shallow in some places, so be prepared.

–Update 4/18/2015–
I went back and ran this section again, and took pictures of the put in and take outs.

The public put in at the Low Water Bridge Rd.

The public put in at the Low Water Bridge Rd.

The boat take out at NC 109.

The boat take out at NC 109.

Uwharrie Paddle GPX – For most GPS Units
Uwharrie Paddle KML – For Google Earth

Download All ExploreNCOutdoors GPS Files

Posted in Kayaking, Piedmont and tagged , , , , , .


  1. How should I check water level? Would you recommend continuing to Morrow Mt. Park another 2 miles?

    • Unfortunately there are not any stream gauges that report the water level online for Uwharrie River, so you won’t know until you get there. I have made this run 4 or 5 times over the years, and have never had much trouble with low water. But I do try to go in the spring and make sure it has rained in the last few days.

      As far as paddling on to Morrow Mountain, you could, but it is actually closer to 7 river miles from 109 to Morrow Mountain as the Uwharrie really starts to snake through the mountains there. It will likely add another few hours to your trip.

      Not far past Hwy 109, the water will start to really slow down as it backs up into the lake, so it is mostly flat water paddling, which will slow down your pace. And since Morrow Mountain is on the other side of Lake Tillery, your shuttle time will be extended. I expect it will take about 40 minutes or so to drive from put in at the Low Water Bridge to take out at the boat ramp at Morrow Mountain.

      So bottom line, if you decide to go all the way down, allow plenty of extra time.

  2. The past 3 times we have taken this route, it had been so low we had to do a whole lot of scooting and portaging, like almost 1/4! Used to be a guage at 109, not sure why there isn’t now…

  3. Who could be contacted to ask about putting new water level gauges back? This would make it easier and more time consuming to plan a trip.

  4. There’s a new paddle access on the Uwharrie at the mouth of Dutchman’s creek.
    300 Dennis Rd., Troy, NC
    -Go south on 109 toward Troy
    Right on river rd
    Dennis road will be in the right

  5. I would like to kayak and fish this stretch of river. Is there smallmouth in here? How far from Charlotte NC? Thanks

  6. WARNING – FEBRUARY 2020 – This area is now private property and owned by ? – who are NOT friendly- not only that but private security has been hired as well. A short family hike turned into a nightmare recently. Don’t know what the situation is with whoever ‘owns’ the land now, but there’s security, cameras all over the place. Police showed up too and the ‘trespassers’ were formally escorted off the property. NOTHING has been clearly posted out there, warning others – and as this has been a fantastic outdoor hiking, kayaking and general outdoor family fun spot – it’s really a disappointment. Went out there with friends two days ago and sure enough – there’s ‘watchers’ in the woods. What a shame.

  7. Thank you for the very detailed directions! Would you happen to know if this stretch is predominantly through private land? We would love to take our teens tubing down this river, stopping to check out cool things along the way.

    I love the fact that you put in grid coordinates for the drop in and out locations. I lucked into your site via Google, but when I get off work I’ll be exploring more of the site! Thank you so much for taking your time to do this.

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