The Mayo River begins in Virginia and makes its way south to merge with the Dan River in Madison, so if you want to check off “paddling across state lines” this is the river for you! The Mayo River has a lot to offer advanced paddlers. Class 2 and 3 rapids can be found in the upper section near the Anglin Mill Rd. Bridge and Mayo Beach. Once past the rapids, the river calms down creating a leisurely and scenic paddle until it reaches two hydroelectric dams that prevent the ability to paddle the entire length of the river. Paddlers must exit the river before or at the Business 220 bridge to avoid the dams. This river is truly a hidden gem full of history, wildlife, and swimming holes, making it a paddlers paradise. The Mayo River’s water quality allows paddlers to enjoy clear and clean waters that have a turquoise tint. This spot is near and dear to the community surrounding it, so always be respectful of the land by following Leave No Trace principles. Leave your spray paint at home, and take your trash with back home with you! Many sections of the river have poor to zero cell service so it is extra important to have downloaded or printed maps to navigate the river, and roads, to and from your put in and take out.
MAYO RIVER TRIP IDEAS
These paddles are great for the whole family. These segments are also great if you are new to paddling and looking to get a taste of the paddling world! These segments will be under 2 hours and will have few if any rapids, no dam portages, and are generally calmer areas to paddle in a canoe, or flat water kayak. When its possible, we pick accesses that have bathrooms and formal river accesses. Want to learn more about paddling with the family? REI has an amazing guide.
These segments will have a great payoff for the hard work you put into paddling. These routes will range from beginner to intermediate depending on rapids and length. Always bring extra water, snacks, and safety supplies. Check out the homepage for a packing list and safety information. Don’t forget to tag @Piedmontlegacytrails or #Piedmontlegacytrails in your pictures!
These are the sections for you! These segments will cover our Advanced level of paddling with class 2+ rapids. These sections will typically require gear like whitewater kayaks, sprayskirts, helmets, and skills like the ability to wet exit your boat. If you are paddling in advanced rapids, consider taking a swift water rescue course at the White Water Center or Landmark Learning or Cape Fear River Adventures.
06) Mayo River State Park Mayodan Access at NC-135 Bridge to Jacobs Creek Batteau
Put in: NC 135 Bridge: 36.4073, -79.9650
Take out: Jacobs Creek Batteau: 36.3897, -79.8883
Start your paddle on the Mayo River and end on the Dan River! This route will merge with the Dan around 1.5 miles in. This paddle can be done in a canoe or kayak. Consider bringing a picnic so that you can pull off onto one of the sandy banks along the route. It will make a great stretch break, sunscreen reapplication, and picnic! Along this paddle you can see wing dams, shoals, a large island, and the remains of the old batteau navigation system! This paddle is a great opportunity to educate your kiddos about the history in the piedmont. We always reccommend checking out the put in and take out to know what landmarks you will be looking for when you exit the river. Learn more here!
SIGHTS WORTH SEEING
01) Moores Mill, VA to Anglin Mill Bridge
Put in: Moores Mill 36.5680, -79.9860 Shoulder of Moores Mill Rd.
Take out: Anglin Mill Bridge: 36.5353, -79.9909
Have you ever wanted to paddle from Virginia to North Carolina? Then this is the route for you! This intermediate section requires paddling experience as you pass through a series of class 1-2 rapids. The Byrds Ledge rapid marks the border of NC and VA! Class II rapids require being able to read water, boat handling skills and proper equipment. The “Grand Staircase” is the most challenging section of the river. You’ll know it when you see it!
02) Anglin Mill to 770 Bridge (The Boiling Hole)
Put in: Anglin Mill River Access: 36.5353, -79.9909
Take out: 770 Bridge Take out: 36.471239, -79.950678
This section highlights the Boiling Hole at Mayo Beach. The boiling hole is a class 2-3 rapid (depending on river flow). After the rapids near Mayo Beach, you will paddle through about a dozen class 1-2 rapids getting gentler as you paddle farther downstream. The rapids are easy and separated by stretches of relatively flat water. As you paddle keep an eye out for herons, deer, beavers and lots of fish weirs.
There are many options for put ins and take outs depending on the length and difficulty you want to paddle.
Put in Options:
- Anglin Mill Bridge: (Advanced option) 5 minutes upstream of Mayo Beach
- Mayo Beach Access: (Intermediate option) the further downstream you put in, the less rapids you will encounter. You can access the water in many areas along the beach depending on what rapids you choose to start on.
- 770 Bridge: Parking is limited on the shoulder of 770. Plan your shuttle accordingly.
MAYO RIVER INTERACTIVE MAP
The Mayo River is orange. Click on each number to see details of each paddling segment.
PRINTABLE BLUEWAYS GUIDE
- Visit USGS
- Scroll to the nearest water gauge to your put in.
- Check the “Daily Discharge, Cubic Feet Per Second”
- See where that number fits within the suggestions below.
- Minimum: 150 cfs / 1.75′ – You can paddle most sections of the river. Anything lower and you will go on the best walk you ever took with a kayak! low levels on the river will move slower, adding time to your paddle.
- Medium 250 cfs / 2.0′ – Whitewater kayaking can begin, and the river flow is quicker, causing your trip time to lower. This can increase rapid classifications (Ex: Class II to Class III etc.)
- Maximum: 1,000 cfs / 3.5′ – the river is dangerous and even expert paddlers should stay off the water.
MAYO RIVER ACCESSES AND TRIP DETAILS
ONLY AVAILABLE ON DESKTOP OR TABLET.
VISIT INTERACTIVE MAP FOR INFO. DATA AVAILABLE ON DESKTOP OR TABLET.
|River||River Access Put in||Put In Address||Miles to Next Access||Difficulty||Est. Time to Paddle||Est. Time to tube||Put in||Take Out||Notes|
|Mayo||01) Moores Mill, VA||36.5680, -79.9860||6 Miles||Intermediate||2+ Hours||5+ Hours||Left||Left||Have you ever wanted to paddle from Virginia to North Carolina? Then this is the route for you! This intermediate section requires paddling expierence as you pass through a series of class I-II rapids. The “Byrd Ledge” rapid marks the border of NC and VA! Class 2 rapids require being able to read water and boat handling skills along with the proper equipment. The most challenging section is the “Grand Staircase” series of ledges. This area has almost no cell service. Be prepared navigate without digital maps.|
|Mayo||02) Anglin Mill Bridge||36.5353, -79.9909||0.5 Miles||Expert||5 min.||Not Reccommended||Left||Left||This short section is packed full of ledges and class 1-3 rapids at the “Boiling Hole” This section can be combined whith for a longer paddle, or you can stay and run this section a few times to practice your white water kayaking skills! This area has almost no cell service. Be prepared navigate without digital maps.|
|Mayo||03) Mayo Beach (The Boiling Hole)||36.525975, -79.989620||6.5 Miles||Intermediate||2.5 Hours||Not Reccommended||Left||Left||While setting up your shuttle system at the 770 bridge, we highly suggest that you walk down to the river so that you know how to exit under the bridge 770 Bridge before you paddle to it. Once you shuttle to the put in, you can start wherever you like along the Mayo Beach (Anglin Mill River Access). For more experienced paddlers, put in farther upstream to test out the class 2 boiling hole rapid. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, put your kayaks in further downstream to skip the rapids. This 6.5 mile section flows through about a dozen class 1-1+ rapids. This area has almost no cell service. Be prepared navigate without digital maps. Looking for more adventure after your paddle? Check out the waterfalls at the Deshazo Mill Access less than 2 miles from Mayo Beach!|
|Mayo||04) 770 Bridge||36.471239, -79.950678||3.5 Miles||Beginner||1 Hour||2 Hours||Left||Left||This is only recommended as a take out location. This area has almost no cell service. Be prepared navigate without digital maps.|
|Mayo||05) 220 Business Bridge||36.4388, -79.9379||Take Out ONLY – DAM AHEAD||Advanced||–||–||–||Left||You MUST take out at this acces. DAM AHEAD. This area has almost no cell service. Be prepared navigate without digital maps.|
|Mayo||06) NC-135 Bridge||36.4073, -79.9650||6 Miles||Beginner||2+ Hours||4+ Hours||Left||Right||Start your paddle on the Mayo River and end on the Dan River! This route will merge with the Dan around 1.5 miles in. This paddle can be done in a canoe or kayak. Consider bringing a picnic so that you can pull off onto one of the sandy banks along the route. It will make a great stretch break, sunscreen reapplication, and picnic! Along this paddle you can see wing dams, shoals, a large island, and the remains of the old batteau navigation system! This paddle is a great opportunity to educate your kiddos about the history in the piedmont.|
|Dan||08) Jacobs Creek Batteau||36.3897, -79.8883||–||–||–||–||–||–||See Dan River Access “Jacobs Creek Batteau for information about paddling beyond this access.|
MAYO RIVER RESOURCES
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Disclaimer: This information is used entirely at the reader’s discretion and is made available on the expressed condition that no liability, expressed or implied, is accepted by the author or publisher or any of its associates, employees, branches, or subsidiaries for the accuracy, content, or use thereof. River channels are dynamic features and thus change frequently; the boater must be aware that hazards exist and be wary of them. Paddling poses significant potential hazards, including the risk of injury or death, and each person participating in this activity needs to understand the risks involved, obtain the necessary training, and take all the needed precautions. This guide provides general information on the topic of paddling, and by providing this information, we do not assume any liability for its use.