Exploring the High Country’s Waterways

An unforgettable High Country winter wouldn’t be complete without skiing or snowboarding, just as an unforgettable summer wouldn’t be complete without taking advantage of its refreshing mountain waterways and enjoying their beauty.

Kayaking and canoeing offer endless possibilities for adventure, relaxation and discovery on the water. Understanding their differences will enable you to determine which vessel best matches your interests.

Boone and Todd North Carolina

Todd, nestled along the scenic New River and framed by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, offers a respite from modern life’s constant rush and demands of “gotta-be-there-in-5”. Here, needs are simple: an inner tube slipped into the New River for floating, fishing pole in hand and gathering of like-minded nature lovers over early morning cake and coffee – these simple pleasures offer time well spent here.

Todd offers outdoor recreation, music, and arts that combine beautifully with its strong sense of community, making it both an exceptional place to visit and live. The New River, one of the oldest rivers on Earth, serves as the centerpiece for its many events and festivals; Walter & Annie Cook Memorial Park hosts annual family-friendly concerts featuring acts such as Doc Watson and Kruger Brothers as well as local performers.

Other noteworthy events held annually in Todd include the New River Marathon – an official Boston Marathon qualifying race – and its sister parade, Todd Liberty Parade on July 4th. Green Valley Community Park located within Todd’s historic downtown district offers picnic shelter, playing fields and hiking trails along with canoe/kayak ramp along the New River for all to enjoy.

Todd offers not only recreational activities, but also boasts an assortment of unique shops and restaurants that are must-sees for visitors. Its historic downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places while its iconic Todd General Store – an authentic North Carolina mountain treasure – has been fully restored back to its former glory.

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Todd is conveniently situated between Boone and West Jefferson, and features the picturesque New River State Park for camping and fishing activities. Additionally, mountain hikers will love exploring its trails or having a picnic by the water’s edge. For visitors seeking something a little more exciting, River Girl Fishing provides tubing services on this scenic waterway at its train depot location in Todd. They offer fly fishing lessons, equipment sales & rentals, tubing trips on this section of river as well.

The New River

West Virginia’s New River has long been an underrated travel destination. For decades, its deep gorge has attracted white-water rafters while Appalachian families have lived harmoniously alongside its beauty for generations – yet until 2020 when it became America’s 63rd national park, no one truly appreciated what this river had to offer.

The 72,000-acre park encapsulating the 1,000-foot-deep New River Gorge is easily one of the most dynamic national park units. Renowned for its natural beauty, but also an invaluable place to examine climate change impacts over 300 million years, the New River provides a breathtaking landscape to study in detail.

The New River runs directly through Appalachian mountain ridges and is widely considered one of the oldest rivers worldwide, yet that claim could be challenged by several other rivers such as French Broad in North Carolina or Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania that also cut through these mountain ranges.

At any rate, the New River is an impressively pristine and diverse waterway which should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The New River is an exceptional fly fishing destination, teeming with smallmouth bass and flathead catfish of both varieties that call its waters home. Fast water and massive rock outcroppings are its signature characteristics; but there are also several quiet, serene stretches where canoeists can linger to take in its breathtaking scenery of rock cliffs, Indian settlements and tobacco farms while casting jigs for Rock Bass near grass beds.

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Ideally, exploring the river should be done during spring when its waters have been revitalized by melting snowmelt. Flora such as trilliums, Virginia bluebells and flame azalea can also be seen blooming along rocky riverbanks. For an in-depth experience on its waters take part in guided rafting trips or kayak excursions and don’t miss taking in views from New River Gorge Bridge which looms high above it all – it gives an entirely unique perspective of this iconic monument to nature and engineering!

Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater kayaking may bring to mind images of daredevil Red Bull athletes navigating treacherous rapids or plunging down 75 foot waterfalls – but that is only scratching the surface when it comes to this engaging sport.

The High Country offers an abundance of waterways suitable for beginner kayakers looking to discover nature and test their skills on turbulent waters. To start your kayaking experience off right, take a class from a qualified instructor – this will provide the essential foundational knowledge on paddling and maneuvering your vessel – before finding like-minded paddlers with whom you can organize river runs!

Whitewater kayaking is a highly social activity, uniting people from different walks of life together through this thrilling sport. You’ll make lasting friendships within a vibrant community dedicated to this activity and all will experience the exhilaration and thrill of pushing themselves physically and mentally on the river together.

To find a supportive group of kayakers, consider joining either a club or joining an existing Facebook kayaking group. Be candid with yourself about your skill level and preferred river class; this will allow other paddlers to assess whether you can participate safely on trips and plan trips tailored specifically for you so you can experience all the thrills without fearing you might get injured!

For an advanced kayaking experience, consider hiring a whitewater guide who specializes in rivers classified as Class III or higher. Rivers classified as Class III typically offer larger waves that require fast maneuvering under pressure as well as difficult-to-locate eddies requiring precise movements to navigate.

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Rivers with Class IV rapids feature larger waves and dips that cannot be avoided, often without eddies at all – creating an unpredictable river current with steep drops, congested passageways and no safe haven. Meanwhile, rivers with Class five rapids offer more serious challenges and danger for all but experts as these waters have extremely violent currents as well as large holes with unpredictable depth.


Canoeing is a popular outdoor activity in North Carolina that allows participants to experience the peaceful surroundings of lakes and rivers. Canoeing can be both relaxing and exhilarating depending on your chosen adventure; some trips involve camping on river banks while others may involve sightseeing and exploration for full day excursions.

Kayaking is similar to canoeing, with some key differences: it utilizes a closed deck vessel in which one sits with legs extended and uses a double-bladed paddle; unlike canoes which are open vessels, kayaks provide for more storage space – making them great for camping trips!

Whitewater kayaking presents one of the toughest challenges and rewards, while flatwater kayaking provides less strenuous activity on still waters such as lakes or oceans.

If you’re new to kayaking, it is advised that you travel with either an expert guide or group tour. This will ensure you have all of the equipment needed and are taught how to use it properly; they may also help answer any queries that arise during your adventure.

Kayaking in the High Country can be enjoyed on many waterways, including the New River and numerous mountain lakes surrounded by state parks that provide scenic and tranquil environments suitable for this activity.

High Country lakes and rivers are home to an abundance of fish, making them popular fishing spots. Spend your day afloat catching some tasty trout dinner!