Paddle Trails

Click on trail numbers to get directions to access points and trail information.

Use the .pdf file listed below for printing!


Southern Coast Region 5 contains the following counties:
Brunswick (BR), New Hanover (NH), Onslow (ON), Pender (PE)
Coastal Region Paddle Trails Map with county names.

The trail names can be broken down as follows:
"region letter"-"County/ies the trail is in"-"trail number".
More detail on the Trail Naming Convention is available on the map list page.



Trail Descriptions


SC-BR/NH/CO/PE/BL/CU-36     Cape Fear River Trail, 147 Miles
Skill Level: Novice/Intermediate/Expert, Depending on Section Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult, Depending on Section Time Required: Varies, Refer to Trail Brochure and Other Maps
The Cape Fear River Trail begins at the J. Bayard Clark Park in Fayetteville and stretches through the coastal plain of North Carolina to the coastal area of Southport, the terminus of the trail. It begins as a broad, green corridor lined with tall forests and ends in the coastal estuaries. There are three locks and dams managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers along the river that must be portaged. These locks and dams require caution by those using the river, as several people have drowned at them over the years.

The lower portions of the river, from Wilmington to Southport are strongly influenced by tides. This section of the river is also used by large, ocean going ships, which call on the state port in Wilmington. The river is very wide along this section, providing ample room to avoid these large ships and other commercial and recreational boats that use the river, however caution should be exercised while paddling.

There are access sites along the river at 8 to 10 mile intervals for the most part. There are stretches where this is not the case and the distance between the access site may be as much as 35 miles. As you plan your trip, you will have to take this into consideration. To help you plan your trip, check the Cape Fear River Trail brochure and topographical maps. The brochure was produced by the Cape Fear River Reserve Committee and the staff of the Cape Fear Council of Governments, located in Wilmington. For copies of the map contact the Cape Fear Council of Governments at (910) 395-4553 or write them at 1480 Harbour Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.
Trail map for printing (Adobe .pdf file)

Access Name/Description: Latitude: Longitude:
Refer to the access points listed under the southernmost portion description.





SC-BR-5     Brunswick River Trail, 16 miles
Skill Level: Intermediate Difficulty: Moderate /Difficult Time Required: 6-16 Hours
From Davis Creek Estuarine Water Access Area paddle east down Cartwheel Branch approximately 1.2 miles to the Cape Fear River. Turn south and continue down the Cape Fear River, bearing east at the fork with the Brunswick River, just south of railroad bridge across the river. At approximately 4 miles you will intersect with the Northeast Cape Fear River. Paddle to the east side of the Cape Fear River along the Wilmington waterfront. At approximately 5.3 miles you will find the Dram Tree Park Boat Ramp located under the bridge. Continue south along the Wilmington waterfront and turn west and north as you pass the southern tip of Eagle Island, at the approximate 8.5 mile point. At this point you will be entering the Brunswick River and the trail follows the River upstream. At the approximate 12.3 mile point you will pass the John D. Long Park, operated by the Town of Belville. Continue paddling north up the Brunswick River and re-enter Cartwheel Branch at the approximate 15 mile point. Return to the access site to complete the 16 miles trail. Note: Much of this trail is affected by tidal influence, so paddlers should time their outings with the tidal flow.
Trail map for printing (Adobe .pdf file)

Access Name/Description: Latitude: Longitude:
1) Davis Creek Estuarine Water Access Area, Navassa

2) Dram Tree Park, Wilmington

3) John D. Long Park, Belville





SC-BR-6     Town Creek/Rice Creek Trail - 6 Miles
Skill Level: Beginner/Novice Difficulty: Easy Time Required: 2-6 Hours
The Town Creek Trail can be accessed from two different locations, Town Creek Pottery and the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission Boat Ramp on Rice Creek. It is approximately 4 miles between the two access sites. You can extend the paddle one mile, by paddling 1 mile west of US 17 at the Town Pottery Access. You can also paddle one mile south of the Wildlife Boat Ramp on Rice Creek.
Trail map for printing (Adobe .pdf file)

Access Name/Description: Latitude: Longitude:
1) Town Creek Pottery, US 17, North of Winnabow

2) Wildlife Boat Ramp, Rice Creek




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