Monday, May 21, 2012

June 2 First Saturday Outing on the Dan from Hanging Rock to Moratock Park

You're invited to DRBA's June 2 First Saturday Outing on a popular section of the Dan River from Hanging Rock State Park to Moratock Park in Danbury, NC. Will Truslow, past president of DRBA and an avid kayaker, will coordinate the scenic five-mile float.

We'll meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Hanging Rock State Park canoe access off Flinchum Road (GPS coordinates: 36.4299, -80.2482) to unload boats and gear and set the shuttle. Boat rentals and shuttle will be provided by the nearby Dan River Company, 336-593-2628,, or Three Rivers Outfitters of Eden, 336-627-6215,

According to Truslow, "This outing goes through one of the most scenic sections of the Dan in Stokes County. There are several stretches of high bluffs coming down to the river's edge, along with areas of dense rhododendron. Just spectacular. Well into the trip there is a cave in a rock cliff."

Adds Charlie Williams, former DRBA outings chair, "At normal levels this section offers mostly calm waters with one easy Class II rapid at Moratock Park," just before the take-out. "The easy put-in and take-out make this an excellent family trip."

Shortly after the put-in, boaters will pass under the NC 89 Highway Bridge. About three miles into the trip is Seven Island Bridge. Except for these two landmarks, most of the trip reveals little evidence of human disturbance, with nearly half of the river corridor passing through State Natural Heritage Areas. At this time of year, wildflowers may be in bloom along the banks.

After loading their boats at Moratock Park, participants may enjoy visiting the historic 1843 Moratock Furnace, a 40-foot-high granite structure where iron ore from local mines was smelted. According to "The Dan River Atlas," water from the river was channeled through "an ingenious tunnel through the horseshoe bend" to power the bellows for the furnace. Only the furnace near the canoe access remains today.

Additional interesting facts about this river section's history, culture, and nearby attractions are found in Maps 68 -- 70 of DRBA's publication, "An Insider's Guide to the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia," available at .

Participants in the outing are asked to provide boat and paddles, life jacket, lunch and water, to dress in layers of artificial (quick-drying) fabric or wool, and to sign a waiver.

DIRECTIONS: To reach the Hanging Rock Access from Stuart, VA, travel south on Route 8. Turn left on Route 89. Travel about ¼ mile, and turn right onto Flinchum Road, which is marked by a brown DAN RIVER ACCESS sign. Drive past the Dan River Company on the way to the concrete launch ramp.

From the town of Danbury, travel west on Route 89. Pass the hospital and the road to Hanging Rock State Park. About one mile west of the hospital, turn left onto Flinchum Road, which is marked by a brown DAN RIVER ACCESS sign. Drive past the Dan River Company on the way to the concrete launch ramp.

MORE INFORMATION: Will Truslow, 336-547-1903,