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Weekend Getaways

The 15 Longest Rivers in North Carolina

North Carolina has a various terrain of mountains, seashores, swamps, and rivers. It’s a state positioned within the southeastern area of the United State of America and is wealthy in wildlife. What sorts of rivers move throughout the state of North Carolina? Which rivers are the biggest? What sorts of wildlife may be present in and alongside the rivers’ banks? Let’s check out the 15 longest rivers in North Carolina to be taught extra about what makes these rivers so distinctive.

Rivers in North Carolina

A river is mainly a flowing supply of water that drains into a much bigger physique


There are roughly 37,853 miles of river in North Carolina. About 144.5 miles are designated as “wild and free”.

A river is a physique of water that strikes and flows into a bigger physique of water—normally a lake, ocean, or sea. In a means, you may consider rivers because the “veins” of our planet as a result of rivers pump water and vitamins by and throughout ecosystems all around the world. The state of North Carolina is dwelling to many of those superb river techniques.

As we take a look at the 15 longest rivers in North Carolina, we shall be measuring their measurement primarily based on their lengths, fairly than depths or discharge quantities. So, what are these 15 longest rivers within the state of North Carolina?

15. Deep River – 125 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Deep River
Deep River is a translation of the Indian title sapponah which suggests “deep river.”

CJ Nunnery/

The Deep River flows for 125 miles throughout the state of North Carolina. It then joins the Haw River at Mermaid Level, serving to to type the Cape Worry River. The Deep River is dwelling to the Cape Worry Shiner. The Cape Worry Shiner is a critically endangered minnow endemic to the central a part of North Carolina. This implies this fish can solely be present in North Carolina. Actions like kayaking and paddling are fairly well-liked alongside the Deep River. Guests additionally take pleasure in outings on the Deep River State Path alongside its banks.

14. Northeast Cape Worry River – 131 miles

Carnivorous plant, Venus flytrap, in a garden in Sydney, Australia.
The Northeast Cape Worry River is dwelling to many distinctive species of wildlife, together with the carnivorous Venus flytrap. de Mamiel

The Northeast Cape Worry River is 131 miles lengthy. It begins close to the city of Mount Olive and joins the Cape Worry River on the north finish of Wilmington, North Carolina. The Northeast Cape Worry is dwelling to many distinctive species, like alligators, Venus flytraps, bowfins, and pileated woodpeckers.

13. Lumber River – 133 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Lumber River
The Lumber River was initially named “Drowning Creek.” Its title was modified in 1809 to mirror the world’s rising lumber business.

Man J. Sagi/

The Lumber River flows for 133 miles by south-central North Carolina and into South Carolina. In South Carolina, it joins the Little Pee Dee River and later the Pee Dee River. The Lumber River is a blackwater river. Decaying vegetation leach tannins into the water, which makes it seem like it has a darkish shade to it. It’s the solely blackwater river in North Carolina that’s marked as a “Nationwide Wild and Scenic River.” The Lumber River is taken into account considered one of North Carolina’s Prime Ten Pure Wonders.

12. Hiwassee River – 147 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Hiwassee River
The Hiwassee River flows by a city in Georgia that additionally shares its title.


The Hiwassee River begins on the north slope of the Rocky Mountains within the state of Georgia. It flows for 147 miles by North Carolina and Tennessee earlier than it joins with the Tennessee River. A well-known Cherokee Indian legend tells the story of an enormous leech the scale of a home that had energy over the river and will command the waters to devour folks.

11. Broad River – 150 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Broad River
Though they share a reputation, the Broad River is a distinctly separate river from the French Broad River.


The Broad River—to not be confused with the French Broad River—is about 150 miles lengthy. It flows by western North Carolina in addition to northern South Carolina. There are a number of damns scattered throughout the size of the Broad River, in addition to highways that minimize throughout it.

10. Cape Worry River – 202 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Cape Fear River
The Cape Worry River’s water is sluggish because it strikes by wetlands and forested swamps. The river additionally passes by Wilmington.

Paul Brady Pictures/

The Cape Worry River is 202 miles lengthy. It begins the place the Haw River and the Deep River converge within the city Moncure and flows into the Atlantic Ocean close to Cape Worry. The Cape Worry River is a blackwater river, with slow-moving water that flows by wetlands and forested swamps.

Traditionally, the Cape Worry River was an essential transportation route for early European settlements and colonial pioneers. Right this moment, the Cape Worry River supplies many locations which might be nice for swimming, picnicking, fishing, and boating.

9.      French Broad River – 213 miles

Largest River in North Carolina - French Broad River
The French Broad River is older than the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Dominick Aprile/

The French Broad River is 213 miles lengthy. It could be one of many oldest rivers on this planet. Scientists imagine that it existed even earlier than the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Right this moment, the French Broad River is a well-liked place for out of doors sports activities like whitewater rafting, canoeing, and fishing. There are a number of artist studios close by as effectively.

For the previous a number of many years the French Broad River has been environmentally threatened. Nevertheless, latest private and non-private initiatives have helped in its restoration as an essential pure space, in addition to a leisure space. 

8.      Dan River – 214 miles

Largest Rivers in North Carolina - Dan River
The Dan River terminates on the Kerr Reservoir, which is the biggest reservoir in Virginia.

J. M. Pavlic III/

The Dan River is 214 miles lengthy, stretching throughout each states of North Carolina and Virginia. It begins in Patrick County, Virginia, flowing into Stokes County and Rockingham County in North Carolina. It then winds forwards and backwards throughout Virginia and North Carolina a number of extra instances till it empties into the Kerr Reservoir on the Roanoke River.  

7.      Yadkin River – 215 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Yadkin River
The Yadkin River is a well-liked recreation vacation spot.

Andy Fogelsonger/

The Yadkin River is 215 miles lengthy. Many areas of the river are dammed for flood management, creating varied lakes and reservoirs alongside its course. The Yadkin River is a well-liked spot for recreation like rafting, tubing, kayaking, and canoeing. Guests additionally take pleasure in fishing for sunfish, catfish, white bass, and largemouth bass. The Yadkin River flows by two state parks (Morrow Mountain State Park and Pilot Mountain State Park), in addition to the Uwharrie Nationwide Forest.

6.      Tar River – 215 miles

Longest Rivers in North Carolina - Tar River
The Tar River is a migration channel for a lot of species of fish.

Michele Weaver/

The Tar River in northeast North Carolina is 215 miles lengthy, flowing southeast to an estuary of Pamlico Sound. North Carolina was as soon as the location of a naval shops web site. The British Navy would use the longleaf pines from the world for his or her ship masts and pine pitch to make tar for caulking their vessels. The tar constituted of pine pitch is the place “Tar” River will get its title.

The Tar River hosts migrations of striped bass, American shad, and hickory shad. All year long bowfin, panfish, gar, and largemouth bass reside within the river. It is also dwelling to many different sorts of wildlife, like jap turkeys, bald eagles, river otters, and beavers.

5.      Catawba River – 220 miles

The Longest Rivers in the United States - Catawba River
The Catawba River is known as for the Catawba tribe of American Indians. The Catawba tribe lives alongside the banks of the Catawba River and name themselves “yeh is-WAH h/reh,” which suggests “folks of the river.

John C Davis III/

The Catawba River is 220 miles lengthy, starting within the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina. It passes by two waterfalls (Higher Catawba Falls and Catawba Falls), and flows into South Carolina, the place it turns into the Wateree River.

Hydroelectric dams have been constructed alongside the Catawba River however planning was not ample. Due to this poor planning, together with local weather change and extreme droughts, the Catawba River was named considered one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers.

There’s a 30-mile stretch of the Catawba River that continues to be undammed. There are lots of forested areas right here and havens for wildlife like belted kingfishes, river otters, and bald eagles.

4.      Pee Dee River – 232 miles

Largest Rivers in North Carolina - Pee Dee River
The Pee Dee River is dwelling to each freshwater fish and saltwater fish.

Don Fink/

The Pee Dee River begins within the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and flows for 232 miles till it empties into Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean close to Georgetown. Pee Dee River is known as after the Pee Dee American Indians as a result of it flows by the place they initially had lived.

Many of the river is wild, containing forests of gum, oak, and tupelo. The decrease section of the Pee Dee River is a State Scenic River. This part is dwelling to a wide range of wildlife, together with each freshwater and saltwater fish.

3.      Neuse River – 275 miles

Longest River in North Carolina - Neuse River
The title of the Neuse River comes from the Neusiok, an American Indian tribe.


The Neuse River is 275 miles lengthy and is fully contained throughout the state of North Carolina. It begins in Western Durham County and drains into the Pamlico Sound. The Neuse River is a habitat for a lot of endangered species just like the Carolina madtom (a freshwater catfish), the piping plover, and the loggerhead turtle. Many animals that journey between freshwater and the salty ocean are additionally discovered within the Neuse River, just like the American eel, herring, shad, blue crab, and oysters.

2.      New River – 360 miles

Most Romantic Animals
River otters reside in and close to the New River, together with minks, beavers, and muskrats.

The New River is about 360 miles lengthy, flowing throughout North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The New River is landscaped with fast-moving water and massive rocks, in addition to slower stretches. This makes the New River a superb place for fishing. It is usually an excellent location for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and even base-jumping. Many guests benefit from the scenic views alongside Hawks Nest State Park and New River Gorge Nationwide Park and Reserve.

The New River supplies habitats and ecosystems to a number of species of wildlife, together with:

  • 65 species of mammals (river otters, minks, beavers, and muskrats)
  • 40 species of reptiles (stinkpot turtles, snapping turtles, river cooters, five-lined skinks, black rat snakes, and copperhead snakes)
  • Varied sorts of birds ( bald eagles, loons, osprey, cormorants, nice blue herons, hooded mergansers kingfishers, and Cerulean warblers)

The forests that develop alongside the banks of the New River are full of a wide range of bushes, together with:

  • Blended oak
  • Oak-hickory
  • Oak-yellow pine
  • Oak-maple
  • Hemlock-hardwoods
  • Cove hardwoods
  • Northern hardwoods
  • Bottomland hardwoods
  • Floodplain hardwoods
  • Sedges, pines, and cedars

1.      Roanoke River – 410 miles

Longest River in North Carolina - The Roanoke River

Malachi Jacobs/

The Roanoke River is the longest river in North Carolina, measuring 410 miles lengthy. It begins within the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia. It then flows southeast into Warren County, North Carolina earlier than ending within the Albemarle Sound. The Roanoke River has been recognized to have harmful spring floods. Due to this, it’s generally nick-named “The River of Loss of life.”

The Roanoke River incorporates many wealthy ecosystems, like bottomland hardwood forests, alluvial forests, massive backswamps, bald cypress, and water tupelo swamp forests. These various habitats present properties for a mess of wildlife, together with greater than 200 totally different hen species.

#Longest #Rivers #North #Carolina

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