Haw River: Lower Haw River

During the spring while exploring around Bynum Bridge Izabel and I discovered the Lower Haw River State Natural Area. After looking around we decided that we had to come back to see more. For those of you that were following us back then this is when our life went a little crazy with Izabel’s surgery and my brain virus. So it wasn’t till several months later we were able to venture back out of the house. The first place Izabel wanted to go was the monster bridge (aka Bynum Bridge) and the river. Despite my husbands best efforts of “being too busy” we managed to find the time when we all could go to this new trail and explore.

Instantly we were impressed, for being such a large river it wasn’t very deep and Izabel discovered the art of jumping from rock to rock. Needless to say, we spent most of our summer on Haw River. Never making it very far as Izabel loved climbing and playing on all the rocks. Plus as an added bonus my husband Andrew and Izzy who are mosquito magnates hardly ever came home with a bite so IF my husband had to go out in the summer heat he was okay with the haw river because of this.

To help you plan ahead

Mosquito annoyance was minimal but the gnats were abundant.
The trail offers plenty of shade. It’s all sun on the river. Pack your sun block.

There are no public restrooms. Pets are allowed. Exposed roots and rocks make the trail not stroller friendly. Pack your own lunches and snacks as there isn’t food on site.

Location: For GPS Directions ONLY use the address for the Haw River Assembly Offices at 143 Bynum Church Road, Pittsboro NC 27312. The parking lot is about 95 feet past the house on the right, just past house #189. This house doesn’t have any public access, it’s for GPS ONLY!

From 15-501 north of the bridge over the Haw River, turn east on Durham-Eubanks Road and stay on it for about 0.3mi and it will turn into Bynum Church Road for another 0.2mi. You will find the parking lot on your right just past house #189.

The parking lot is rather huge and has plenty of parking.

Details: Ater parking you will find a really fun area to explore. You can enter the river just a few feet away. Izabel prefers the more rocky locations so she can leap around. So we head about 5 min downriver to the fun rocky locations. You will find the trail on the southeast of the parking lot. If you’re looking at the river, it is to your far left of the parking area. This will take you back towards a gravel road, go to the right and just a few feet away is the official start of the trailhead. You’ll see a small grey gate to keep cars off the trail and a sign for Duke Forest. Just pick your cluster of rocks to play at, we typically walk about 900 feet to Izabel’s favorite rock cluster.

Here is a screenshot from Google Maps of the parking area and trail for the Lower Haw River State Natural Area.

The Kowald family spent a good portion of our summer on the same 900 feet of the river. We never made it far as Izzy mostly runs the show on these explorations and she loves this section of the river. For families with small children or if walking is difficult, it took about 6-10 min to walk the 900 feet. The trail is very easy to navigate and is mostly flat, it does have some rocks and exposed roots. The trail goes for another 7 miles.
I would highly recommend wearing water shoes or shoes you are fine with getting wet. Walking on the rocks hurt and it’s a bit slippery plus it is a river that unfortunately finds random trash in it.

This is a river and all safety precautions should be considered with small children and non-swimmers. To avoid swift moving currents, we never went after hard rainfalls. Also, the youngest of Izzy’s friends wore life jackets.

The Haw River is a popular river to float. We’ve only floated it once and ended up taking the wrong fork. We started up by the Bynum Bridge and went right instead of left. It’s been recommended to float with a guide or someone that has floated before. Despite choosing the wrong way we still had so much fun and saw some of the most beautiful areas of the river.

Where would you like to see our family go next? Comment below with your suggestions.

The Kowalds are a modern-day family with a house full of pets and a rambunctious 7-year-old, Izzy. They moved to Chatham in 2014 and enjoy exploring all that Chatham County has to offer. Follow along as Rhonda, the wife, drags her husband, Andrew, along with her and Izzy to find new trouble to get into. From local rivers, parks, and playgrounds to theaters, family date night, and shopping local, they’ll guarantee a good laugh while helping you get to know more about Chatham County. This fun family will help you plan your next adventure by keeping it real in weekly blog posts titled, “Kowalds Explore Chatham County.”