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Smith River

Along the Smith River Trail System, eleven public canoe ramps are available for use by paddlers and fishermen. If you enjoy whitewater, canoe or kayak the river during peak generation from Philpott Dam. If a relaxing flat water paddle is more your speed, put your boat or tube in further downstream. 

Travel time is determined by water level and flow conditions; hydro-electric generation will increase water flows and decrease travel times. A general rule of thumb for planning canoe or kayak trips on gentle moving water is to allow 25-30 minutes per river mile. Call 276.629.2432 before paddling or fishing to listen to a recorded generation schedule for Philpott Dam. Copies of the waterproof “An Insider’s Guide to the Smith River” may be purchased at the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center. Scroll down for River Safety tips.


1.-2. Philpott Dam Access (6.4 mi. to next access)Smith River
Another access is located on the opposite side of the river in Franklin County

View Current River Conditions near Philpott

3. Bassett River Access (4 mi. to next access)

View Current River Conditions in Bassett

4. The Great Road River Access (4 mi. to next access)

5. Fieldale River Access (5.2 mi. to next access)

6. Doe Run River Access (Portage required to navigate around Martinsville Dam)

7. South Martinsville River Access (4.5 mi. to next access, shorter option available*)

View Current River Conditions in Martinsville 

8. Smith River Sports Complex River Access (2.2 mi. to next access)

9. Marrowbone Creek River Access (3.4 mi. to next access)

10. Mitchell Bridge River Access (12.8 mi. to Spray Dam in Eden, NC)

*Not Pictured: Frith Road Access (Located in between #7 and 8.)

Click for River Outfitters and Guides


River Safety

  • All boaters should wear a coast guard approved PFD (life jacket) when on the river.
  • Paddle with others if possible.
  • Carry a spare paddle.
  • When paddling in wind, stay close to the shore.
  • Use caution when launching or landing on slippery rocks or muddy areas.
  • If you capsize, stay calm. Hold onto boat and paddle and move to shallow water.
  • Do not attempt to stand up in moving water deeper than knee deep.