Explore the Catawba-Wateree River basin! These guided kayak tours are hosted throughout the year and offer an immersive experience through stretches of the river. Most Eco-Tours are designed for intermediate paddlers who can provide their own kayak and gear.
May 28: Spider Lily - Landsford Canal State Park
Paddle through the largest stand of rocky shoals spider lilies in the world and then hike through canal ruins! We’ll start our adventure at Landsford Canal State Park in Lancaster, SC. This park is home to well-preserved remains of the canal system that made the river commercially navigable in the 1800s. Led by Riverkeeper’s Program Director and professional kayak guide, we’ll launch from the park and paddle around an island before making our way through the spider lily blooms. The spider lilies usually bloom between mid-May and early June. The route is roughly 2 miles. We’ll take out just downstream from the spider lily stand where your boat and gear will be shuttled back to the park while we hike 1.5 miles on a section of the Carolina Thread Trail through the historic canal ruins with views of the river through Landsford Canal State Park. You are welcome to keep lunch in your car to enjoy at the park when we get back to our starting location.
Rain Date: May 29
June 4: Spider Lily - Landsford Canal State Park
See above description.
Rain Date: June 5
July 23: Wateree River - Lugoff Access to Patriot’s Landing
Explore a 7-mile Wateree River section of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin in South Carolina of the Riverkeeper footprint. We’ll start at the Lake Wateree Dam in Ridgeway, SC and paddle through a scenic and forested stretch down to Veterans Memorial Park in the Town of Lugoff. There will be Class I rapids in the beginning of the trip which will turn into gentle flowing flatwater. The Wateree River is a 75-mile stretch that starts just south of Great Falls, SC and confluences with the Congaree River in Fort Motte, SC that then creates the Santee River. For this trip, we will meet at the take-out and work together to shuttle everyone up to the put-in location. There will be a kayak trailer to move equipment to the starting location.
Rain Date: July 24
August 13: 10am-6pm - Catawba River - Rock Hill to Catawba Nation (Kayak Rentals available!)
Explore an 8-mile gentle whitewater and flowing flatwater stretch of the Catawba River with expert kayaker - Riverkeeper’s Engagement Manager Greg Nance and the Catawba Indian Nation! Learn how to access this portion of river and other nearby paddling areas that are part of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin in South Carolina. Advance your paddling technique and hear about this area’s rich history from guest speakers of the Catawba Nation. We’ll start at River Park in Rock Hill, SC and paddle through a scenic stretch to the Catawba Indian Nation kayak launch in Rock Hill. There may be Class I and II rapids throughout this gentle flowing flatwater portion. This 8-mile trip is part of a 30-mile accessible section for paddlers of the Catawba River from the Lake Wylie Dam in Fort Mill, SC to the Highway 9 launch in Lancaster, SC that includes 7 kayak launches. For this trip, we will meet at the take-out and work together to shuttle everyone up to the put-in location. We also offer single sit-on-top kayaks and equipment for rent! There will be a kayak trailer to move rental and personal kayak equipment to the starting location.
Rain Date: August 14
August 19: 5pm-8pm - History of the Catawba River - Fort Mill Dam to Riverwalk (Kayak Rentals available)
Enjoy an evening 3.5-mile kayak tour along the Catawba River with gentle whitewater and flowing flatwater with expert kayaker - Riverkeeper’s Engagement Manager Greg Nance and Alex Brooks with Gaston County History Museum! Learn about how to access this portion of river and other paddling areas that are part of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin in South Carolina. Advance your paddling technique and hear about this area’s history and natural surroundings. We’ll start at the Lake Wylie Dam in Fort Mill, SC and paddle through a scenic stretch to the Riverwalk community in Rock Hill, SC.
There may be Class I rapids throughout this gentle flowing flatwater portion. This 3.5-mile trip is part of a 30-mile accessible section for paddlers of the Catawba River from the Lake Wylie Dam in Fort Mill, SC to the Highway 9 launch in Lancaster, SC that includes 7 kayak launches. You can rent a single sit-on-top kayak and equipment for this trip! We will meet at the take-out where a shuttle bus will be provided to take everyone up to the put-in location. There will be a kayak trailer to move personal kayak equipment and rental equipment to the starting location.
Rain Date: Friday, August 26
October 15: Bridgewater - Morganton, NC
Immerse yourself in fall colors on the water! The Bridgewater section of the Catawba River is a well-kept secret in our Northern Basin. Our paddle starts just below Lake James at the public fishing access. The water is pristine and moves swiftly past the launch making it a bit intimidating if you are not used to paddling flowing rivers which is why this guided outing is a great opportunity to learn how to navigate it with our professional kayak guides. This trip will be approximately 7 miles long and will take around 4 hours on the water. It is rated as a class 1-2 rapid area on American Whitewater although recreational kayaks, canoes, and fishing rafts are most commonly used here. You are welcome to rent a kayak and gear or bring your own! Kevlar or other types of fragile boats are not recommended for this paddle as the water is often shallow, rocky, and swift. Bring a lunch that can be stored on or in your boat. After the paddle all participants and gear will be shuttled back to their vehicles.
Rain Date: Sunday, October 16
Our policy is to host the Eco-Tour program rain or shine EXCEPT in the case of severe rain, thunderstorms or lightning in the area as well as dangerous water level. If we have to cancel an event due to weather, we will provide a refund to all ticketed guests. We will do our best to notify guests of cancellations at least 4 hours in advance.
You may cancel your ticket up to 24 hours before your scheduled date. If we must cancel due to weather or water level, your ticket will be fully refunded within 48 hours after your scheduled date.
Eco-Tours are a long-standing Catawba Riverkeeper tradition designed to showcase different segments of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.
Bring your own kayaking equipment or choose the outing with available kayak rentals.