The Journey Along Smith River

Gathering volume below Bassett, the Smith River meanders through Henry County, channeled by historic structures such as a Native American fish weir, rocky navigation sluices and diversions for water intakes along the industrial corridor. At times of normal water flows, this section is rated as suitable for novices and low to intermediate paddlers.

Mid-way down the Smith is the Martinsville Dam. The Doe Run Access point provides a takeout above the dam to allow for portage to the next access point below the dam which allows travelers to continue on their journey. You can also take out here and visit the trails, parks, shops, museums, and restaurants in Martinsville which is the largest community on the river.

Below Martinsville, the river briefly passes through another industrial section before returning to a forested corridor graced by gentle rapids and abundant wildlife. The most popular area for paddlers is the lower sections of the river which are suitable for novice paddlers. These areas can be accessed from the South Martinsville ramp to the Smith River Sports Complex. This section is also the race course for the annual Smith River Boat race which is a part of the annual Smith River Fest celebration. Downstream from the Sports Complex is Eggleston Falls, the largest rapid on the Smith, which is rated for intermediate boaters. The great thing about this beautiful section of river is that it is varied and interesting enough for experienced boaters and still great for the novice.

In its last five miles, the Smith River enters Rockingham County, North Carolina and passes through the early industrial complex of Spray, now a part of the city of Eden. The Spray Dam and historic Barnett Canal must be portaged. Below the dam is a long series of ledges, often exposed due to low water. From the Island Ford Landing at the Smith River Greenway in Eden, the river is accessible to the public for its last two gentle and scenic miles until its confluence with the Dan

River. The takeout is just downstream on the Dan, on river right, at the NC Wildlife Commission access in Eden, NC.  Check water levels-there is always a place to paddle.

Interested in learning more about the abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities in Martinsville-Henry County, or want to experience it first hand?  If so, then mark your calendars for our11th Annual Smith River Fest happening on Saturday, August 11th from 9:00-5:00 at the Smith River Sports Complex in Axton.  The Smith River Fest showcases all the exciting ways to experience the outdoors and have adventures in Martinsville-Henry County, VA.  Learn more about the Smith River Trail System that includes more than twenty miles of trails and the Smith River that’s perfect for fishing, paddling, and floating.  You can also learn more about the recently established Philpott Lake Blueway that guides adventure seekers along waters of the pristine lake. Smith River Fest includes the Helgramite Hustle 5k Mud Run, Kids Mini Mud Run, the Smith River Boat Race, the Blue Ridge Duck Race, a Casting Pool with fly tying demos, Inflatables, Rock Wall, Kids Cycling Station, Games, Petting Zoo, Gear Swap, Craft Beer, Food and Vendors of all types.  Just announced for 2018: Summerdaze (beach music) Band. Don’t miss the excitement.  As always, admission and parking are FREE.  For more details, go to Smith River Fest.