Barnard’s Creek

This is a beautiful, almost pristine creek that flows into the Cape Fear River. There is the main branch, which can be navigated almost all the way up to Carolina Beach Road, and the north branch, worth exploring because of the nice homes of Echo Farms on the east bank and thick marsh forest along the west bank. You can paddle through the first concrete pipe on the north branch, when you will suddenly find yourself in a golf course pond. Say “hi” to any perplexed golfers looking at you. However, do NOT run through the second pipe, as there are many rocks at the far end that may damage your boat. The main branch consists mainly of marshland with scattered trees, and a denser cypress forest towards Carolina Beach Road.

DIRECTIONS: The put-in and take-out is at the bridge on River Road, just south of Independence Boulevard. You can park on the northwest shoulder, where there is an easement to the creek. Watch out, as the easement is full of rocks, but with some caution you can cross them. Paddle west, and you will be at the river in a matter of minutes; most of the creek is east of the bridge.Note – (Dec. 2002) If you drive about 1/3 mile south of the bridge to where the power lines cross river road, there is an access to the river on the right. (I wouldn’t drive in without 4WD due to the deep sand). This put in is much easier than the rocks under the bridge!

DifficultyModerate only due to the rocky easement
HazardsPossible downed trees and some low hanging branches on the north branch. On the north branch, watch out for submerged stumps, most of which are near the creek’s edges
Distance3 Miles
Extended Trip OptionShuttle and do a one-way trip to River Road Park
SerenityDespite the bridge and the houses of Echo Farms, the creek retains a very natural and unspoiled quality
MapBarnard’s Creek Map!