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Catawba River: Landsford Canal State Park

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Catawba River: Landsford Canal State Park

Skill Level: Moderate
Loading 
Rapids: Class I
Length: 1.5 miles
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Portaging: No
What to Expect

Landsford Canal State Park is home to the world’s largest population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies. Paddling is an excellent way to view these beautiful flowers that bloom each year along the Catawba River from May through mid-June. 

Access
Put in:
Landsford Canal SP Put-in
Access Details

The canoe trail put-in is located near the ranger station and trailhead, off of Park Dr. 

Take out:
Landsford Canal SP Take-out
Access Details

The Take-out is at the southern end Landsford Canal State Park, off of Canal Rd. 

Trip Details

Enjoy a beautiful paddle through the largest colony of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies, all within Landsford Canal State Park. During peak season, which is May through mid-June, the white lilies cover the shoals from one bank to the other. The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily gets its name from the way it grows on the shoals in the river. The paddle is suitable for those with some paddling experience because of the many shoals and small rapids that must be navigated throughout the trip. 

Landsford Canal State Park hosts Lily Fest everywhere during the blooming season. 

Waterway: 

Comments (3)

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Paula Cumalander
Mar 16, 2021 4:32 pm EDT
On river left of the lily route, there are 2 rapids. See photos for detailed map. Staircase Rapid and Facelift Rapid. We like to do the trip twice. Once through the lilies and then on the river left side. Just remember that after the island, you will have to get to river right very fast. It was shallow here and we actually had to get out and drag the kayaks to get to deeper water to get to the take-out. I'm not sure what the flow was that day. These rapids are class 1-2 and can be class 3 at high water. Attaching an article I found on Paddling.com " A fun area is at a drop about 1 mile from the main park area. The river is about 1500 feet wide here so the key is asking park staff where to go to find the play spots. The biggest drop is "staircase". A left side entry into a slight "s" turn drops about 7-8 feet in about 25 feet. Nice "v" wave at the bottom allows for some interesting surfing at normal water. If you catch high water, this chute can really roll! A few hundred feet on river left is "facelift"; a small hydraulic with a decent backflow at good water levels. Enough room at good water level for some enders. This rapid tails out with 3-4 good "camel humps". The thing to remember is at low levels, getting to these places can be a lot of work. Exposed rocks and rock shelves make getting there difficult."
Julia Hayes
Jul 21, 2019 10:14 am EDT
Ideal flow is between 4000-5000 cfs.
Bob Thomason
May 29, 2019 2:02 pm EDT
There is no minimum or maximum flow mentioned on the site but does anyone know what the ideal flow is?
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Kayaking down the Catawba River May 2017 (Credit: Todd Betlem)
Blue Haron on the Catawba River May 2017 (Credit: Todd Betlem)
Spider Lily bloom May 2017 (Credit: Todd Betlem)
Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies at Landsford Canal State Park (Credit: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism)
Pathway between the lilies
Kayak launch at State Park (Credit: pcumalander-frick)
Two points of view.  From water and from the viewing deck. (Credit: pcumalander-frick)
Take-out at the lower end of the State Park.  There is a sign for it on river right. (Credit: pcumalander-frick)
Map of park showing lily route. (Credit: pcumalander-frick)
Trip Resources
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Access Amenities
Parking - Dedicated Lot
Parking - Roadside
Restroom / Toilets
Fee Required
Handicap Accessible
Camping
Paddle SC is presented by
Upstate Forever
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor
Rainey Foundation