This trip is great for novice paddlers, or beginners who are looking for a bit more action than flat water. There are a few Class I and II rapids along the way. This river section is highly utilized and popular.
The Saluda Dam Road River Access and Parking Area is located river-right north of the bridge. There is a small dirt parking lot and a fairly steep path leading to the river, downstream of the Saluda Lake Dam.
This Park offers an ADA accessible floating boat launch, allowing for easy access to the river for all. Additional features include ample paved parking and a grassy picnic area.
Dolly Cooper Park is a 15 minute drive from Saluda Dam Road, so shuttling cars could take a half hour or more. Only access the river from the upstream river right side of Saluda Dam Road and be sure not to block the utility gate. Once on the river, paddlers will immediately encounter some Class I-II rapids as they float under the railroad bridge. There are two more road crossings before Dolly Cooper Park. About halfway through the trip, the river will slow to lake-like paddling conditions, however could become swift at high water levels. Alternative river access is located at the Saluda River Yacht Club. This access may be used by obtaining a free membership at the Yacht Club. For additional information see The Upper Saluda River Blueway map.