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Tubing Down the Dan River in North Carolina

by Matt | Published on August 20th, 2006, 7:25 pm | Greensboro
We took a family trip to Danbury to go inner tubing down the mighty Dan River.


The river is generally shallow with a few deep spots. In fact, you'll have to get out of the tube a few times to get over rocks. The river moves at a slow steady pace so if you're expecting a white water adventure, this isn't it. But there's a couple spots where even though the water isn't that fast, it's very powerful because of the volume. So you still need to be careful.

If you're looking a relaxing ride, this is it. You can take food and beverage of your choice in a cooler. Rent a tube to put the cooler on and you're on your way.

A few things I recommend:

Wear sandals with thick soles that strap securely to your feet. No flip flops or water socks. The river bottom is mostly rocks. While the rocks are not sharp, they are of all different sizes and slippery as hell. You need something with a firm sole that will stay on your feet when you walk.

When you do need to get out in walk in spots where the water is moving faster but is shallow with lots of uneven rocks, put the tube in front of you, bend over, put your hands on the tube, and walk that way. You look a litte silly but if you slip and fall, you do so on the tube. You realy only need to do this monster walk for a few steps in about 5 places on the river.

Take a cooler or rent a floating cooler. It's about 2.5 hour float and you get thirsty. It's a pain to try and keep loose bottles with you. We didn't take a cooler but we wish we had.

Bring some rope to lash tubes together or at least lash the cooler tube to someones tube.

If you have small kids, a life vest is probably a good idea if their tube is not lashed to a responsible and sober adult. The river isn't that deep but if they are floating on their own, there is a couple spots where problems could arrise for small kids or very weak swimmers. They rent some life vest but they are the big orange clunky ones. Kids will hate them. Go to Wally World and spend $10 on a kids life vest. Much more comfortable and they'll keep it on.

Here's the gross part: No bathrooms along the way except mother nature. It's private property on both sides of most of the river so they ask everyone not to get out of the river except in picnic areas. So if you gotta go #1, you generally just quietly float over to one side by yourself, release, and come back.

It's definately worth the trip. $8 gets you a tube and shuttle ride to the put-in point. Then you float back down to the take-out spot which is where you park your car. They will even hang onto your car keys for you.
That's so-o awesome, I'm so-o going... We used to tube up in Swannanoa, but I definitely want to try this.
August 20th, 2006, 7:49 pm
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I show you something fantastic and you find fault.
Location: Greensboro, NC

YADKIN COUNTY, N.C. -- A man who was inner tubing down the Yadkin River Tuesday afternoon had to be rescued after his tube blew out, leaving him clinging to a tree, Yadkin County authorities said.

Authorities said Kenneth Eldridge and his brother-in-law, Randy Hodges, were inner tubing down the river together when the incident happened.

Hodges said he grabbed Eldridge when his tube burst and tried to hold him while grasping the tree limb, but eventually had to let go.

Hodges then went to the shore where he unsuccessfully attempted to toss his inflated tube to Eldridge, authorities said.

Rescue crews were eventually able pull Eldridge to safety. Neither man was injured.

I take it he couldn't swim.
April 28th, 2009, 2:42 pm
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I show you something fantastic and you find fault.
Location: Greensboro, NC
Liv wrote:That's so-o awesome, I'm so-o going... We used to tube up in Swannanoa, but I definitely want to try this.

I went on a trip down the Dan River with my Scout troop, in canoes. Beautiful scenery, when we weren't surrounded by beer-swilling yahoos in tubes and kayaks. Had a few problems along the way, but we managed OK. I never really got the hang of finding the path we could take around shallows... :oops:
April 28th, 2009, 2:45 pm
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Location: 5th circle of hell -- actually not very crowded at the moment.

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