About the State Trail

The headwaters of the Yadkin River are in Blowing Rock, and it flows for 203 miles to Lake Tillery, where its name changes to the Pee Dee River. The Yadkin River State Trail is a paddle trail that starts at the tailwaters of the dam that creates the Kerr Scott Reservoir and goes for 163 miles to the confluence of the Uwharrie River at Morrow Mountain State Park.

The river has always been vital to the region. Over 10,000 years ago, Native Americans depended on the river for sustenance and transportation. Remnants of their fish traps are still visible in the river today. European settlers powered their lumber and grist mills using the Yadkin. The 20th century brought dams to the Yadkin, which powered steam turbines to generate electricity for the increasingly urbanized region. Today, the river continues to contribute to energy production, as a drinking water source, and a tremendous recreation resource.

Trail blaze for Yadkin River State Trail

The blue heron on the YRST blaze is a reminder of the environmental benefits the river provides as a habitat for heron rookeries and a myriad of other species.

Trail Use


Partner Organization

Tab/Accordion Items

The Yadkin Riverkeeper is a nonprofit, membership organization whose mission is to protect and enhance the Yadkin - Pee Dee River basin through education, advocacy, and action. Their overarching goals are to ensure clean drinking water and a health, safe river for the benefit of all the basin's nearly 3 million residents.

To achieve these goals, they:

  • Educate and inform their membership and the general public about the importance of the river to our region's economy and environment;
  • Organize river paddles and educational events throughout the year;
  • Monitor and sample the river and lakes for pollution and alerts officials and the public about threats to the river and lakes;
  • Advocate for policies to protect the river's water quality and natural resources;
  • Support efforts to improve public access to the river and its tributaries and expand public parkland and conserved river buffer along the river; and
  • Promote sustainable agricultural production in the basin, while working to better regulate large-scale animal production facilities that threaten water quality.

About Partner Organizations

The legislation that created the Complete the Trails program requires that funds be distributed by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation to a nonprofit partner for each trail. To be the recognized partner, an organization must have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Division and an approved 3- to 5-year plan for deploying the funds to develop the state trail.

As part of the Complete the Trail Program, each state trail partner organization was required to submit a five-year plan, outlining priorities and goals until 2027 for their trail. Excerpts from the plan are outlined below.

Download the Plan (PDF)


Capacity Building Fund Projects:

Yadkin Riverkeeper will use the capacity building funds to work with public and nonprofit partners to:

  • Develop and implement a plan to allocate a portion of the Complete the Trail Program (CTP) funds to access area improvements;
  • Develop grant proposals for access area land acquisition/improvement projects;
  • Facilitate the placement of mile markers and access area signage; and
  • Promote the YRST through YRK's website, social media and Historic Paddle series.

Priority CTP Projects:

  • Access area improvements
  • Access road improvements and site development on the Ararat River near its confluence with the YRST on Pilot Mountain State Park land
  • Rockford access (N.C. Land and Water Fund application will be submitted by Land Conservancy on behalf of Surry County) – CTP funds would potentially be used for access infrastructure (i.e. put-in ramp or steps)
  • Purchase YRST mile marker signs
  • Update and maintain online map, website, and develop trail brochures


Estimated cost for all YRST priority projects $205,000
Estimated cost for all YRST projects $205,000
CTP allocation for YRST $210,375



Banner photo by M. Windsor: Yadkin River at its confluence with the Ararat River, one of its tributaries, near Pilot Mountain State Park