Lake Adger – NC

@450 acres

Water Clarity – 7

Natural Quality – 7

Difficulty – easy to moderate

Perception – Weekday

The upper Green River of North Carolina feeds several WNC lakes and is known as a ‘peaceful place to cast a line’….



‘The upper green’ is also known for the World Class whitewater activity which takes place through the ‘ gorge.’


 Lake Summit sits atop the green river, then the whitewater kayak and tubing sections of the river which ultimately flow into Lake Adger, another mountain lakeside community.


(GPS – @ 669 Lake Adger Rd, Mill Spring, NC)

Lake Adger is about 40 miles south of Asheville, NC – nearest to an interesting little ‘railroad’ town to visit, Saluda, NC (try the music/beer/pizza of the Purple Onion or Green River BBQ).  The shortest way to Adger for paddlin is from Exit 59 on I-26, left on Green River rd (down through the 17 ‘switchbacks’) @ five miles or so to the end and another left on Silver Lake rd, and a right after the bridge to the Lake Adger Marina (4585 Lake Adger rd – for those with those Garmin GPS things) – the lake is also accessible from Hwy 9 below Lake Lure. NC.

From the Marina you have the choice of two paddle sections, Right for a shorter paddle through the wetlands and up the gentle current of the Green River (Adger option) for a several miles while enjoying the cool shade, clear water, and schools of bass swimming under you – or Left onto Lake Adger proper – on this date I took the lake paddle, Left.

As I paddled across the width of the lake a fellow in a fishing boat mentioned that he had seen an eagle – I did not see an eagle but there was a heron in the general vicinity – just up from a small babbling ‘brook’.  Lake Adger is not a wide-bodied lake as one might imagine but one in which the main channel winds through the land above the ancient river bed.


I simply followed the Southern shore and used the shade while exploring every cove possible, two of the coves went much further than I had anticipated with each ending in a ‘wetlands’ setting, turtles were numerous.  The water was very smooth and I was both surprised and impressed with the tranquil nature surrounding these coves.



Continuing along the Southern shore all the way to the Spillway, it seemed every other dock had kayaks on them – I could feel that these waters were appreciated.

100_9334When I made the lake’s spillway there was not a ‘clear’ or absolute barrier; plus not feeling any imminent doom or a quick case of stupidity, I eased along the shade right up to the cement barrier…

100_9339and sat alongside this barrier – the dam.  A foot away was about a 100′ drop…

So I held the camera out and down – I didn’t feel ‘in-danger,’ but I did feel ‘the-danger.’

100_9340It was a long way up, and not a good place to be playing around because I certainly couldn’t out paddle a sudden breach.  So I moved on; sometime or another I will travel highway-9 and get a picture looking back.

100_9351Back to the trees, turtles,

– and turkeys! There were six lounging around in this particular area and three more in Jackson Cove to the North.

Now following the opposite shoreline I paddled a cove, then into a short creek and back out to a beach to rest.  Sometimes you just have to jump in…. the ‘dip’ and a snack were refreshing – this is where I noticed more wild turkeys in the field above.



With more than 4 hours of paddling behind and now late in the afternoon I started thinking about the marina and heading that way. The day had been just right – overcast just enough to keep the blaring sun off of me, yet sunny and warm enough to jump in too.


Of course I love public boat ramps, it is the cheapest of entertainment – from something much more comfortable than a lawn chair...


My memories of Adger had to do with the wind in the main channel, what I found was that on any given day the coves should provide areas of protected paddling without the wind or whitecaps.   The water of Adger held that ‘fresh’ feeling and quality that mountain lakes are known for, it is populated – but not over populated.  The natural quality is present within the coves, the fishing, the turtles, turkey and other wildlife that are present or simply passing through.


The Lake Adger folks that I encountered were the most polite and ‘wake-conscious’ of all.  The lake had a good feel to it and seemed the most kayak friendly lake that I have paddled yet.

It was now 5 pm, and my 5 1/2 hours of paddling had made this day ‘complete.’

Upstream, right from Marina – Lake Adger Option