The Deep River, with its headwaters near High Point, flows 125 miles through a mosaic of farmland, forest, and small mill towns and joins the Haw River in Chatham County to form the Cape Fear River, reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Wilmington.
So named for its steep banks, not so much due to the depth of its waters, the Deep River crosses the fall line of North Carolina, making the river quite rocky with a moderately high gradient, creating ideal conditions for hydropower, resulting in a number of mills being located along its shores. Its clean waters are home to a federally endangered minnow species, the Cape Fear Shiner (Notropis mekistocholas).
Paddling is a popular activity on the river. In 2007, the N.C. General Assembly established the Deep River State Trail, linking conservation lands with recreational opportunities and cultural resources. This canoe/paddle trail with public access sites originates near Randleman Lake Dam and continues downstream to the confluence of the Deep and Haw Rivers.
PLC has protected a number of properties in the Deep River basin, near the headwaters in High Point as well as further downstream. In particular, PLC’s work with the Franklinville Greenway will support the Deep River State Trail.