Falls Whitewater Park


The City of Raleigh is currently investigating opportunities to expand paddling access on the Neuse River, including river access improvements at Falls Dam. Information on current Neuse River canoe and kayak access points, including locations and directions to launch sites, can be found here. For additional information on plans to expand access to the Neuse River, please visit the Neuse River Blueway Plan project page.

Project Details

Stewart Engineering, McLaughlin Whitewater Engineering



Thomas McCourt

Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources




Stewart Engineering, in conjunction with McLaughlin Whitewater Engineering, has prepared a Feasibility Study for an approximately 600-foot long course beneath the tailrace of Falls Lake Dam. The Feasibility study consisted of 30% construction documents with an estimate of the probable cost of $3.6 million. Advising the design team was a 17-person Steering Committee made up of representatives from the paddling community, adjacent homeowners, City of Raleigh staff, US Army Corps of Engineers, the Neuse River Organization, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 

The study was approved by the Parks, Recreation Greenway Advisory Board on April 28, 2011, and the study was approved by City Council on May 17, 2011. 

Future phases of this project will include the preparation of a NEPA Environmental Assessment as well as additional permitting and regulatory compliance.


Phase details coming soon.


Phase details coming soon.


Phase details coming soon.


Shortly after construction began on Falls Dam in 1978, Wake County staff developed The Falls Lake White Water Study to consider a whitewater park below the dam. The study found that the tailrace of the Falls Dam was a suitable location for whitewater canoeing. In the mid-1990s, when the Triangle area made a bid for the Pan American Games, the original whitewater park plan was revisited to create a whitewater slalom course. As the Triangle was unsuccessful in this bid, the course was never built. In 1996, the Raleigh City Council adopted the Neuse River Master Recreation Plan, which included the possibility of developing a whitewater course within and along the banks of the Neuse River in the Falls Dam tailrace area. In 2003, the City of Raleigh residents approved a Park Bond Referendum which included funding toward the design of a whitewater park in this area. A preliminary analysis was completed in 2003 and the process for a full feasibility study began in 2009. The feasibility study and conceptual plan for the Falls Whitewater Park were adopted by City Council on May 17, 2011.


Date Activity
July through October 2010 Design Development Stage
May 17, 2011 Feasibility Study Approved by City Council

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