Packrafting and Bikepacking Day Trip
Combining paddling with biking is double the fun, but it does require more gear. The Lumber River is a lazy, winding river with minimal flow. The Lumber River State Park Chalk Banks Access Area has parking and a ramp for launching small boats. It is a good idea to contact the park office (910-628-4564) for river conditions before you go.
Trip lengths can vary, depending on how long you want to spend on the river. Most trips are one direction, which is why carrying the bikes with you can come in handy.Kokopelli makes an inflatable raft that allows you to take your bike with you on the river. Inflation of the boat takes about 20 minutes, and then loading the bike on the boat takes another 10 minutes, with practice. Required gear increases, so you should start with small trips to figure it all out. You will need a paddle, life vest along, bike tools, safety gear, and lots of straps.
We leisurely paddled a little less than 5 miles and it took a little over 2 hours. At the takeout on River Road, we deflated our boats, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The Castaway Raft weighs about 8 pounds and with additional gear around 10 pounds total. We then loaded up the bikes and then biked back to the car. The ride was approximately 7 miles mostly on back roads and took about 30 minutes.The highlight of doing all this extra work is that you don’t have to wait around for someone to go get the car, or shuttle extra car from start point to finish point, so you have more flexibility to lengthen or shorten trip as needed. Plus you get a second workout!
For more information on trip planning, www.ncparks.gov/lumber-river-state-park