The Casual Kayaker   -    Location reports of my flatwater kayaking

(B. Everett) Jordan Lake - Farrington Point (northwest finger- "Bush Creek") - June 18, 2011

Jordan Lake - Farrington Point - (northwest finger - Bush Creek) June 18, 2011

Attribute Rating - (view rating system scale)
Scenic Quality 3.5
Wildlife 3
Water Quality 3.5
Quietude 3.5
Boating Traffic 3

Boat ramp/ kayak put-in location: 35°48'10.34"N 79° 0'51.48"W
Wildlife Resources Comm. Farrington Point Boating Access, 605 Farrington Point Road (Google Earth missed this address by a good 700 feet!, but my coordinates and marker are right on.)

Destination point: 35°48'54.54"N 79° 2'3.22"W - Marsh area (Bush Creek) in northwest finger of lake

Download the .kmz file for this location report (for Google Earth) - TheCasualKayaker_JordanLake_6-18-11.kmz

Download the combined .kmz file for all location reports -

B. Everett Jordan Lake is located in the northeastern corner of Chatham County, North Carolina. Access to this expansive manmade lake is easy via NC 751 or Farrington Point Road from highway US 64 west of Apex, NC. Other ways to reach it are on NC 751 from I-40 south of Durham, NC, and from Chapel Hill, NC via Mount Carmel Church Road off US 501 at the intersection of NC 54, NC 86 and US 501. Mt. Carmel Church Road turns into Farrington Point Road which intersects US 64. ( Note that there is a village close-by spelled "Fearrington" Village, but the road and boating access is spelled "Farrington". Don't let that cause confusion when mapping or planning. )

I had previously been to this destination point on Jordan Lake a couple of years ago, scouting locations for bird photography in my little 10-foot one-man layout duck boat with a small trolling motor. Friends had mentioned this corner of the lake as frequently having egrets and herons about. It's a shallow, marshy dead-end, normally too shallow for most of the jet skis and motor boats to bother with. That first trip in the duck boat was during a low water period, and even the duck boat was bumping stumps too much to get very far once I got to the very end, so I gave it up. I did see a Great Egret back in there and got a few photos of it. Ever since then I'd planned to come back when the water was a little higher.

Unloading next to the ramp at Farrington Point boating access. It got much busier than it appears here. To the right behind the signs just 30 feet is where we put in under the trees.

I should note at this point that this is my first "location report" since getting into kayaking only a month or so ago, but my 3rd trip to Jordan Lake to kayak with the wife. I chose this location not only as an excuse to return to the spot to check it out for birds, but also because one of my sons wanted to try kayaking on this trip and I thought this would be a relatively short and easy paddle for him to get his feet wet. It turned out that he took to it like a duck to water, just as my wife did after I suggested getting kayaks and then took her out for the first time too. So the point is that this is a good trip for beginners who want something slow and easy.

The Farrington Point boat ramp is actually two parking lots, each with it's own set of concrete ramps. Lots of boats put in here in the summer, especially on weekends and holidays. At both parking lots there are short woodsy paths next to either of the multiple sets of concrete ramps where you can unload your kayaks within 50 feet of the water and then move your vehicle to a near-by parking space. It's an easy and quick port to a natural put-in. Some are a bit muddy clay, some are sandy, some are a bit gravelly. Or put in off the concrete. Just choose what suits you. There are no restroom or shower facilities at these ramps.

This is typical of the shoreline scenery at Jordan Lake. It's pretty much surrounded by trees, with little in the way of human habitation to interrupt the view.

For this trip we put in from the shore on the west side of the west ramp, but that spot was red and yellow clay mud. We turned and paddled immediately north-northwest up the lake finger that runs northward toward Lystra Road. This is a relatively shallow finger of the lake so not many use it for skiing, etc. On this day there were, however, two fools with jet ski's using it off and on for a drag strip and towing some sort of "knee board" thing. Other than one other canoer and a couple of small boats doing a little quiet fishing, we were mostly to ourselves. You can find sandy bare "beaches" along either side of this lake finger to beach and rest, stretch your legs, or even do a picnic lunch among the trees and shade. These sandy spots are mostly on the east side. The west side has some too, but also has several spots where there are a good number of rocks and boulders along the shore. We occasionally stopped in the shade along the shore, even though the day had a thin overcast about half the time, which thankfully limited the sun's heat to the high 80's.

There are a couple of coves with shade to poke around in and take a break from the hot sun.

The east shoreline of the northwest finger is generally very shallow, with a sandy bottom, so the shallows here look yellow/brown from the sand beneath.

There are a couple of "coves" you can explore, but nothing of special interest. All along the way up and down the lake finger we saw Great Blue Herons, but no Great Egrets on this trip. We did see kingfishers several times as well, but I never got close enough to any of them get a good look. I could only recognize them by their flight and calls. On my previous duck boat trip along here I saw two Bald Eagles high overhead, but not this trip. (There is an area at Jordan Lake known for Bald Eagles nesting, which is only 3 miles or so from this location.)

Paddling up the northwest finger, east side.

This particular sandy "beach" along the east shore was very nice. It would have made a great spot for a picnic had we brought along anything but string cheese and chocolate to snack on. My Old Town Trip 10 Angler here takes a break while I stretch my legs and take a couple of photos, and my son takes a rest in the shade with his feet up (photo below).

It's 1.3 miles from the ramp to the narrowest, northernmost point of this lake finger where it widens into an open area. To the right (northeast) it goes over to Lystra Road. There is no bridge to go under the road so that's a dead end. Our target was to the left (southwest) where the water gets shallower and turns into a quiet marsh. Paddling and coasting quietly as far as you can among the vegetation you will almost surely find herons and/or egrets.

The water grows shallower as we approach the marsh.

Small short channels did not let us very far into the vegetation on the south side of the marsh shore, but rounding toward the north side let us go deeper in.

Once into the marsh we flushed a wary Great Blue Heron hardly 30 feet away, who still knew we were coming before we saw it. Friends have described this as a "rookery" for herons, but I cannot verify that. The water was higher on this trip than on that first trip here in my duck boat, but still the access into the marsh was not as far as I would have liked. I'll have to come in the spring and spend some serious time lying in wait in camo for some photography. I'm sure I can get deeper into the vegetation with even just another foot of water. This trip was at a time when our rainfall for the year was 5 inches below normal, so I'm sure that affected the lake level, though it was still deeper than that previous duck boat trip I spoke of.

Shortly after this shot was taken a Great Blue Heron flushed from the right of us hardly 30 feet away. Using my wife's point and shoot digital, it was far too slow for bird photography. I'll return with my serious gear next time.

This trip gave me some taste of what to expect for my wildlife photography from a kayak, which is a bit different than my duck boat. This particular trip was, as I noted in the beginning, certainly not a particularly challenging adventure, but was still a good experience for beginners. You can get a sense of the quietude and wildlife you can expect to find in the right places, and still experience a few wakes and noise from the "speedsters" with rooster tails without being too concerned with their antics. As you can tell from the rating scale at the beginning of the post, this particular trek was rated about as average and middle-of-the-road as you can get. There are other locations on Jordan Lake I will write about, so don't base your decisions on this single location report. Just add it into your stream of thought when you look at Jordan Lake as a place to go. This just happens to be the closest place to us with the most choices, and is handy for our short day trips.

This photo of a Great Blue Heron was taken in March of 2009 at Jordan Lake (not on the particular trip in this report). More of my wildlife and nature photography can be seen on the web at

"If you're not paddling, you're not getting anywhere."

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When I first began kayaking I found a most helpful blog by Tom Haynie that aided me greatly in finding and choosing new flatwater locations. His blog was infinitely more detailed and useful than anything I found on kayaking forums. I quickly resolved to share my own impressions of locations I've visited, including details I believe to be important and helpful, in hopes of providing practical information to others. I sincerely hope you find something useful and helpful here. (For more location reports visit Tom's blog at

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