Mayo River State Park, NC

Mayo River State Park built along the Mayo River is the perfect place to cool off in the summer. From hiking to fishing to swimming to the Fall Creek Waterfall, there’s a lot to do here.

Built along the Mayo River from its confluence with the Dan River to the Virginia border, the park is divided into five distinct areas.

Typing “Mayo River State Park” in your GPS will likely take you to the main entrance in Mayodan, NC with the park office. Those seeking the Fall Creek Waterfall will want to head to the Deshazo entrance about 15 minutes away in Stoneville, NC.

The park has an excellent website that provides the addresses and GPS coordinates for each entrance. I recommend using these because they’re pretty darn accurate.

History of Mayo River State Park

One of North Carolina’s newest parks, Mayo River has an interesting history. The North Carolina General Assembly authorized a state park along the river in May 2003. On April 1, 2010, the Mayo Mountain Access opened to the public.

For 10 years, the park properties remained above the river, unable to secure property providing access to the river. This changed in 2016 when the Piedmont Land Conservancy stepped in with 354 acres comprising 3 miles along both sides of the Mayo River.

This snowballed, and in 2019, another 64 acres was added which included Anglin Mill Beach Access.

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Is the Park Related to Mayo River State Park, Virginia?

While the two parks are separate, they do connect. Virginia acquired 332 acres in 2009 for their own May River State Park that adjoins North Carolina’s Mayo River State Park.

Rather than create an “interstate park”, the decision was made to keep two separate but cooperative parks. North Carolina owned some of the land in Virginia and held it until the Virginia Park System was able to purchase it in 2013.

Virginia broke ground in 2021 and opened the first trails in their park to the public on April 22, 2022.

There’s a section at the Deshazo Entrance for North Carolina’s Mayo River Park that crosses the border into Virginia. It’s noted by a tree with clear boundary markers.

Woman in green shirt and grey pants with orange hat standing next to tree with three yellow pain bands and a tag  noting the North Carolina and Virginia State Line.

What to Know Before Visiting

There are five separate entrances to the park in different locations. Check the park’s website before you head out and get directions for the entrance you want to visit. While the entire park is in Rockingham County, three of the entrances are in the town of Stoneville, and two are in Mayodan.

Rest rooms are only available at the Mayo Mountain Entrance.

Another thing you should know is that I don’t believe the mileage on the map for the Deshazo trails is correct. The trails are shorter than indicated, which may be a plus for some.

Due to the lush foliage, the park is buggy. Bring plenty of bug spray and consider the good stuff.

Map Correction: I’ll mention this again with the Trails section, but the online map is incorrect with the colors for the Mountain Trail and Kids TRACK shorter loop. The colors are reversed on the map. At the park, the 2-mile Mountain Trail is marked with a blue blaze, and the shorter half-mile Kids TRACK Trail is marked with an orange blaze.

There is limited cell signal near the Deshazo and Anglin Mill entrances. Make sure you have any directions you need to and from the area written down.

This little gem is one of my favorite places to hike near Greensboro. Other state parks close by include Hanging Rock State Park and Haw River State Park.

Entrances at Mayo River State Park

There are five entrances to Mayo River State Park. Deshazo, Anglin Mill/Mayo Beach Access, and Hickory Creek are in Stoneville, NC, while the Mayo Mountain and Mayodan entrances are located in Mayodan, NC.

Hiking trails are located at Deshazo and Mayo Mountain. Most of the remaining entrances are areas where you can put in (launch a kayak) to paddle the Mayo River. I also saw several people fishing and cooling off in the river.

Before you drink 20 ounces of coffee while heading out, you should know that rest rooms are only available at the Mayo Mountain Entrance.

Brown cabin building with front porch and brick chimney that serves as Park office to Mayo River State Park.

Mayo Mountain Access and Park Office

This is the main entrance to the park and where you’ll find the park office. There are two ponds and a 2-mile trail in the area. You’ll also find a few picnic tables near the pond with grills, benches to sit and relax, and a covered picnic shelter.

If you type “Mayo River State Park” in your GPS, this is likely where it will take you.

The park has primitive group camping at this entrance, but it’s limited.

Surprisingly, this is the one entrance where you don’t have direct access to the Mayo River. There’s a put-in outside the park gates, off Highway 220.

There’s plenty of parking with two paved lots.

Mayodan Access

This is just a primitive put-in off Cedar Mountain Road in Mayodan. There’s a short rock section you’ll have to get your kayak over, but it shouldn’t be that bad.

As you reach the water, you’ll notice it’s loud. Cedar Mountain Road is to your right and you can see cars driving over the bridge. Across the river are houses and small businesses.

There’s a small gravel lot with enough parking for six to eight vehicles, depending on how well people park.

Hickory Creek Access

This is an area for fishing. It’s the newest section of the park and is still in the process of being built. The area was closed when I arrived because they were putting gravel down on the road.

There’s a small gravel lot for parking and it’s about 0.75 miles to the river.

Several rock ledges creating a class three rapid in the Mayo River with still water after and green trees in the background.

Anglin Mill/Mayo Beach Access

This is one of the prettiest sections of the park. There’s a small beach area along the river. The water can be anywhere from ankle-deep to over your head, depending on where you stand.

I found the rocks were pretty slick and recommend water shoes if you plan to wade in. There are small rapids nearby so be careful and make sure you’re heading to a safe area to swim.

Parking is alongside a dirt road. Small pull-out areas are built to make it easier.

Small waterfall over a wide rock landing in a brown pool of water with green trees behind it.

Deshazo Mill Access

I left this entrance for last because it’s home to the Fall Creek Falls Waterfall and the Virginia State Line.

While the park map notes it’s 0.2 miles to the waterfall, and another 0.7 miles to the border, I have to disagree. The waterfall isn’t more than 0.1 miles, and the walk to and from the border may be a total of 1 mile.

The waterfall is beautiful and larger than I thought it would be since the creek leading to it seemed dry. There’s a small pool at the bottom which made a pretty setting for the waterfall.

You can stand at the top and look down, then head down and play in the water. If you continue on the trail, you’ll reach the Mayo River. Head right until you see a tree with three yellow painted rings and a tag noting the Virginia State Line.

I mean, where else can you stand next to a river with one foot in Virginia and the other in North Carolina?

There’s a small gravel parking lot at the trailhead that can fit about 10 vehicles depending on how well people park.

Brown pond with green grass around it and then trees behind the grass.

Things to do at Mayo River State Park


The park notes they have 4 miles of hiking trails. I’m going to say they have 2 miles at Mayo Mountain and 1 mile (round trip) at Deshazo Access.

Either way, the trails are easy and perfect for beginners and families. You’ll find mostly level terrain, although Mayo Mountain Trail is heavy with roots.


There’s one primitive group campsite located at the Mayo Mountain Access. A minimum of 2 campers is required, but it can hold up to 40.


This is what Mayo River State Park was made for. There are multiple put-ins along the Mayo River, some inside the park entrances, and some just outside. Check the route before you launch though, there are dams along the river that do not allow for safe portage.

While a good portion of the river is gentle, there are class three rapids you’ll need to navigate through.


I saw several people fishing along the river at Deshazo and Anglin Mill. I’ve also heard that many people enjoy the quiet at Hickory Creek.

Make sure you have your valid North Carolina fishing license.


In the summer, the river is a popular place to cool off which means you’ll never be alone at Mayo River State Park. While it’s not crazy busy, there’s a steady crowd, even on weekdays.

You’ll see families with coolers and chairs at Deshazo and Anglin Mill. Kids love the water. Just keep an eye on them and make sure they stay close to the banks.

Vertical image with a section of brown natural surface trail lined by green trees that form an awning overhead.

Trails at Mayo River State Park

You’ll find hiking trails at the Deshazo and Mayo Mountain entrances.

MAP CORRECTION: The park online map reversed the colors for the trails at Mayo Mountain Access. The Mountain Loop Trail is noted by blue blazes at the park, and the Kids TRACK shorter, half-mile loop is marked with an orange blaze.

Mountain Loop Trail

Mileage: 2 miles
Blaze: Blue blaze
Rated: Easy
Location: Mayo Mountain Entrance

This is a two-mile loop at the main entrance. It’s fairly level, but there are a lot of roots. Overall, there aren’t many views, but it’s a peaceful hike through new growth forest. I found it relaxing and just the right length.

The trail is under canopy the entire way and felt cooler than the temperature out in the open. It was a great place to hike on a hot summer day.

The entrance is at the far parking lot. Look for the Kids TRACK sign. Follow the orange and blue blazes until you reach an intersection. You can go either way as the trail is a loop from this point. When the blue and orange split, follow the blue.

Kids TRACK Trail

Mileage: 0.5 miles
Blaze: Orange blaze
Rated: Easy
Location: Mayo Mountain Entrance

This is a short, easy hike at the main entrance to the park with learning stations along the way. There’s a Kids TRACK stand at the entrance to the trail. Follow the orange and blue blazes until you reach an intersection. You can go either way as the trail is a loop from this point. When the blazes split, follow the orange.

Fall Creek Trail

Mileage: 1 mile (round trip)
Blaze: Blue blaze
Rated: Easy
Location: Deshazo Entrance

You’ll start on a gravel trail which fades to a natural surface. It’s an easy trail, fairly level with few roots. About 200 to 300 yards from the parking lot is the fall creek waterfall. You can check the view from the top and follow the trail to the bottom.

Although the waterfall isn’t very tall, it’s wide and beautiful with a small pool at the base.

From the falls, the trail continues to the Mayo River. Head to the right and get a photo at the Virginia State Border.

There are also plenty of places along the river to stop and enjoy the water.

Camping at Mayo River State Park

There is one primitive campground located at the main entrance. It’s a group campground for up to 40 people. They allow a minimum of 2 people to reserve the site.

Brown natural surface trail lined by green trees and on one tree is a blue blaze with a white hiker in the middle.

Tips for Visiting Mayo River State Park

Mayo River State Park is a great place to visit. It’s one of the few places I would say is perfect for summer. With so many places to cool off in the river, why not?

Before you go, visit the park’s website to get the GPS coordinates for the entrance you want and a map.

There is NO CELL SIGNAL near the Deshazo and Anglin Mill entrances. Make sure you have directions to and from before you leave. You can pick up cell signal on parts of Smith Road, Anglin Road, and Bennett Road, but it’s haphazard and not always strong enough to pull up directions.

Dress Accordingly

I’m a fan of sunscreen so I always recommend lathering it on, especially if you’re going to play in the river. Also, bring bug spray. The area is full of bugs and they can be aggressive.

You’ll want water shoes to play in the water. The rocks are pretty slick, and the shoes will give you a better grip.

Since the trails are easy, you can bring plenty of water and snacks. This is a great park for a cooler. You can take it with you to the river, or leave it in the car for when you return.

Ask for Help

You won’t find too many people in the park, especially on the Mountain Trail. However, the people you do meet are friendly and most are locals.

Make sure you have a map and set a pin at your car just in case. This is especially important at the Deshazo entrance where there is no cell signal.

Mayo River State Park – Wrap Up

A trip to Mayo River State Park is definitely worth the drive. I was blown away by how pretty it is. There isn’t a lot to do here and that’s a good thing. Take advantage of the easy trails and relax. Wade in the water, do a little fishing, or just sit on a rock and watch the water.

This is a park where you take time for yourself and truly reconnect with nature.

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