The Haw River is a tributary of the Cape Fear River, approximately 110 mi long, that is entirely contained in north central North Carolina in the United States. It was first documented as the “Hau River” by John Lawson, an English botanist, in his 1709 book “A New Voyage to Carolina.”
The Haw rises in the Piedmont country, in northeast Forsyth County, near the border with Guilford County just north of Kernersville. The river flows northeast, passing north of Oak Ridge and Summerfield into southern Rockingham County, passing through Haw River State Park, north of Greensboro. The river then begins to flow southeast as it moves through the corner of Guilford County into Alamance County.
In Alamance County, the Haw flows through Ossipee and passes north of Burlington, and through the unincorporated community of Carolina. It goes through the town of Haw River. It flows south and is joined by Great Alamance Creek at Swepsonville and continues on to Saxapahaw. The river forms the southeast border of Alamance County, a border shared by Orange County and Chatham County.
The course of the Haw River continues southeast in Chatham County as it flows just north of Pittsboro. Approximately 12 miles southeast of the tip of Alamance County, the Haw flows into the Jordan Lake reservoir, which is formed by the confluence of the Haw River and New Hope Creek. 4 miles south of Jordan Lake dam, the Haw River joins the Deep River to form the Cape Fear River.