Travel Attractions

French Broad River Rafting

The French Broad River is formed in the vicinity of Rosman, in Transylvania County, where the North Fork, West Fork, Middle Fork, and East Fork come together. The upper reaches of the river (Woodfin to Barnard) are primarily flat, flowing over shallow shoals alternating between farmland and wooded areas. It is ideal for quiet floating trips. From Asheville downriver (Barnard to Hot Springs) the river slices through a more mountainous area and changes complexion greatly as the volume and gradient increase. It becomes a wide, powerful force, flowing through scenic gorges, over series of ledges, and through large boulders.

The river here requires a much higher level of skill from paddlers. There are seven major rapids in this section, all of which should be approached cautiously. Beautiful scenery combines with some of the southern Appalachians' foremost whitewater to offer a year-round paddling experience. Highlights include scenery and whitewater. Below Hot Springs to the US 25-70 bridge in Tennessee the river broadens and settles back to Class II - III as it flows out of North Carolina into Tennessee. At normal water levels there are several rapids where standing waves build up enough to give tandem paddlers problems. Highlights include scenery, geology, and whitewater.

The river begins west of the Eastern Continental Divide, and therefore actually flows northwest through the Appalachian Mountains. The river follows a general northwesterly direction as it flows through Transylvania County, Henderson County, and Buncombe County. In Buncombe County, the river flows through the city of Asheville, where it picks up the Swannanoa River. Downstream of Asheville, the river proceeds north through Madison County, where it flows through the county seat of Marshall. Marshall Elementary School is situated on an island in the river.

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