||French Broad River, NC
Bent Creek to Hominy Creek
||Passes through Biltmore Estate; heavily wooded;
views of the Biltmore Mansion, especially in winter;
surprisingly undeveloped for a run so close to a large city and two
|Distance from Downtown
Section 6 (I-II+), French
Broad, Section 8 (I-II), French
Broad, Section 9 (III (IV-)), many more
||Bent Creek River and Picnic Area
||Hominy Creek River and Picnic Park
|Directions from Asheville
||7 minutes. Take I-240 West to Exit 1 (Brevard
Road). Turn right off the ramp, then first left, then first
left again onto Hominy Creek Road (at bottom of hill; road
follows creek). The take-out is in the little park on your
left at the end of the road.
||10 minutes each direction. Retrace steps to
I-240 West. Take I-240 West to merger with I-26.
Continue on I-26 East to Exit 2 (191 / Blue Ridge Parkway).
Turn left at light onto NC 191 South and drive 2.8 miles, passing
under the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Bent Creek River and Picnic
Area will be on your left just past the Parkway overpass.
|Other access points:
||None between the Bent Creek and Hominy Creek river
||Three USFS fee campgrounds are located near this
section of the French Broad: Lake
Mills River, and Davidson
River. The Lake Powhatan campground is open from April 1
to October 31; the North Mills River and Davidson River
Campground are open year round. All require reservations a
minimum of four days in advance during their peak seasons (mid-May
to October 31; click the links above to make reservations
online), and all require two-day minimum stays on weekends
(three-day minimum stays holiday weekends). Sites at Lake
Powhatan are $14 / night, those at North Mills River $8 / night,
and those at Davidson River $15-18 / night. The Lake Powhatan
and Davidson River campgrounds have hot showers and flush toilets,
the North Mills River campground does not.
To get to the Lake Powhatan campground from Asheville, take Exit
2 (NC 191) off I-26, turn left onto NC 191, and head south two miles
to the stoplight on Bent Creek Ranch Road (note that you drove past
this turn-off while running your shuttle; turn right onto NC
191 from the Bent Creek access and head north approximately 0.8
miles). Turn right (left if you are heading back from the
take-out) and follow the signs and this road to the Lake Powhatan
Recreation Area. To get to the North Mills River campground,
take Exit 9 (Airport / Brevard Connector), turn right off the ramp
and head South on NC 280 (from the Bent Creek access, turn left onto
NC 191 and drive several miles to the first stoplight. Turn
left onto NC 146 / Long Shoals Road and follow it to I-26.
Turn right onto I-26 East, then take the first exit -- Exit 9 as
described above. Or . . . just stay on NC 191 all the way to
its merger with NC 280). Just past the intersection with NC
191 make a right at the stoplight onto North Mills River Road and
follow it about five miles to the North Mills River Recreation Area.
To get to the Davidson River campground, stay on NC 280 all the way
to its intersection with US 64 / 276 on the outskirts of Brevard.
Turn right at the stoplight onto US 276 and drive into the National
If you're on a tight budget, the USFS allows free camping along
the dirt road between Bent Creek and North Mills River. This
is the road that heads up the hill to the right just before you get
to the North Mills River campground. And if money is no object
and you want to eat and sleep in style, check out the Bent
Creek Lodge. To get to the Bent Creek Lodge from the Bent
Creek access, turn left onto NC 191 and head south 0.6 miles.
||5 fpm average
||None for paddling, but for mountain biking near this
stretch of river check out J. Mitchell's MTB
||Betsy Mayers' Paddling
Asheville: 28 Gently Exciting Regional River Trips;
Bob and David Benner's Carolina
Whitewater: A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas
(Benner and Benner call this "Section 5-A").
||The Bent Creek, Mills River and Davidson River areas
-- all of which you'll be driving by and perhaps camping in -- offer
some of the best mountain biking around. Check them out on J.
This is a favorite run of the Western
Carolina Paddlers, who hold an annual potluck supper moonlight
run on this stretch of water. It consists mainly of moving
water, with a few shallow shoals. A shoal under the I-26
bridge offers the most significant (though very modest) challenge.
For descriptions of many runs in the Asheville area similar in
nature to the Biltmore Run, see Betsy Mayers' Paddling
Asheville: 28 Gently Exciting Regional River Trips.
This very well done guide for those interested in paddling class
I-II in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee includes put-ins,
take-outs, directions from Asheville, landmarks by river mile,
excellent maps and general comments. For less detailed
descriptions of every run on the French Broad from its headwaters
near Rosman, NC into Tennessee, see Bob and David Benner's Carolina
Whitewater: A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas.