Click for Asheville, North Carolina Forecast French Broad River, NC
(Rosman to Bent Creek)


Class

Flow

Gauge

I

250 cfs minimum 

French Broad at Blantyre

 
Character: Gentle cruising
Scenery: Rustic patchwork quilt of farmlands and wooded areas
Distance from Downtown Asheville: Anywhere from ten minutes (Long Shoals Road) to one hour depending on section paddled
Length: Almost 60 miles
Season: Year round
Other sections: French Broad, Biltmore Run (I-II), French Broad, Section 6 (I-II+), French Broad, Section 8 (I-II), French Broad, Section 9 (III (IV-)), many more
Put-in: Too many to describe.  Use a map to identify alternative put-ins and take-outs, or consult either Betsy Mayers' Paddling Asheville:  28 Gently Exciting Regional River Trips or Bob and David Benner's Carolina Whitewater:  A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas.
Take-out: Too many to describe.  See above.
Directions from Asheville: Too many to describe.  See above.  This entire stretch of river is south of Asheville, however, with the French Broad flowing north.  The general strategy is to take I-240 West to I-26 East and then to take either Exit 2 (NC 191), Exit 6 (Long Shoals Road) or Exit 9 (Airport Road / Brevard Connector).  From Exit 2, turning left off the ramp onto NC 191 South and driving approximately three miles takes one to the Bent Creek River Access and Picnic Area.  Continuing South on NC 191 several miles to the first stoplight and then turning left takes one to the Long Shoals Road bridge.  The put-in / take-out on the East side of this bridge can also be reached by turning right at the bottom of the ramp off Exit 6.  Continuing South on NC 191 leads to Fanning Bridge Road, which can also be reached from Exit 9.  Exit 9 is the best exit to take to get to all the other potential put-ins and take-outs further South.  Turn right off the ramp and head South on NC 280.  NC 280 goes all the way to Brevard and U.S. 64, which in turn goes all the way to Rosman.
Shuttle: Too many to describe.  See above.
Other access points: Too many to describe.  See above.
Camping: Three USFS fee campgrounds are located near this section of the French Broad:  Lake Powhatan, North 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.  Turn right 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.  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 Forest.

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.

Gradient: Ranges from less than 2 fpm to just over 5 fpm
Guides  
  Online: None for paddling, but for mountain biking near this stretch of river check out J. Mitchell's MTB WNC page.
  Print: 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
Maps: MapQuest map centered on Brevard.  Recenter and zoom as needed.
Photos: None yet.
Other: 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. Mitchell's MTB WNC page.

 


 

For descriptions of four distinct runs covering approximately half this stretch of river, including put-ins, take-outs, directions from Asheville, landmarks by river mile, excellent maps and general comments, see Betsy Mayers' Paddling Asheville:  28 Gently Exciting Regional River Trips.  A very well done guide for those interested in paddling class I-II in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.  For less detailed descriptions of six runs covering this entire stretch of river, see Bob and David Benner's Carolina Whitewater:  A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas.

 


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Revised: November 12, 2003.

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