||French Broad River, NC
||Gentle cruising, modest playing (unless the water is
cranking, in which case the playing improves -- see the information
on playspots below)
||Pleasant but with frequent signs of habitation,
including a sewage treatment plant, a dam, the occasional discarded
refrigerator, a railroad on one side of the river and a road most of
the way on the other.
|Distance from Downtown
Asheville (to take-out):
Biltmore Run (I-II), French
Broad, Section 8 (I-II), French
Broad, Section 9 (III (IV-)), many more
||Woodfin River Park
|Directions from Asheville
||20 minutes. I-240 to US 19 North (Exit 4).
Continue 6 miles on US 19 to the New Stock Road exit. Turn
left off the exit ramp and drive 0.7 miles to left onto Aiken Road,
then first right onto Goldview Road. Follow Goldview Road to
the river. Turn right onto NC 251. The Ledges Whitewater
Park and Picnic Area will be on your right almost immediately.
This is an alternate put-in. Continue north on NC 251 2.0
miles to the Alexander Bridge. Take-out at any convenient
pullout downstream of the bridge.
||10 minutes. Turn around and head south on NC 251
approximately 5.7 miles to the Woodfin River Park. Requires
one turn to the right to avoid merging onto the Old Marshall
Highway. To return to Asheville, either continue south on NC
251 to Broadway (which heads into downtown), or head north
(downstream) a short distance on NC 251 to Lower Beaverdam Creek
Road (the first right), then turn right 1.4 miles later onto
Merrimon Avenue (which also heads downtown). The first option
(heading south on NC 251) leads most quickly to US 19 and I-240 (at
the intersection with Broadway).
|Other access points:
||NC 251 follows the river and provides many
access opportunities for all but a short distance near the middle of
the run. The most common alternate put-in is either at the
Ledges Whitewater Park, or at a pull-out just upstream of the Ledges
Park. There are many convenient pullouts downstream of the
||A private campground is located on the river a short
distance upstream of the Ledges Park.
||20 fpm average
||Bob and David Benner's Carolina
Whitewater: A Canoeist's Guide to the Western Carolinas
||An unrunnable diversion dam is located a short
distance downstream from the put-in. Carry the dam on the
Asheville's closest playspots are located on
this stretch of river, the first in the vicinity of the Ledges
Whitewater Park and Picnic Area and the second at the Alexander
Bridge. The Ledges playspots (several) begin to warm up at
levels over 1,000 cfs; they get good around 2,500 cfs and are
ideal about 3,500 cfs. The Alexander Bridge Wave develops enough form
for front and side surfs at 1,800 cfs. At 2,100 it can be
cartwheeled but it's shallow and rocky. By 2,400 it is deep enough to cleanly
cartwheel all the way across the wave. It keeps getting better as
levels rise, but it begins to become difficult to get back to the staging
eddy at levels over 2,700 and nearly impossible at levels over 3,000. At
25,000 you'll think you're surfing Lachine in Canada but it is a one-shot
and you're off wonder.
For descriptions of the many runs in the Asheville area slightly
less challenging than Section 6 -- including seven on the French
Broad -- 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.