Grab your canoe or kayak! The French Broad River Paddle Trail opened in June 2012 to connect more than 140 miles of the French Broad River. The Trail serves to protect the river as a resource for recreation, environmental stewardship, education, and economic development. The low impact water trail with, Leave No Trace paddle with eight campsites spaced about 12-15 miles apart. The campsites are all paddle in-only sites and located on private land with reservations made through the Western NC Alliance at www.wnca.org/paddle. Campsites vary in size, accommodating between 25-75 people, and cost $5 a person per night or $50 per night for groups larger than 10. Three additional campsites by RiverLink are be free and open to the public, without reservations.
Envisioned by RiverLink in Asheville, the WNCA and a host of partners, such as REI, Parsec Financial, Sweetwater Brewing Company and more than 150 volunteers, have cleared invasive species, constructed picnic tables, built rock stairs, planted trees, and put together fire rings to create seven of eight new campsites along the French Broad River during the last two years.
Gerrit Jobsis, Southeast regional director for American Rivers, will also make an important announcement that will gain national attention for the French Broad River and the Asheville area.
“Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations,” Jobsis says. “They are special destinations for fishing, boating and other recreation. Just as hiking trails help people explore the land, paddle trails help people discover rivers.
“The French Broad River Paddle Trail provides a fun and exciting way to get families outdoors, connects communities to treasured landscapes and will be an economic driver benefiting local businesses and quality of life."
RiverLink is a regional non-profit spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a place to live, work and play. Since 1987 they have engaged in simultaneous efforts to address water quality concerns throughout the French Broad River basin, expand public opportunities for access and recreation, and spearhead the economic revitalization of Asheville's dilapidated riverfront district.
The French Broad River Paddle Trail is an extension of the NC Blueway, with the development of free public campsites, new river access points, and the portaging the 3 dams. Providing 217 river miles, from Rosman, NC to the NC border where it connects to TN French Broad River Blueway
Construction and development of the French Broad River Paddle Trail was supported by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of State Parks NC Recreational Trail and the Adopt-a-Trail Programs, The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina Pigeon River Fund, and the NC Department of Transportation.
Flat Water Kayak / Canoe Asheville River Trip "Biltmore Run"
If you have a flat water canoe or kayak, there's a great seven-mile river trip in the city of Asheville that passes through Biltmore Estate. It's heavily wooded with views of the Biltmore House. It's difficult to imagine you are in the middle of the city! It's just 10 minutes from downtown Asheville. You will need two vehicles so you can leave one at the take out.
Put-in: Bent Creek River and Picnic Area (near NC Arboretum), 1592 Brevard Road, Asheville
Take-out: Hominy Creek River and Picnic Park, 194 Hominy Creek Road, Asheville
Directions from Asheville to take-out: 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.
Shuttle: 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.
Do NOT attempt this after heavy rains when the river is running high!