French Broad River Paddle Trail

FBR Rafting II -- Ruth Moraga

The French Broad River Paddle Trail is a recreational watercraft trail created and operated by RiverLink and MountainTrue.  The paddle trail facilitates public access to and camping on over 140 miles of the French Broad River, from the headwaters in Rosman, North Carolina to Douglas Lake in Tennessee. All campsites require a reservation at:

Use our Paddle Trail Map to plan your trip!

Trail Information:

The trail is 117 miles in North Carolina and usually through-boaters approximately 10 days to complete. The river varies in character and supports many skill levels of paddlers. The headwaters near Rosman, N.C. are narrow and flat, with a few waves and riffle areas. In this section, you will traverse predominately through farm land with high river banks and may encounter fallen trees in the river. After the river enters Buncombe County and eventually passes through Asheville, it widens and becomes shallower. This area is also flat water with the occasional wave or riffle of whitewater.

Below Asheville, there is the first of three dams you will portage. The first, known as Craggy Dam, is approximately 10′ high and there is an unimproved portage on river left.  Below Craggy Dam is the first bit of technical whitewater, called “Ledges.” This is a local spot for play boat practice for local enthusiasts. Below Ledges the river is considered class 1-2 rapids.

Above Marshall is the second dam, the Capitola Dam, which has a long portage through town. The safest means of portage is to exit the river at the Town of Marshall Park in Rollins and shuttle to below the Redmond Dam. If you choose to continue in the river, this section is beautiful, yet there is no legal portage around the third and final dam, the Redmon Dam. Many boaters portage to the right along the railroad, but this is not advised. It is illegal and many boaters have been ticketed for being on the railroad.



Leave No Trace Principles

There are seven (7) principles: Plan Ahead and Be Prepared Learn about river-specific issues, regulations, and permits. Use river guidebo[...]

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The Paddle Trail Map

Go to the Paddle Trail Map Our NEW Paddle Trail Map is streaming! No need for downloads or updates! Utilize this map to plan your trip dow[...]

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What resources are there to help me plan my trip? We have developed paddle trail map to assist in your trip planning, which includes criti[...]

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Rules & Regulations

North Carolina Boating Rules: All recreational vessels must have one Type I, II or III PFD of a suitable size for each person aboard. In ad[...]

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Suggested Trips

2 Day Trip ~ Class 1&2 ~ Camp at Ivy River Campsite Another other option would be to put it at Ledges Whitewater park (there is a play h[...]

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Get To Know Your Watershed

Know your Watershed The French Broad River is the third (3rd) oldest river in the world. The river is even older than the mountains it runs [...]

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"The French Broad River is the third oldest river in the world."

Blue Ridge Heritage National Heritage Area