Another other option would be to put it at Ledges Whitewater park (there is a play hole below the dam, upstream from the park about 100 yards). At river mile 136. You can paddle to our Ivy River campsite, which will hold a group your size, at river mile 125. The river here is beautiful, less urban and you can expect class 1-2 rapids. The section below Walnut Island is a great section for teaching, as well. There are some alternative put –ins if you want to shorten the trip. Alexander River Park – river mile 134, or Walnut Island –river mile 132. The take out for the Ivy River campsite, is at an informal access at Rollins. It’s at a Town of Marshall owned park with picnic pavilions, it’s on river right about ¼ mile from the campsite. Just past this river access (take out) there is a top flow dam (Capitola Dam) in the town of Marshall – river Mile 124.
From Chris Bell’s Boating Beta Page: http://www.boatingbeta.com/
Character: Gentle cruising
Scenery: 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 interstates.
Distance from Downtown Asheville (take-out): 7 minutes
Length: 7 miles
Season: Year round
Other sections: French Broad, Section 6 (I-II+), French Broad, Section 8 (I-II), French Broad, Section 9 (III (IV-)), many more
Put-in: Bent Creek River and Picnic Area
Take-out: Hominy Creek River and Picnic Park
Directions from Asheville to take-out: 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.
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.
Other access points: None between the Bent Creek and Hominy Creek river accesses.
All Paddle Trail Campsites can be reserve at French Broad River Paddle Trail.
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 (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 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. To get to the Bent Creek Lodge from the Bent Creek access, turn left onto NC 191 and head south 0.6 miles.
Gradient: 5 fpm average
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.
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