Go High Octane Rafting Down WNC’s Legendary Rivers

Asheville Citizen Times / Karen Chavez

The Western North Carolina mountains are dripping with rivers, a smorgasbord for kayaks, canoes, tubes, stand-up paddle boards and rafts.

But if you’ve tackled the usual suspects, including the French Broad River through Asheville, the Nantahala River near Bryson City or smaller rivers like the Tuckasegee and the Davidson, it might be time to spread your paddling wings, such as the Chattooga, Nolichucky, Ocoee, Pigeon and Cheoah rivers.

You’ve most likely seen the ubiquitous T-shirts bearing the somewhat irreverent, “Paddle faster. I hear banjo music.”

The slogan, which has morphed into variations such as “Run faster” and “Hike faster,” comes from a storyline in the infamous movie, “Deliverance,” starring Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty about a whitewater canoe trip gone very wrong.

It was filmed on the Chattooga River in Western North Carolina, the scenic setting that stood in as the fictional Cahulawassee River in the movie.


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Kiosks help us tell the story

RiverLink and MountainTrue have developed informational kiosks for each river access point along the French Broad River Paddle Trail with a grant from the North Carolina Recreational Trails Program. Each kiosk focuses on historical and natural features of the river, as well as paddle trail information including maps and boater resources. These kiosks aid users and […]

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

Blue Ridge Heritage National Heritage Area