Discover the Beauty of The French Broad River
Are you interested in learning more about the French Broad River? If so you’ve come to the right place! On this page you’ll find plenty of helpful resources, information, and fun facts about the river.
We are so lucky to have this beautiful resource here in Western North Carolina. It has a rich history and means a lot to many different people. We hope you’ll find something to love as you explore this waterway!
Hows The River Today?
Take a look at access points, campsites, and other points of interest on the river. Don’t forget to check the water quality before you go!
French Broad River Conditions at
We advise against getting on the river when streamflow/discharge is above 3000 cubic feet per second.
Although environmentally threatened for most of the 20th century, The French Broad River has become a vital economic, natural, and recreational resource.
French Broad by the Numbers
- The French Broad is one of the oldest rivers in the world, dating anywhere from 260-325 million years old.
- The river headwaters are in Rosman NC, and it’s fed by water from 8 total counties in NC, for a total of 2,830 square miles.
- The entire watershed consists of over 4,000 miles of streams and rivers that feed into the French Broad River.
- The French Broad River itself is roughly 219 miles long, before it flows into the Holston River in TN.
Who can help me get on the river?
Check out some of our favorite river outfitters, tubing and rafting companies. They’ll make sure you have a fun, safe, and memorable experience on the river!
A Quick History of the French Broad River
The French Broad River is formed by the junction of the North Fork and West Fork in southern Transylvania County near the town of Rosman. It flows northeast into Henderson County, where it then turns northwest and courses through Buncombe and Madison Counties. The French Broad flows through the city of Asheville, where it picks up the Swannanoa River and continues north into Tennessee. After leaving North Carolina, the French Broad proceeds west for 102 miles, joins the Holston River to form the Tennessee River near the city of Knoxville, and eventually flows into the Mississippi River.
The Cherokee names for the French Broad River vary, but the most common was Tah-kee-os-tee, meaning ‘‘racing waters.’’ Others, such as Peo-li-co, Agiqua, and Zillicoah, usually referred to only a part of the river. The English originally knew it as the Broad River—the way it was written on a 1766 map of Indian Nations. By 1776, however, the word ‘‘French’’ had been added because much of the territory west of the Blue Ridge, where the river drained, was occupied by the French in the 1700s.