These trip options are only suggestions. Feel free to craft your own trip options that best fits your ability, schedule and interests. All of these trips can be altered, lengthened or made shorter. Enjoy your French Broad River Paddle Trail℠! Any of the campsites can be a great one night camping option. Just find an access point up and downstream that suits the distance you want to paddle and enjoy.
1 Night Trips
Short and Beautiful trip – Evan’s Island
Redmond Dam to Evan’s Island – 1.75 miles
Evan’s Island to Barnard – 3 miles
Float through the beautiful wooded gorge between Marshall and Barnard. You will camp on Evan’s Island with our friendly goats, Rose and Sophia. This section is a mix of flat moving water and some small class 2 shoals. The total distance is about 5.5 miles, making it a great option for a late start and a short second day. You can continue downstream, but the rapids become much larger and more frequent after the Barnard take out.
The Swift Asheville Sampler – Firefighter Island
Westfeldt to Firefighter Island – 7 miles
Firefighter Island to Bent Creek – 1.5 miles
Firefighter Island to Hominy Creek – 8 miles
Firefighter Island to the Bywater – 14.5 miles
Put in at the Westfeldt Park ramp for a seven-mile float to the island or put in at Glen Bridge River Park for a three-mile float. The paddle will take you down the long shoals of the French Broad River before you veer away from the interstate and camp at a quaint secluded feeling island. The next day you float 1.5 miles to take out at Bent Creek, 8.5 miles and take out at Hominy Creek or 14.5 miles and finish with a drink at the Bywater Bar. You will catch a view of the Biltmore Estate house as you cut through the middle of the property. This is a nice scenic float and one of the more popular stretches of the French Broad to paddle. Look for Firefighter Island on river left about a mile past the Long Shoals Road Bridge. At low water on the left side of the island and access the island from the sand bar on the downstream end of the island. At higher water you go either way around the island to reach the bottom of the island, where taking out is the easiest.
2 Night Trips
Discovering the Headwaters – Headwater’s Outfitters to Headwaters Campsite to Riverbend to Blantyre
Headwaters Outfitters to Headwaters Campsite – 8.5 miles
Headwaters Camp to Riverbend – 16 miles
Riverbend to Blantyre – 9.5 miles
Start where the French Broad forms at the North and West Forks of the river. Meander under tree canopy as you wind your way past Middle and East forks of the French Broad River toward a very nice campground (just past the Green Road bridge on the right), maintained by Headwaters Outfitters (to make a reservation contact Headwaters Outfitters). Day two takes you through farms, past the town of Brevard to your eventual stopping point at Riverbend Campsite. Watch the transition from cold narrow headwaters to a wider meandering river bed. This two-night trip takes you through the town of Brevard.
Super chill – Hap Simpson Park to Riverbend to Little River to Blantyre
Watch for downed trees across the river that can become obstacles.
Hap Simpson to Riverbend – 5 miles
Riverbend to Little River – 6 miles
Little River to Blantyre – 4 miles
Take your time and enjoy a few short days of paddling after you put in at Hap Simpson Riverfront Park. Meander your way to Riverbend for a nice night of camping in the sunny field or in the shade of the trees. Take your time the next day by swimming, fishing, or relaxing as you pass by the famous trout fishery, the Davidson River, on your way to the Little River campsite, a lovely peninsula at the mouth of the Little River and the French Broad. Finish the next day with an easy float to Blantyre river access.
3 Night Trips
Four-Day Getaway – Hap Simpson to Rhodes Ranch to Firefighter Island to Wilson’s RV to Woodfin Park
Watch for downed trees across the river that can become obstacles in the first part of the trip and you will likely have to dodge some rocks on the last part of the trip.
Hap Simpson to Rhodes Ranch – 17 miles
Rhodes Ranch to Firefighter – 20.5 miles
Firefighter to Wilson’s RV – 9.5 miles
Wilson’s RV to Woodfin Park – 8 miles
With three nights and four days along the river, you can enjoy a variation in sites and river features as you cruise through over 50 miles of water. Start your trip on the narrow tree canopied section of the river and finish with a broad river with great views. You will also get the chance to enjoy a shower on your third night and walk into West Asheville for dinner, if you choose. Pass right through the City of Asheville’s River District on your last day, where you can stop by a brewery or bar and eat great barbecue at 12 Bones (Monday-Friday 11 a.m. -4 p.m). This is a great way to see a long beautiful stretch of river without any rapids or portages.
4-5 Night Trips
Whitewater, mountains, and two states
Redmond Dam to Evan’s Island – 1.75 miles
Evan’s Island to Hot Springs Campground – 11.5 miles
Hot Springs Campground to Weaver’s Bend – 9 miles
Weaver’s Bend to French Broad Fields – 13 miles
French Fields to Bridgeport Bridge Access –11 miles
Enjoy one of the most scenic and best small mouth fishing sections of the French Broad. You can avoid the hard rapids by putting in at Hot Springs. After Hot Springs are mostly class II rapids with the Falls (after French Broad Fields) being the only real class III during normal water flow. Start the trip with a short day float to Evan’s Island. Enjoy paddling through the beautiful section of whitewater, crashing over class III and a couple class IV rapids as you make your way to the quaint town of Hot Springs. Stay at the nice campground, walk to dinner or soak in the natural Hot Springs just across the street from the campground. Paddle across the state line the next day and past the very scenic Paint Rock and Chimney Rocks. Weaver’s Bend is accessible by car, so sometimes on the weekends you can get a lot of noisy neighbors. Begin you decent out of the mountains as you head towards French Broad Fields. This campsite is a Forest Service site and is unmarked. Camp in the wooded area along the river. The site is about ½ mile or more on river left, so camp anywhere that look appealing. Paddle your biggest rapid of the day right of the bat the next day and eventually take out at Bridgeport Bridge, the last take out before you get to the slack water of Douglas Lake.
5 Night Trips
BREW SERIES – VOTED #11 IN THE WORLD FOR TRIPS TO TAKE IN 2016 BY OUTSIDE MAGAZINE:
Want to paddle to some of the best breweries in the country? Here is how.
2 day, 2 brewery trip:
Come down and grab a tasty brew at Oskar Blues the night before or for lunch and then head across the street to the Pisgah Forest Access.
Paddle about 12.5 miles by the Davidson River, past our beautiful Little River campsite to the Rhodes Ranch campsite.
See the river broaden as you paddle past Mills River, Mud Creek, and Cane Creek. Paddle about 14 miles and take out at Westfeldt Park, about a mile upstream of Sierra Nevada.
The Sierra Nevada take out is not yet open, so you have to stop at Westfeldt and either walk or drive to the brewery.