French Broad River Kayaking
This spring we are attempting to kayak the entire stretch of the French Broad River. Of course since we have jobs and all of that nonsense we can't do it in one shot, but will eventually get the whole river done piece by piece.
Adventure Trip Logs
Mile 0 - 11 - March 20, 2004
Put in: Headwaters Outfitters
Take Out: Island Ford Public River Access
We put in at the Headwaters Outfitters parking lot, right at the confluence of the West & North Forks of the French Broad River. This stretch of the river starts off clean, cool, shallow, and with a few ripples from time to time. You go right thru the heart of the bustling town of Rosman. After a few miles though, the river slows to a crawl, and becomes a windy, peaceful, shallow trip thru farmland and cow pastures. There were no obstacles or hard parts about this stretch, and anyone in virtually any sort of canoe or kayak would have no troubles whatsoever.
This stretch of river does contain several sections which could be considered class II. There are a few things to watch out for, but nothing major to a boater with prior river paddling experience. The scenery is beautiful!
* Kayaking or canoeing from the headwaters to Lions Mountain Access is a short 4 mile stretch of the river, that is a little bit quicker moving than the next 30 miles. It would make an excellent first time trip for beginners!
Mile 11 - 21 - May 1, 2004
Put in: Island Ford Public River Access
Take Out: Hap Simpson Riverfront Park
This is a nice stretch of river. Island Ford feels like a safe place to park a car, as it's kinda out in the middle of nowhere. The river starts off slow moving, and stays that way during the entire stretch. Nothing more than class I water the entire way. There were a number of sections that were clogged with trees, and a few places where longer boats would have to portage. We were able to squeeze through a few tight spots, but it did take several minutes of messing with. The river continues to be a rather narrow & shallow river though this stretch.
The scenery through this section is very nice, and basically meanders through heavily forested areas and cow pastures. We saw several cows drinking and playing in the river, kinda cool paddling right next to a bunch of cattle. There were also some visible rock faces on the surrounding mountains, all lending to a very scenic trip. However toward the end of the stretch, old docks, appliances, and tires started showing themselves.... we figure it's gonna be like this for the next 50 miles thru Asheville.
Hap Simpson Riverfront Park in Brevard is nice. Lots of nice pretty grass, and a little off the road makes for a very friendly take out and a nice place to park. One of the nicer access points so far on the river, with the exception of the Headwaters Outfitters parking lot. There lot feels safe to park because of the amount of people activity going on.
Mile 21-26 - May 8, 2004
Put in: Hap Simpson Riverfront Park
Take Out: Pisgah Forest Access
Some people call them pallettes. Others call them skids. Which ever you know them by, you will have plenty of time to argue your point on this 5 mile stretch of truck loading zone. Everything before Hap Simpson Park is nice. The river meanders nicely through beautiful farmland, nice views of surrounding mountains, just nice.
And then, everything goes to hell. Civilization is to thank for the incredible amount of garbage you will float past. You will see more Mountain Dew bottles in this 5 miles than you would at a Pepsi sponsored Charlotte Motor Speedway Nascar picnic. This was by far the crappiest section of the river so far. What sucks is that it's only mile 21-26. More than likely, it's gonna be like this for the next good while paddling thru Asheville. What a joy. I guess paddling this section is like going to the dentist... just gotta do it and get it over with. This was also a very slow moving section of river. Nothing bigger then a small small class one.
We were wondering if there would be any interest in a good day of river cleanup. If anyone reads this, and think they would be interested in spending a day on the water to clean up this river, please get in touch with us! I guess we now know why so few people use this river... it's just nasty in some places. Nevertheless, we shall press on till its done :)
Mile 26-34 - next...
Put in: Hap Pisgah Forest Access
Take Out: Blantyre Access