Use this web map to become familiar with:
And locate existing obstructions along the river such as:
These hazards can usually be portaged or avoided, but it's important to take extra precaution and incorporate their existence into your trip-planning. See a current list of known issues under the "Obstructions" section.
When opening the interactive web map on a GPS-enabled smartphone while on or near the river, tap the "dashed square" button in the top-right corner to have the map open on your phone in the Google Maps app. You'll then be able to see where you are in relation to the map elements.
Our print map has significantly more detail on access points, campsites, dams, rapids, outfitters, parks, and other relevant points of interest, but does not identify or display temporary obstacles. You can purchase our print map on the Print Map page or through several local retailers.
Note that the access points displayed on our web and print maps, and referenced on the Suggested Trips page, are established and managed for public use, available for customers of a business, or completely located on public land. Several informal river access points exist within road right-of-ways, below bridges, through handshake agreements, or other non-legal arrangements. To avoid accidental trespassing, injuries, and vehicular incidents, these sites are not included in our public-facing resources. Feel free to contact us via email with questions.
The French Broad Paddle Trail section of the French Broad River is generally free-flowing and safe, however there are three run-of-river dams (no reservoirs) that paddlers should be aware of. The river also occasionally collects river-wide woody debris and intersects with construction projects that might be hazardous for paddlers.
See below for a summarized list of known obstructions and associated issues along the French Broad Paddle Trail. If you're aware of something that's not listed here, please send us the location, a description, and a photo if if possible via email (see the Contact page).
River-Wide Woody Debris: Typically only found in Transylvania County and southern Henderson County due to the river's narrow width. Many entities work together to identify, announce, and create passage through blockages as soon as possible.
Construction Projects: These seldom block the entire river, but can affect the width of the channel, speed of the water, and access to the bank within the project area. Examples include bridge creation and replacement, road widening, riparian buffer and floodplain restoration, etc.
Dams: No legal river-level portages exist for any of the three dams listed below. See the descriptions on the web map for details and contact us with further questions.