French Broad section 9 whitewater paddle

There is no better way to get outdoors in the springtime than paddling an amazing river! We'll get together and paddle section 9 of the French Broad river. This section is located in Western North Carolina near the town of Hot Springs. It is roughly a 2 hour drive from Knoxville. The river is free flowing, meaning that the flow depends on rainfall in the drainage basin (no dam upstream). However, the drainage basin for the French Broad River is huge, and therefore it is always runnable-12 months a year. The setting of this river is beautiful. Pretty, in a wide forested canyon with occasional signs of development. There is only a railroad track on the shore, no highway or power lines. Huge boulders and natural sand bars are scattered throughout the river channel and shore. This is one of this regions best intermediate whitewater rivers!

The French Broad begins in North Carolina near the South Carolina border. Flowing northward through Asheville, it enters its gorge and most famous whitewater section...section 9. After section 9, the river flows into Tennessee and is impounded by Douglas Dam, forming a large TVA lake. After Douglas lake, the river flows into Knoxville, TN where it meets the Holston River to form the Tennessee River, then flowing 652 miles before entering the Ohio River and then the Mississippi River before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. You won't be thinking about that when you navigate through the waves, rocks, and shoals of this mountain section of scenic river. This river is a great place to practice combat rolls, surfing, ferrying, and shredding a wave. A picnic lunch is always recommended as the natural beauty and numerous rock outcroppings invite you to rest while your feet warm up in the river sand.

The French Broad River is an American Heritage river. Its importance to the region from ancient times through the colonial era to the present day is unmatched, not to mention its superb whitewater qualities.

The river is a very wide, meaning that it is great for people ready to step it up to intermediate whitewater. There are many lines and generally deep current with relativity safe consequences if one decides to "swim" or flip their boat over. 

Please ask any questions that you may have about this river or trip. It is better for everyone to have a general idea of what they are about to do.

Requirements:

*a river boat (whitewater or made for moving current)
*a whitewater helmet (no bike or construction helmets)
*a paddle (your best friend while on the river)
* PFD or life jacket (must be coast guard approved and fit properly)!!
*river shoes (must stay on your feet)
*river attire (no cotton, and proper river clothes)
*swimming ability (must be able to swim if need be)!!
*change of clothes

Preferred items:
* sprayskirt (for whitewater kayaks only)
*sunscreen
*lunch and drinks (like water or gatorade)

This should be a really fun trip! This river is so close to Knoxville and it is truly a national treasure. Not only is it a really fun intermediate whitewater river, but it is a really scenic, historic river!

Boats acceptable:
*whitewater kayak
*whitewater canoe (no keel)
*sit on top kayak (under 12' long and no keel)
*inflatable kayak (medium to heavy duty)

SEE YOU ON THE RIVER!!!

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  • Ginger

    What a rush! All thumbs up for this meetup. The hot springs after was the perfect ending. Thanks Forrest for letting me use the Torrent.

    1 · April 20, 2014

  • Forrest

    I'm glad everyone had a great experience and enjoyed some intermediate appalachian whitewater!

    1 · April 20, 2014

    • Forrest

      I will post pictures in a few hours!!!

      1 · April 20, 2014

  • Wes

    the guage was on the way up the whole time! now (2am) 3840cfs

    2 · April 20, 2014

  • Wes

    once again a great river showes a new side. Everyone made it and no major carnage! Good job guys! Especially to Mary Ann and Natalie!

    2 · April 20, 2014

  • Jerry

    Fun fun day enjoyed the river, and the company. Thanks Forest for showing us the lines.

    3 · April 19, 2014

    • Jerry

      Oh by the way the ride home was pretty scary but we made it safe.

      3 · April 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a Sevylor 2 person inflatable. We have done the lower section but not section 9. Would this boat be ok for me and my bf?

    April 18, 2014

    • Wes

      if you get a flat you can hike out on the tracks.

      1 · April 18, 2014

    • Forrest

      Yes, if you decide that the river is not to your liking, then you can hike out beside the railroad track-just watch for trains. There are no roads along the river, just two bridges.

      April 18, 2014

  • Ben

    If you live in West Knoxville and want to car pool email me please. I am off Lovell Road.

    1 · April 18, 2014

    • Forrest

      Once everyone is at the Cracker Barrel at Straw Plains we will arrange better carpooling logistics and boat transportation. If anyone needs to contact me in regards to this trip or any of the other trips, my mobile is[masked]

      1 · April 18, 2014

  • Forrest

    Hey everybody! Just a reminder to check your gear and see if you have everything. Take your cold-weather paddling gear just in case. It is supposed to be nice tomorrow, but it is always better to be prepared. I'm guessing the flow to be anywhere from 2,500 cfs -- 3,000 cfs. These levels are PERFECT for this stretch! It should be another great day on the river! Again, we're meeting at the cracker barrel parking lot at the strawberry plains exit at 9:00 AM.

    1 · April 18, 2014

  • Wes

    We are looking to take as few cars as possible. i can haul a bunch of boats and gear along with 3 passengers (4 if there is a shorter person) comfortably. I will be getting to straw plains a little early. You should be able to see us on the right as you exit the highway.

    April 17, 2014

    • Wes

      thanks Curtiss, but we should be good with boat transport. i can fit most if not all of them on my trailer. so people transport is all that is needed. Jerry, the 3rd row would be useful.

      April 17, 2014

    • Jerry

      I will bring it then.

      April 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    With deep regret, I have to back out on this great trip. I hope this trip happens again this year and I can join y'all.

    April 16, 2014

    • Jerry

      We r going May 10th also.

      1 · April 17, 2014

  • Ben

    Anyone up for the Hot Springs after a day on the water?

    April 10, 2014

    • Wes

      Thanks Ginger! Forrest is letting you use the torrent, a great white water S.O.T. i have paddled it in a lot of crazy stuff, it is perfect for FB9. and unlike the duck it has thigh straps to keep you on! bring your paddle, i don't have a short one. i have a longer one you can use, that boat is a little wider and higher than a reg. boat. you will like it

      April 13, 2014

    • Ginger

      Wes, sounds a little scary vs. a duckie but I'm game! Plus I know you guys are very capable of saving me :). Thanks for offering me a ride, I guess since I live closer to Forrest and Ben I'll ride with one of them and hook up with you at Strawberry Plains or the put-in?

      April 15, 2014

  • Forrest

    I changed the meet location from Pellissippi College to the Cracker Barrel at the Strawberry Plains exit as it is on the way. Park in the outer part of the lot. Look for the kayaks/canoes. We are meeting there at 9:00 AM that Saturday.

    1 · April 7, 2014

    • Wes

      yeah, it still says near the pond.

      April 11, 2014

  • Jerry

    What class is this section of river.

    1 · March 18, 2014

    • Forrest

      It all depends on the flow, but it is generally class II-III+ with one class IV. The first 4 miles are evenly dispersed class II-III+ rapids. The last 4 miles has 3 rapids, a class III+ ledge, a IV wave train, and a class III ledge.

      March 18, 2014

    • Jerry

      Ok thanks i better hold off a while before i go there I've only done one class III. I might catch up with you all one day.

      March 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hummm.... just read the fine print of this section and the AW site rates this as a class 3-4. Sounds awesome but not sure I can handle it right now. My skills are rusty after being off water a few months and I need to build them back.... another time I hope.

    March 18, 2014

    • Forrest

      Keep practicing and by late April maybe you'll be ready. There should be a few more French Broad trips this summer that I haven't posted yet. If you change your mind then feel free to join back in.

      1 · March 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Who is going on this paddle? I would love to share the load with someone, especially someone who has paddled the river!

    February 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just ran this a month ago and its a great section

    1 · December 28, 2013

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