French Broad - 6. NC Route 251 to Route 1634


French Broad, North Carolina, US

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6. NC Route 251 to Route 1634 (Woodfin River park to Alexander)

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 6.5 Miles

(MN) Throwing ends at the shithole


(MN) Throwing ends at the shithole
Photo of Scott Darby by Mike Nail taken 03/20/05 @ 1800

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
FRENCH BROAD RIVER AT ASHEVILLE, NC
usgs-03451500 500 - 5000 cfs I-III 00h53m 1200 cfs (running)
500 to 5K is the runnable range for a typical boater running from Woodfin Park to below the Ledges or to the Alexander bridge.


River Description

Not a frequently run section of river. Pubic access available at Woodfin Park. A short distance downstream the water is backed up by a dam that supplies water to the Metropolitan Sewage District. Portage on the left (short & steep). This is mostly a class 2 run with one class 3 at medium levels (~2,000 cfs). At the upper end of the range the ledges is probably a 3 also. Many advanced to expert boaters will play at Ledges Park at levels much higher than 5,000 cfs. 

Carolina Whitewater, B.Benner

More info is available on Chris Bell's Asheville-Area Canoeing and Kayaking Page.or his newer BoatingBeta.com page.

from Discoduck on boatertalk. March 2003:
Ok, the ledges park is really fun, because it is close to town, but the quality of the playspots there are not up to the level of quarry or the NOC wave. At the upper most section of the ledges there is a small but nice 360 hole that gets really good at levels from around 2500 to 3500 cfs, and at that level, you can even throw some ends in it. furthur down is a cartwheel pourover that is hard to spot, but really fun once you figure it out. it washes out above 1800 cfs or so. It is really good at lower levels of around 700-1300 cfs of flow. The only drawback to this spot is a rock on the right side that is a real boat breaker if you get off line, but it is worth the boat abuse in my opinion. I have seen a few people get 30-40 ends in this spot. A dozen or so is the best I can do!

Below this is the "main" drop of the ledges, some fun circular attainments can be done in this rapid (go upstream above a rock using a small hole/wave to slingshot you, come back around across the current and through at slot, repeat again and again). there is also a cartwheel pourover here that is "walled in" by rocks on both sides that is good at levels of 2000 or so. definitely can be exciting if you decide to give it a try.

Below this is the infamous "shit hole". This spot is always playable at about any level except above 7000 cfs or so where it becomes a one shot wave. This hole is generally good for some blasts and blast wheels, corner spins. I have seen some people cartwheel in it and blunt at higher flows, but it is pretty difficult, and you need a short boat for sure.

There is also a wave furthur downstream called the alexander bridge wave that I have never been to that is supposed to be good at 2500 cfs (I think). Anyone have any info on this?

Anyway, hope this was helpful. All in all, it is a good workout and moderately fun. We are supposed to be getting some other man made playspots closer to town in the future, but I am out of the loop on the progress towards this. I generally go down there once a week or so as the weather warms up.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-08-04 17:49:13

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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