This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V
Length 3.5 Miles
Gauge ~ Broad River at highway 9 near Chimney Rock
Flow Range 2.87 - 5.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 6 hours ago 2.95 [FT] 👍 ℹī¸
Reach Info Last Updated 12/09/2013 9:03 pm

River Description

Leland Davis put together a video walkthrough of a good portion of the rapids on this run.

The run is composed of continuous boulder drops and runs thru downtown Chimney Rock, NC. The takeout is a small park on river left. It's clearly visible from the road after driving through the center of Chimney Rock. It has multiple dirt parking spots for vehicles and good river access.

Be on the look out when paddling this section as several rapids have some kind of undercut or sieve and wood will often lodge in various rapids.

Rapid Descriptions


Class - N/A Mile - 0

First Slide

Class - N/A Mile - 0.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Start center, heading left at the bottom of the slide.

Apple Orchard Slide

Class - N/A Mile - 0.2

Formerly known as "Roostertail Slide"

Used to have a large rooster tail feature on it before being removed in a flood.

Banana Hammock

Class - N/A Mile - 0.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Go left, sieves to the right.

Pocket Hole

Class - N/A Mile - 0.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The Boulder Alley

Class - N/A Mile - 0.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 0.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 0.7

Walker Falls

Class - 5.1 Mile - 0.71
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Ugly sieve pile. Portage river right and seal launch in off of the top of the large rock. Site of a fatality. Has seen some descents.

The Hein

Class - N/A Mile - 0.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 0.9

Sieve City

Class - N/A Mile - 1

Also sometimes called "Alice in Woderland"

Rumbling Bald Rapid

Class - N/A Mile - 1.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 1.2


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Dana Culbreth and Will Hanna
13 years ago

Not sure of what they are planning to do long term yet. But the access to the river has been cut off at several spots. There is a temporary bridge that is bad news. What may be worse however is that they have erected a fence on river left keeping people from accessing the river at "The Gauntlet" and "Franks/Redneck Falls". Redneck Falls is often portaged even when there is enough water. At lower flows, it is a mandatory portage/seal launch. If their plan is to make this area a private access point for the landowner. (Already no trespassing signs) There will no longer be any place to scout these rapids, let alone portage.
To anyone paddling The Lower Rocky Broad. Remain conscious of the fact that our access here is already limited. Please be extra considerate to the folks that live over there. Do not argue with the locals nor do anything to provoke the people of Chimney Rock into developing a bad taste for kayakers. I paddle there several times a month and never have any trouble. I'm trying to find out what the ____ is going on with these new developers. I wrote AW about this and I'm sure it will get worked out. "IF" that is, nobody screws it up before we get to the truth of the matter. Get out and go creeking.

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Cooper Lambla
14 years ago

The new pics are good, a couple of things. redneck falls or franks as we call it is super shity. portage on river right and seal launch off the biggest boulder there, It's way more fun than scraping down the drop. Also the real estate office near the put-in is super cool, the nice folks there are letting my buddies and I put in on their property. Change and everything else discretly, and still park in the pictured lot, but you can put-in there, just be super cool, clean and well mannered. I know Kayakers are already clean cut and all that, just got to be careful.haha, have fun out there!! it's a fun place!

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Cooper Lambla
14 years ago

Will Hanna And I checked out the Rocky Broad one day in the spring of 04'. The Internet gauge, ( read 4.0 on the Bat Cave Gauge. When we got there the bridge gauge read 3.6 I'd say this is the minimum. It was very low, but you could run all of the rapids but one. Put in at or below the bridge in Bat Cave and go down as far as you want. Will and I did one section of about a mile I think, and just kept hiking back up the road to the top. Close to the start there is a drop that ends with a monster tree blocking the whole river, there is no way to get around it in a boat, but once you go over the lip of the drop you'll know you need to to get to the bank before the log, which is possible, you can still run the drop, just know that you need to be aware. A little ways down there is a slide that has a bir rock in the middle, then more fun slots and drops. It's all super technical, and tons of sieves. the last rapid of the section we ran was the biggest, it was the steepest drop of the run, scout on the left. The drop below this slide/drop thing was too low to run. Good luck, hopefully I can get back to have a more in depth report with pics.

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14 years ago

From Canoeman on Boatertalk:
My first time on the Rocky Broad! (TR, very long.) New

Forum: BoaterTalk
Date: Oct 04 2004, 17:30 GMT
From: canoeman

Fortunate as I am to work in Hendersonville, N.C., center of the Southeastern paddling universe, there are two runs within 20 minutes of my office that I have avoided. One is the Narrows, which I still don't have any plans to run. The other was, until yesterday, the Rocky Broad.

Actually, the RB has been on my to-do list for years, along with the Watauga. And as a new dad of a baby girl, now a toddler, close-to-home runs are at a premium for me. So in addition to my favorite creek, the North Fork of the French Broad, I have started looking at the West Fork and the Upper Rocky Broad.
Unfortunately, the Upper was too low to run this weekend. But I got over the mental hump about running the Lower. So I called my friend Will (Slave2H2O) and asked him if he would be willing to lead a few newbies down. That would be me and my friend Stephen, a C-boater, and another very hard core open boater I have recently started paddling with, Pat.

Thanks to Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, I have gotten in a half dozen runs on the North Fork in September in both canoe and C-1 and was primed for something new. Also I ran the Upper Davidson earlier in the month with my friend Doug Bonnoitt. When Doug said he had done the Rocky Broad three or four times and loved it, I thought, that's it

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15 years ago

sept 1996 was the flood that last changed the riverbed.

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15 years ago

flood warning update

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15 years ago

Big boulder rapids. With really big boulders. Underwent major changes during a 1996 floods. Some very hard moves in the rapids. At higher flows it starts looking like the NF Payette. Big, steep and continuous. A swim could really suck, and you would probably not get your boat back until it hit the lake.

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9 years ago

The usgs gage Cove Ck near Lake Lure should be a gage of interest. The cfs/sq. mi ratios are the same as the Rocky Broad according to usgs archival data. Furthermore the Cove Ck gage adjoins the Rocky Broad and has the same drainage basin size of the lower Rocky Broad or about 79 sq. mi. with and average output of about 139 cfs. The upper Rocky Broad drainage is much smaller or about 40 sq. mi.. 200 cfs for the lower RB and 300 for upper should work. It is no more of a leap to use Cove Ck for the Rocky Broad as it is the use Ivy River gage for Big Laurel Ck.

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Harrison Metzger
5 years ago

PLEASE NOTE: I had the level very,
very wrong in my long trip report. It was
3.78 on the bridge gauge, NOT 4.78,
which would make a world of
difference on either the Upper or the
Lower! The online gauge said 4.4.

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15 years ago

from RBP:

Search Result 3
From: Chris Bell (
Subject: Re: Flood Hits Rocky Broad
View: Complete Thread (3 articles)
Original Format
Date: 1996/09/06

Chris Bell wrote:
> A friend called me moments ago to tell me that the
> 11 inches of rain (yes, that's eleven inches) the
> Rocky Broad (NC) basin received in 3 hours last
> night (yes, that's three hours) wiped out at least
> one of its bridges (the one to the campground on
> river right with the nice slot move on river
> left above it). Part of the road is reported to
> be washed out as well. John is on his way to
> check out the damage first hand. Oh, and last
> night's rain is not Fran-related -- the hurricane
> isn't expected to reach the coast until late
> tonight and we in the mountains won't feel its
> effects until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest.
> YOW! Don't expect me on the Gauley this weekend...

John last night and the Asheville-Citizen Times this
morning confirmed all of the above and more. Eleven
inches of rain did fall in three hours, seventeen
inches in 24. Other than the volume, the rainfall
was pretty typical for the WNC mountains this time
of year in that places 30 minutes from ground zero
received no rain at all!

At least one bridge was washed out, a restaurant
was washed into the river and was last seen in Lake
Lure, mudslides have closed the road between Bat
Cave and Chimney Rock, numerous homes have been
flooded and some knocked off their foundations,
etc., etc.

John tried to run the river yesterday afternoon
(it had dropped to a very reasonable but pushy
+11 inches) but was "ordered off by a bunch of
rednecks in pickup trucks yelling something
about the river being closed and paddlers being
subject to arrest." Given that campers were
still stranded at the time and the "rednecks"
were no doubt the local rescue crew, I think
it wise that John and his boating buddy didn't
press the issue. Most local rescue squads are
next to useless in river rescue situations
(a problem Slim Ray is working to address in
our area) and it is incredibly unlikely that
John would have gotten into a situation
requiring their "services," but they didn't
know that and they do know enough to know that
swiftwater rescues are extremely dangerous
(even more so for them!). My sympathy is
with the rescue squad. It's not like the
Rocky Broad won't be running at + 11 again in
the near future...

Oh, and Fran has missed us entirely, so maybe
you will catch me on the Gauley this weekend!

-- Chris

Summary of Gauge Readings

As of December 2013, a new gauge has been added to the Rocky Broad River: Broad River at highway 9 near Chimney Rock. However, correlations between this new gauge and the old gauge(s) are unclear.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
Broad River at highway 9 near Chimney Rock
AW Gauge Info
2.95 ft 👍 ℹī¸ 06h45m This is downstream of the bridge gauge, add about 0.7 ft to this gauge to get an approximate paddler's gauge

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2007-01-01 Medium Fatality Failed Rescue Read More





Jeff Paine


Dana Culbreth and Will Hanna