French Broad River
North Carolina's French Broad River is the third oldest river in the world, older than the mountains it passes through. It is so old, in fact, that it is practically devoid of fossils.
French and Cherokee History
The river was named the French Broad to distinguish it from North Carolina's other Broad River and because the territory into which it drained was held by the French. The Cherokees had several names for river, including Tah-kee-os-tee or "racing waters," as well as Poe-li-co, Agiqua, and Zillicoah.
Outdoor Sports on the French Broad River
The French Broad River is a popular river for outdoor sports of all kinds. River outfitters offer guided trips along the 200-mile-long waterway ranging from whitewater rafting to gentle canoe trips.
The French Broad River now supports a wide variety of fish, including largemouth bass, brown and rainbow trout, and catfish. The Asheville riverfront has been revitalized with parks, artist studios, and other businesses.
From its beginning west of Rosman in Transylvania County to the border of Tennessee, the French Broad River is about 70 miles in length and is the largest watercourse in Western North Carolina. From its headwaters, the French Broad River flows northward through Brevard, Asheville, and Hot Springs into Tennessee, where it forms the Tennessee River.
Hours of Operation
The French Broad River starts near Rosman, NC and runs through Brevard, Asheville, and Hot Springs on its way to Tennessee.
For more information, contact:
Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority
Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority
Hot Springs area:
Madison County Visitors Center
Mars Hill, NC
Toll Free: 1-877-262-3476
Between Rosman and Hot Springs, NC
- Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (3 miles)
The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, NC features an award-winning film and exhibits on natural and cultural heritage.
- Western North Carolina Nature Center (4 miles)
Voted "best place to take kids" in the region, the WNC Nature Center in Asheville appeals to grownups as well as children.
- Biltmore Estate (4 miles)
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC remains America's largest privately owned home and one of the state's most enduring attractions.