About the State Trail

The French Broad River State Trail was established in 1987 on one of the oldest rivers in the world. The 115-mile river flows north from Rosman, N.C. to the Tennessee border, through Buncome (including the heart of western North Carolina's largest city, Asheville), Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties.

Most of the river offers gently flowing water with occasional class I and class II rapids. However, only experienced paddlers should attempt the stretch between Barnard and Hot Springs, which has class III and IV rapids. This section is popular with rafters.

Trail blaze for French Broad River State Trail

The FBST blaze features the river otter, which were once wiped out by the 1930s due to trapping and pollution but were reintroduced in the 2000s through a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission program. Improved water quality and fisheries on the French Broad has helped support the river's population of otters and other animals.

Trail Use


Partner Organization

Tab/Accordion Items

MountainTrue was created with the merger of environmental and conservation nonprofits in 2015, with a focus on sensible land use; restoring public forests; protecting water quality; and promoting clean energy throughout 23 counties in western North Carolina. MountainTrue champions resilient forests, clean waters, and health communities in the Southern Blue Ridge.

About Partner Organizations

The legislation that created the Complete the Trails program requires that funds be distributed by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation to a nonprofit partner for each trail. To be the recognized partner, an organization must have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Division and an approved 3- to 5-year plan for deploying the funds to develop the state trail.

As part of the Complete the Trail Program, each state trail partner organization was required to submit a five-year plan, outlining priorities and goals until 2027 for their trail. Excerpts from the plan are outlined below.

Download the Plan (PDF)


Capacity Building Fund Projects:

Hire paddle trail recreation manager to oversee the implementation of the state funds, as well as organize and coordinate all aspects of managing the paddle trail. This will include coordinating with partners, business and marketing planning, reservation system coordination, upkeep on access points and campsites, paddle trail guidebook management, and website upgrades.

Priority CTP Projects:

  • Implement river access signage
  • Complete improvements to five campsites
  • Implement Transylvania County new river access (leverage funds from Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, Conserving Carolina, and N.C. Wildlife Resources)
  • Clear Mud Creek of debris jams and work on signage and new river access points
  • Complete improvements to Stackhouse access


Estimated cost for all FBST priority projects $177,000
Estimated cost for all FBST projects $342,000
CTP allocation for FBST $210,375



Banner photo by anoldent via Flickr: Paddler on the French Broad River near the Biltmore Estate