Multi-Day French Broad Trips

river-float-ashevilleWe are happy to offer custom multi-day trips on the French Broad!

Reservations are required with at least one week’s notice for these trips, and we usually ask folks to have already made their campground reservations and to know where they would like to put into the river before reserving shuttles/equipment from us.

Please read the entirety of this FAQ, as it will answer most questions you may have. In terms of the services we provide, we offer shuttles and equipment rentals.

Most folks need both, but we have them as separate options for those who have their own equipment or transportation. (pricing is separate). We do not allow online reservations for multi-day trips due to their custom nature. If you have any other questions or are ready to make your reservation, call us at (828)505-7371!

Frequently Asked Questions

Trip FAQ:

The best resource available is a physical map that you can take with you on the river. We carry a waterproof copy of the river trail, complete with access points, camping amenities, and other great information. We highly suggest you take a copy with you on your trip, to help you find your campsites and to keep track of your mileage.

There are also two online resources,  RiverLink Map -or- RiverKeeper Map. You will not have cell phone service the whole time on the river, so please do not rely on these on your trip, but they can be very helpful in the planning process.

That is up to you. All of the river trail campgrounds require a reservation, which we recommend you do before setting up shuttle/rentals with us. They are popular, so don’t leave it until the last minute. All campgrounds are run by one of two local environmental nonprofits. RiverLink Campsite Reservations -or- MountainTrue Campsite Reservations

We get this question a lot and it’s a hard one.
This is determined by a number of factors, first being how long you want to spend actually paddling during the day. Do you want to get up at the crack of dawn and paddle until dusk? Or is only 6 hours of paddling more your plan? Will you be actively paddling the whole time? Or will you be fishing and floating some?
The next factor is the current level of the river. This is measured in CFS (cubic feet per second) and the current level can be found on our River Level Page. The higher the level, the faster the natural speed of the river will be.
Another factor is the nature of the section of river you are on. If the section you are on is wide and deep, it will move more slowly then a narrow, shallow section.
Finally, the last factor is your personal fitness and experience level. If you paddle weekly as part of your workout, you can expect different mileage than if you haven’t canoed in a few years and don’t work out often.
So there is no easy answer to this question. As a vast generalization, 2 miles per hour is a place to start, but this by no means a hard number. Take these factors into consideration when planning your trip.

While there are 3 breweries along the French Broad, none are easily accessible from the river. If you are using any of our equipment, we ask that it is never left unattended (we have had folks all go for a hike and return to find everything gone).
– Oscar Blues: Oscar Blues does not have river access of their own, but are supporters of the French Broad Paddle trail. The closest access point to them is at the Wilson Road takeout in Brevard, about a 20-minute walk away.
– Sierra Nevada: A company representative has told FBO that as of now, there is no river access to the brewery. They have been talking about opening one in the far distant future, but currently, have no active plans to do so due to liability and safety concerns. They ask that you please do not attempt to bushwhack your way to the brewery (which even then is around a 30-minute whack) as you will just find a locked gate. The closest river access point is at Westfelt, which is about a 45-55 minute walk from the brewery.
– New Belgium: New Belgium Security has asked us to tell all of our guests that they do not have a river access point and that they do not allow people to access them from the river. They have been strict about this and will ask you to leave. The closest river access point is at the Craven Street Bridge, on the opposite side of the river, about 20-30 minute walk away.

– Alcohol: This is for your safety. Common sense, alcohol, and watersports do not mix.
– Anything you don’t want getting soaking wet or potentially lost forever.
– Glass: No glass containers of any kind are permitted.

See the below section on weather and safety.

If your dog is extremely well trained and well behaved around all people and all other dogs, they are welcome into our shop. If you have a dog PFD and your dog has been in a canoe/kayak before, they are welcome to join you on the water too. Leashes are not allowed on the river for safety reasons and a multi-day trip is not the time to experiment with your dog’s comfort levels. That being said, FBO is a very dog-friendly company.

Reservation FAQ:

For our multi-day trips, reservations are required 1-2 weeks in advance and are held with a credit card number. You will pay for your trip in person at the shop- nothing will be charged to the card unless you don’t contact us and you don’t show up, then a cancellation fee will be charged. Because of the custom nature of our multi-day trips, they cannot be reserved online, only by calling us.

Our cancellation policy is 100% refund with more than a days notice.  Less than 24 hours notice is a 50% charge of the total trip on the credit card that the reservation was made with. Trips go out rain or shine.

All participants must be 6 years old or older. If your child is 6 – 12 years old, they can join you on your trip in a canoe or tandem kayak. If your child is 13 years old or older (or over 120lbs) they are welcome to man their own craft down the river.

While the stretch of river we run our trips on is very calm, gentle, and great for beginners, we highly recommend having paddling experience before committing to a multi-day trip.

All of our multi-day trips begin and end at our 704 Riverside Drive location.

No, all of our trips are unguided to allow our guests to enjoy the river at their own speed.

Shuttle FAQ:

You choose where you would like to be dropped off. There are tons of put-in options, just let us know where you’d like to go!
All our shuttles leave from our location at 704 Riverside Drive. You are welcome to leave your vehicle here if you are using our shuttle service.
All trips using our shuttle service end at our location at 704 Riverside Drive. If you only rented equipment, it must be dropped off at 704 Riverside Drive.
No. We do not do pickups. All trips must end at our 704 Riverside Drive location.
Shuttles cost $50-$150 for the first four people, depending on which put-in you choose. If you have more then 4 people in your group, then it is $15 per person after the first 4. (ex. If you have 6 people in your group, it would be the base shuttle cost plus $30.)
We prefer to do them first thing in the morning, before the shop opens to the public, usually 7 or 8am. On occasion, we will be able to accommodate a later time, but that is highly uncommon.

Equipment Rental FAQ:

Of course! If you don’t have your own vessels, we are happy to provide them for you. Our canoes can accommodate two people plus gear and are the more popular option. We also have single kayaks available, but they are sit-on-top kayaks and do not have a dry storage hatch. Instead, they have a large bungee storage area in the front and back and can hold a number of drybags/boxes.

Of course! See the gear rental page to see all the equipment available.

You will fill out the waiver that every one of our guests fills out as well as a 24 hour rental agreement. On this agreement, a credit card number is held so if you run away with our equipment and never return, we have a way to charge you for it. This number is destroyed upon the safe return of the equipment.

You can return gear anytime on your return date during operating hours, but no after hours drop offs, please.

No. Once you pay for your rental, it is your responsibility. If FBO sees your vehicle and does not think you can safely transport our equipment, we may ask you to bring a different vehicle. We also ask that you do not use ratcheting straps, as they can break our boats.

Each item is priced individually and is full price for the first 2 days. After 2 days the cost is a half price per day. (ex. I want to rent a canoe for 4 days. The first 2 days are full price at $45 and the second 2 days are half price at $22.50. So 45+45+22.50+22.50=$135 for a canoe for 4 days)

Weather and Safety FAQ:

River levels are measured in CFS by the USGS tower right behind our takeout. Check out our River Level Page for hourly readings.
We take folks out on the river rain or shine. Check the forecast and change your reservation if needed. The only time we will cancel a trip is if it has rained enough to bring the river level higher than 3,000 CFS, which is extremely rare in the summer.
– PDF: Personal Floatation Devices are required and must be worn at all times in a boat.
– Strainers: Downed or fallen trees and in stream objects are a serious threat. Keep clear of side channels and overhanging banks. Be alert!
– Sharp Rocks and Uneven River Beds: Shoes are required on all trips. While uncommon, uneven river beds can create foot entrapment opportunities. If the water is swift, do not try to stand up.
– Bridge Pylons: These are easy to avoid, but make sure to not hit these with your boat as it will cause you to fall out. It can potentially pin your boat against the structure and destroy it.
– High Water: FBO will cancel trips if the water is too high, but even a small increase in level can result in floating debris and tangled shorelines. Be alert.
– Weather: Abrupt changes in weather can create special problems, be prepared.
– Alcohol: FBO has a no alcohol policy
If you find yourself on the river in a storm, the current weather service recommendation is to stay in the middle of the river and continue paddling. Lightning usually hits the highest point, such as trees, so standing under them is not advisable. Paddling also keeps your body warm. The only time pulling over is recommended is under a bridge, but not touching it.
CALL 911!! Calling us will delay emergency response time! If you do not have cell service, consult your river map to see where the closest service may be.