A trip to Western North Carolina is always more fun when you spend a little time on the water! Thanks to regular dam releases and the area’s free-flowing waters, whitewater rafting near Asheville is a popular family-friendly activity. Visitors can experience cascading waterfalls, refreshing swimming holes, and the thrill of wild water rapids during these exciting river trips, all while being surrounded by scenic wilderness and fascinating wildlife!
To find out more about whitewater rafting near Asheville, and other area water sports, be sure to check out our complimentary Vacation Guide. The guide is designed to help you plan your ideal vacation, with insightful information on the area’s best dining, entertainment, and attractions.
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The Most Daring Spots for Whitewater Rafting Near Asheville, NC
The dam-controlled Nantahala River is the busiest rafting river in the Asheville area, and it features 20 class II and III rapids. The water here is the coldest in the area and best for cooling off on hot summer days and Nantahala rafting.
French Broad River
Expansive and free-flowing, the French Broad River’s rapids’ intensity is determined by recent rainfall and offers some of the best whitewater rafting in Asheville, NC. It is the world’s third oldest river and promises alluring mountain views to all who take on French Broad River rafting.
Seasoned river rafters enjoy Pigeon River rafting because dam-releases create continuous waves and class III and IV rapids. The Pigeon River is also ideal for family rafting trips because the river’s lower-end offers a gentle, scenic ride.
These Local Experiences Offer The Best Whitewater Rafting in North Carolina
- Blue Heron Whitewater
- French Broad Adventure
- Nantahala Outdoor Center
- Asheville Outdoor Center
Find Your Rest at The Esmeralda
After an incredible day of twists, turns, splashes, and all the thrills of whitewater rafting near Asheville, head home to The Esmeralda; our bed & breakfast is perched on the banks of the Rocky Broad River and features stunning views of Chimney Rock. When you are hungry, join us for a delicious dinner in our award-winning restaurant and tell us all about your adventures on the river. Then, take advantage of our fabulous on-site amenities, including spa services, a recreation room, and more! At the end of the night, snuggle up in a cozy guest room or spacious cabin that will provide the utmost peace and comfort. All this makes The Esmeralda the perfect place for you!
Check our availability and book your stay. We can’t wait to hear all about your Asheville, NC, whitewater rafting adventures!