Canoeable rivers in NW N Carolina - Oct

DH and I will be in Northwestern North Carolina from early to mid October and wonder if there are any suitable rivers to paddle in that area. Interested in Class 1 to low Class 2 with enough water to float without significant dragging. We won’t have our own canoes so would need rentals and likely shuttle service. I’ve read about the New River and a nonpaddler who lives in the area mentioned the Shoal River. Places to Paddle has several trip reports on the New but they are all for spring (May) not Oct. Any suggestions for good day trips, including scenic lakes, would be appreciated.

What town?
What town will you and Darryl be staying in?

A couple of ideas
First, the New river is a great place to paddle.

Contact Zaloos Canoes in West Jefferson. They do shuttles, rent canoes and do multi day trips if you want.

Second, the French Broad River in Asheville is another great one with many opportunities, such as floating by the Biltmore estate.

Contact the Asheville Outdoor Center. They rent canoes and do shuttles. and there is more than fifty miles of good paddling for as many days as you want.

If you want a lake, try the state park at Lake James. They rent canoes. Lake James is as good as it gets, with nice clear water, 75 miles of shore line with lots of remote coves and bays to explore, and the whole north shore is national forest with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains as your back drop.

If you do pick lake James, let me know and I’ll write you up some good trips and directions.

Jack L

We’ll be at Camp Cheerio
near Roaring Gap for four days where I’ll be at a quilting retreat and Darryl will be looking for stuff to do around there. The rest of the time we have not set location and will likely mossey around, depending on what we find to do and what the weather hands us. I think it would be cool to paddle the French Broad by Biltmore estates and St. James sounds like a beautiful lake to explore. Jack, we’d appreciate some advice for paddling there.

Lake James – camp on nat. forest land?
Hey Jack, is it legal and would it be fun to camp on the national forest sections of shoreline at Lake James? I know there’s a state park with amenities, but it might be nice to get away from the other people. I think I heard once you could camp in the natonal forest.


I’ll be paddling there on Tuesday
and will stop in at the state park just to make sure they haven’t put the canoes away for the season’ and then I’ll report back and give you some directions and a good day trip paddle.

jack L

Unfortunately all the power boaters
have ruined it for overnight camping.

All the Islands and the whole north shore used to be wide open for camping, but the overnight bubbas and their families trashed the various spots so bad that when it all became state park, they posted everything.

You can still pull up on a beach during the day, but there is no more camping.

Most of the national forest is like you say, which is wilderness camping permitted, but that would be back away from the lake shore.

Just last week when we stopped at one of our favorite lunch spots, it was so littered with trash that we made up our minds that next week we will clean it all up, (I am sure we will fill several large trash bags) and are going to post a home made sign on a post stating, " Don’t leave any trash behind"

Jack L

See my private e-mail