The French Broad Classique is a collection of paddle sports events held on the fourth Saturday of April each year (except in 2017, when it will be held on April 29) on the French Broad River near Asheville, North Carolina. The Classique currently consists of two events: the BR 18, an eighteen mile race for experienced racers, and the FB 50, a fifty mile challenge (advance registration required for FB 50). The entry fee is for either event is $25 per person, plus $10 per person to attend the afternoon picnic (optional; advance notice please). Information common to both events is set forth below. If you come, please print it and bring it with you!!

Event Specific Information

For information specific to the FB 50, click here.
For information specific to the BR 18, click here.

Picnic at Asheville Outdoor Center on Saturday; ADVANCE NOTICE REQUIRED

The Saturday evening picnic will be held at the Asheville Outdoor Center at 5:00 p.m. and is designed for competitors, sponsors, volunteers and their guests. The cost is $10 per person and while you can pay when you arrive, we have to know AT LEAST A WEEK AHEAD of time how many folks are coming. Consequently, please e-mail us at to reserve your spot(s) at the picnic. Thanks.

Check-in and Shuttles

Friday evening registration and check-in is at the Asheville Outdoor Center from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Last minute registration for the BR 18 will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the start line at the Blantyre Access. There is no last minute registration for the FB 50; advance registration is required.

We will provide a shuttle for the BR 18 for those that need it. Come to the Blantyre Access (starting line) on Saturday morning, check in, and unload your gear. At 9:15 a.m. SHARP, we will leave the Blantyre Access in a caravan and drive to the finish line at Westfeldt River Park (one driver per car; no passengers, please) and leave your cars there. We will then give the drivers a ride back to the start at Blantyre. That shuttle should arrive back at the start line at Blantyre a few minutes before the competitors' meeting starts at 10:30.

For the FB50, we will not provide shuttles, but if you have a need and let us know ahead of time, we can usually work something out.


The following directions are provided using the Asheville Regional Airport as a starting point. The airport is located just off of Interstate 26 at Exit 40. These directions should be used in conjunction with a map or a GPS.

HAP SIMPSON RIVER PARK (start of FB 50): GPS Coordinates: N35 21.785 w82 71.903
From the airport, go south on Route 280. Go approximately 19.0 miles. Turn left unto Route 276 South. Go 1.5 miles. Shortly after you first see the river, turn right into the Hap Simpson River Park.

BLANTYRE ACCESS (start of BR 18; first checkpoint for FB 50): GPS Coordinates: N35 17.952 W82 37.402
From the airport, go south on Route 280. Go approximately 10.5 miles. Look for a sign directing you to the town of Etowah and, just past it, turn left onto Brickyard Road. Follow Brickyard Road for approximately 4 miles, right through the middle of the golf course. Near the end of that 4 miles, at a stop sign, you have to make a 90 degree turn to the right to stay on Brickyard Road. Shortly after the 90 degree turn, you will come to a stoplight which is the town of Etowah and the intersection with Route 64. Turn right (west) onto Route 64 and go approximately 2 miles. Not long after crossing into Transylvania County, turn left onto Grove Bridge Road. Cross the railroad tracks CAREFULLY BECAUSE there are no warning gates or lights!! After crossing the tracks, you will cross the river and the Blantyre access area is on your left.

WESTFELDT RIVER PARK (finish of BR 18; second checkpoint for FB 50): Ferncliff Park Drive, Fletcher, NC. GPS Coordinates: N35 25.317 W82 32.508
From the airport, go south on Route 280. Proceed about 1.25 miles around the airport and past the fairgrounds. Just before crossing the river, at a traffic light, turn right onto Ferncliff Park Drive, then immediately left into Westfeldt River Park.

ASHEVILLE OUTDOOR CENTER (Friday check-in; finish of FB 50; Saturday awards & picnic): 521 Amboy Road, Asheville, NC. GPS Coordinates: N35 33.947 W82 35.265. From the airport, get on Interstate 26 West (which is actually going north) for 9 miles, then merge onto Interstate 240 East for 2 miles. Take exit 1C, Amboy Road. Turn right onto Amboy Road and go a tenth of a mile. Asheville Outdoor Center will be on your right, 521 Amboy Road.


There is camping available on the river immediately next door to Asheville Outdoor Center (site of Saturday dinner and Sunday finish line) at Wilson's RV Park; see or call 828-254-4676. There are National Forest Service campgrounds and other private campgrounds in the vicinity as well. There are lots of motels in Hendersonville and Asheville. Any of the hotels near the Asheville Regional Airport (town of Fletcher, NC) will be convenient because they are within a mile or so of Westfeldt River Park, the finish line for the BR 18 and the second checkpoint for the FB 50. The airport (Fletcher) exit is Exit 40 off of Interstate 26.


The average high temperature in the area for the end of April is 70 degrees and the average low is 45 degrees but, as always, be prepared for extremes and for rain.

Click here for Asheville weather from National Weather Service

The River

The French Broad River, surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, is a terrific venue for paddle racing. The water level is not dam-controlled and, therefore, can vary dramatically. The median flow for late April is around 1,000 CFS, which is plenty of water; the run can be made at considerably lower flows. If conditions warrant, it may be necessary to adjust the start and finish points of the race. Real time flow information for the French Broad at Blantyre can be found at The expected river level for the next few days can be found at

To view some photos and videos of the race and/or the river from previous years, click here or on the link above.

River access is very convenient thanks to the tireless efforts of RiverLink, an advocacy organization for the French Broad, and others. The Blantyre Access at river mile 34 and the Westfeldt River Park at river mile 52 are maintained by the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Department. These access points and more are shown con a terrific map published by RiverLink. For an on-line version (1.3 MB), see:

More information about the river can be found on the French Broad River Paddling and Recreation blog.

Race Organization

The French Broad Classique is hosted by FB Paddle Racing, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to promote paddle sports races, especially on the French Broad River in North Carolina. Net proceeds from the French Broad Classique, if any, will be donated to the Taylor Hunt Fund for Rivers and Outdoor Learning at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. For more information about the Taylor Hunt Fund, click here.

Event Contact: Tom Blue; 1540 Fountain Ridge Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27517; (919) 428-4302 (mobile); (E-mail is preferred method of contact for questions and will generally be returned within 24 hours unless we are off on an extended river trip somewhere; thanks). Click here to access the entry forms when they are available (generally January of each year).

Last update April 24, 2016