French Broad River & Blueway

Address: Cocke, Jefferson, Sevier and Knox counties, TN Contact Email: Phone: (828) 252-8474
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Knoxville location at Volunteer Landing: I-40 to exit 388A, James White Parkway South and follow the Parkway to the Neyland Drive Exit. Take left at the first red light into Volunteer Landing. There are two launch areas. The one to the left is past the riverboat pier and the one to the right is a set of stairs leading to the river. The right launch is suitable only for very small craft and you must portage to the parking area.


One of only two rivers that flows north, it’s also the world’s third-oldest river, behind the Nile and New Rivers. The French Broad flows for 210 miles through Asheville, North Carolina, into Tennessee, then into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. In Cocke County, Tennessee, the French Broad River receives the waters of both the Pigeon River and the Nolichucky River, after which the French Broad River is impounded behind Douglas Dam, forming Douglas Lake. In Sevier County, the French Broad River receives the flow of the Little Pigeon River, and then it flows through a wide gap in Bays Mountain before reaching the flatlands of Tennessee and joining with the Holston River at Knoxville. The lower portion of the French Broad River is dominated by the major hydroelectric power dam and reservoirs which were built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and which is one of the larger TVA developments on a tributary of the Tennessee River. (The two other very large ones are Norris Lake on the Clinch River and Cherokee Lake on the Holston River.) In 1987, the NC General Assembly established the French Broad River State Trail as a blueway which follows the river for 67 miles. The paddle trail is a part of North Carolina State Trails Program, which is a section of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. A system of launch points locations were created along the river for the trail. Best Access Points -Volunteer Landing -Island Home Park -Holston River Park -Forks of the River -Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge -Claussen Landing -Rankin Bottoms

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