The abundance of dynamic creeks and rivers that cascade through the Blue Ridge Mountains—combined with the rougly 38 inches of annual rainfall and the number of different dam-released rivers that are runnable year round—make Asheville one of the top whitewater paddling towns in the in the entire country. Most popular by far is the beautiful and remote class 5 Green River Narrows, which runs over 250 days out of the year and is considered by many to be the Holy Grail of whitewater in the Southeast. Extreme kayakers will also enjoy big boofs and drops of the nearby Watauga and Linville Gorges.
The Nantahala, home of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, is a scenic river that's steeped in heritage and is perfect for beginners due to its easy surf waves, welcoming eddy lines, and manageable rapids. Intermediates can hone their skills on the splashy, class 3 waves of the French Broad River, or step it up on the big, but forgiving, rapids of Big Laurel Creek. For play boating, the classic holes on the Pigeon River and Nolichucky Gorge are close by, offering bouncy waves that are perfect for surfing and wave wheels.