The Green River

Chris Wing launching off the pad, Photo Arlyn Abigagan

It is hard to find a more quintessential whitewater run in the Southeast than the Green River. Located in Saluda, NC, this river boasts multiple sections with rapids ranging from Class I-V… all just an hour and a half drive from the Charlotte area. There is something for every skill level to be found and pushed on the Green River.

The Lower Green is a classic beginner section with areas to teach and work on rolling as well as several diverse yet forgiving rapids, perfect for the newer boater to cut teeth on comfort and maneuverability in whitewater.

The Upper Green is a great class II-III section with ample opportunity to push skills and re-run highlight rapids; students will love getting a feel for gradient and creeking on this section while enjoying the incredible beauty of the Green River Gorge.

The Green River Narrowsor the Middle Green, offers up everything from stout Class V to manageable Class III-IV+ while affording boaters relatively easy access for scouting and portaging. The lower section of the Narrows- we call it the Forgotten Section- gives a feel for steepness and technicality without a lot of the consequence and volume found upstream; this is an excellent section to really work more advanced creek moves in a less demanding environment.

Tuckaseegee

Tuckaseegee Gorge– Affectionately, “The Tuck” is a classic beginner run located in Dillsboro, NC. The Tuck Gorge will expose new boaters to a wide range of rapid features, from shoals to wave trains to a few longer but still manageable rapids; even more experienced paddlers can benefit from paddling this section as more challenge moves can be made along the way. Practice catching eddies, ferrying, and even a little surfing as you pick your way downstream both through boat and shore scouting.

East Fork of the Tuckaseegee– Known primarily for being home to one of the best playspots in the region, Eternity Hole, the East Fork of the Tuck is the perfect place to up your comfort on the river both right side up and upside down. The Slab, upsteam of Eternity Hole, is more of a wave that will offer paddlers the opportunity to get acclimated ferrying, surfing, and utilizing wave features of the river. Once warmed up, boaters head downstream to park and play at Cullowhee’s local favorite: Eternity. Exceptional eddy service and friendly water dynamics make this feature perfect for everyone from first time players to those looking to really push playboating skills. Emptying out into a pool, Eternity Hole is a fantastic spot for boaters to explore the river deeper while gaining comfort and orientation to its more challenging features.

Chris Wing getting an "Eternity" of air

Chris Wing getting an “Eternity” of air

"The Slab," easily the best "beginner-friendly" playspot in the SE

“The Slab,” easily the best “beginner-friendly” playspot in the SE

French Broad Watershed

As one of the larger watersheds in the Southeast, the French Broad watershed is a favorite for teaching because of its diversity in character and ability to hold a lot of water, making it accessible at a huge range of flow. Journey up the mountain to explore the whitewater gems of Asheville, NC and you will find a way to push your skills just about anywhere.

French Broad– This major whitewater vein flows through Asheville proper out and into Hot Springs, NC. In town, enjoy the beginner friendly Hominy Creek section or head to the Ledges Park where you can work on everything from combat rolling to freestyle, attainments to compound river moves. From Asheville, we make our way to the classic Class II-III+ run of Section IX, a favorite because of its wide range of runnable flows and the diverse character of the river at various river levels. Section IX of the French Broad allows H2o Dreams instructors to push students through river running, play, creeking, leadership, and safety/rescue skills while enjoying a relatively forgiving environment. Even experienced boaters can return to fundamentals and find adventure and excitement on this keystone river. H2o Dreams instructor Lydia Cardinal cites Section IX as a building block in her progression as a boater: “This is the river that made me fall in love with rocks!”

Big Laurel– A fantastic introduction to creeking and gradient, the Big Laurel dumps into the Section IX of the French Broad about four miles upstream of Hot Springs, NC. Featuring some bigger rapids with both straight forward and more challenging lines, this gem gives students a great first-time peek at what steep creeking entails. Not only that, but the Big Laurel has a river side trail that runs the length of the river, making scouting, portaging, and re-running rapids a breeze. Enter into a narrower, quieter section of river than you’ve seen before and whet your appetite for creek boating.

Wilson Creek

Many Southeast boaters tout this run as one of their all-time favorites, and for good reason: its unique geology creates a tight gorge with steeper, classic rapids and while it feels wild and isolated, it is roadside the whole way through. A stone’s throw from Morganton, NC, the Gorge can be run even at low levels while still offering a fantastic environment to work on group management, creeking skills, and comfort and confidence navigating and using rocks to the boater’s advantage. Polished granite creates a few fantastic slides and a great introduction to staple techniques like boofing, edging, and boat scouting. Bring your slicey boat and get some practice getting up close and personal with splats and spins. A truly special run in the Southeast, boaters will love getting to know Wilson Creek Gorge at a variety of levels while discovering nuances of the river and his/her own paddling.