Canyoneering is an adventure sport that takes you deep into the mountain wilderness where most tourists, and even locals, will never go. Hike, boulder-hop, and rappel down waterfalls in the secret canyons of Pisgah National Forest and the Grandfather Ranger District in Western North Carolina. In the canyon, cell service is limited, allowing you freedom from the hustle and grind.
Ridges & Waterfalls
Ziplining + Full-Day Canyoneering
Whitewater & Waterfalls
Half-Day Rafting + Full-Day Canyoneering
Whitewater & Waterfalls Plus
Half-Day Rafting (w/ Lunch) + Full-Day Canyoneering
Whitewater & Waterfalls Expedition
Full-Day Rafting (w/ Lunch) + Full-Day Canyoneering
Conquer the Canyon
You don’t need to be an experienced outdoorsperson to rappel down an ancient waterfall or dive into a deep mountain river. Our team of expert canyoneering guides will show you the ropes (literally) so you can confidently explore some of Western North Carolina’s most beautiful and exciting land formations.
What is Canyoneering?
Canyoneering, also known as canyoning, is an adventure sport that combines hiking, boulder-hopping, and waterfall rappelling in order to traverse down a canyon. Think of it as nature’s obstacle course.
Where will we go?
Trips meet at our outpost in the beautiful River Arts District of Asheville, NC. From there, we’ll travel about 40 miles southwest to the wild and rugged Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC. Pisgah National Forest is the birthplace of forestry and remains one of the most sought after trail systems for lots of outdoor adventures, including canyoneering.
Will I Get Wet While Canyoneering?
Yes, so dress accordingly and bring a towel and change of clothes for after your trip. We will be rappelling through, or adjacent to, waterfalls, so you will spend time in the “spray zone”. Additionally, you may be wading through pools in the creek and may also have the option to swim, slide and jump in, so expect to be wet.
Where Does Canyoneering Meet?
You will be meeting your Canyoneering Guides at 7 New Leicester Highway. We will confirm this meeting location the week of your trip as it is subject to change.
When Is French Broad Adventures Open For Canyoneering?
Canyoneering trips are available from March through October, with a minimum of two people. If you don’t see availability online just give us a call.
What Should I Wear for Canyoneering?
We recommend that you wear loose, comfortable clothing that is not bulky (because you will be wearing a harness). Multiple, thinner layers are preferable, as weather conditions can change rapidly throughout the day. You will have some opportunities to add or subtract layers if needed, so plan to carry them with you in your pack (we will provide you with a small backpack). You may also wish to bring a light rain shell, especially if there is rain in the forecast. We don’t require pants, but if you choose to wear shorts we recommend they be a longer style so they don’t get bunched up in your harness.
Clothing, please try to avoid wearing cotton or denim as these fabrics do not breathe or dry well; choose wool or synthetic materials (such as polyester, dry-fit or wicking materials) instead.
Water shoes, we provide footwear for optimal traction on slick rocks. We believe the only shoes you’ll ever want to wear canyoneering are from the local brand, Astral, based right here in Asheville. We are so convinced these are the best performance water shoes for outdoor activity, we are going to provide them for you (for use not, forever)! If you want purchase your own shoes and bring them with you, we recommend the Astral Brewer 2.0, as that is what we use. Bring socks and just let us know what size shoe you wear when you get here.
What Canyon Will We Go To?
Safety is something we take very seriously, and we support the Forest Service Waterfall Safety Initiative. In an effort to dissuade unsafe copycat behavior from the general public, we do not publicly disclose the location of the canyons and waterfalls we use. We now have multiple canyon locations to choose from, and we are VERY excited about this. For any given canyoneering trip day we will monitor weather, check river gauges, and factor in other accessibility issues – and then pick the “best trip of the day” for your canyoneering adventure.
If you have been canyoneering with us already and want to check out something new, just ask! We’ll see if we can get you to a different spot.
Is Canyoneering Safe?
While any outdoor activity has inherent risk, at French Broad Adventures our top priority is always reducing and mitigating any risks. Our company has been a leading outdoor adventure provider for over 40 years now, and we bring that collective experience to canyoneering. In addition to their varied backgrounds in climbing, rigging, and rope access technology, all of our guides have extensive training based on the ACA (American Canyoneering Association) curriculum. Also, your Guides have advanced training in first aid, so you can rest (play!) easy knowing you will always have a Guide on your trip with a minimum of a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) Certification. Please don’t forget – you are responsible for your own safety too. Listen carefully to safety briefings and always follow your Guide’s instructions – because a safe trip is a fun trip!
I Can’t Swim. Can I Go Canyoneering?
Though swimming is not required on the trip, canyons on the East Coast are often blessed with more water than their desert Southwest counterparts. Therefore we do not suggest that those with an intense fear or aversion to swimming go on a canyoneering trip.Being able to rappel down canyons with waterfalls is part of what makes this trip so spectacular. It is possible that the that there will be opportunities to swim and slide down wet rocks and generally play around in the creek.
I Am Terrified Of Heights. Should I Go Canyoneering?
Put simply, no. A healthy respect for heights is welcome, and we can work with someone who is working on “getting more comfortable” at height, but if you have an intense fear of heights this is not the trip for you.
Everyone In My Group Wants To Go, But I’m Afraid Of Heights. Can I Tag Along?
We understand that canyoneering isn’t for everyone. If you have (at least two) family members or friends that are booking a trip with us, please feel free to ask if there is room on the trip for you. For a discounted price, you can come with us and skip the rappelling. This will give you a great opportunity to be the “designated picture taker” for your group – an important job indeed. You’ll still need to meet the basic physical requirements of the trip (minus the physical qualifications like harness fit) because you will be hiking trails with us, boulder-hopping, and maybe even swimming in the river if you want! And you’ll essentially be getting a guided trip to one of the area’s best waterfalls. How awesome is that? Adults are welcome, any children under the age of 14 that are “tagging along” will need to be accompanied by an adult though. Please call our office for more details and to check availability.
Do I Need To Have Previous Canyoneering Or Rappelling Experience?
Not necessarily, but familiarity with climbing, ropes, or rappelling (even if it was at a camp, climbing gym, or challenge course) may help you feel more comfortable with the activity.First-timers with a sense of adventure are always welcome, and of course, your Guides will give you a demonstration and safety briefing prior to the start of your canyoneering trip and will assist you throughout the day if you have any questions.
Do I Need To Be In Good Physical Shape To Go Canyoneering?
Yes. Time in the canyon averages between 3-4 hours depending on the size of your group and the canyon location. You will be outdoors on steep, boulder-strewn, and potentially slick terrain (what fun would a waterfall be without water?). A good indicator that you are physically fit enough for canyoneering is that you can comfortably walk 3 miles on semi-steep and/or uneven trails carrying a light pack, comfortably hike on uphill and downhill slopes, can climb or descend 5 flights of stairs, and can climb a ladder with ease.
Can I Wear Glasses Or A Hat While Canyoneering?
If you need prescription glasses or contact lenses, please wear them. Sunglasses are also a nice item on a sunny day. We do suggest that you have a strap for your glasses though, as they can fall off and get lost easily. You are also welcome to wear a hat for sun protection, just make sure it is low-profile enough to fit under a helmet. Light knit hats and baseball caps are usually fine, but things like bulky winter caps and wide-brimmed sun hats/visors can be a little difficult to fit under your helmet comfortably.
What They SayView More Testimonials
Great day spent with experienced guides! A wonderful way to make memories!
Amazing time our family enjoyed it so much!!!!! Tom was the best guide ever!!!!!! We will definitely be doing it again soon!!!!! The pictures they took of our family were the best. The ladies in the gift shop were so nice and friendly.
We used this company 22 years ago for our honeymoon. They were fantastic... so much so we will be returning with our 3 kids this summer!!
Great customer service and so much fun! I look forward to coming year after year!
This was our third trip with French Broad Adventures. They are very organized and safety conscious. We had a wonderful time and are already planning on next year.