Getting Wet: Swimming Options in West Asheville

By on September 1, 2014


Labor Day is here, but that doesn’t mean the end of hot summer days – days that find you looking for some water time. With school back in session, the City and County public pools are closed, but the French Broad River is open and free to use. Below are a list of Frequently Asked Questions we hear from friends and visitors to West Asheville. Please remember to have PFDs (personal floatation devices, i.e. life jackets) for all.

Is the water in the French Broad River clean enough for swimming?

As a general rule, if the water is clear then water quality is probably fine. The French Broad Riverkeeper does monitor the water quality for E. coli which is the main health risk for people swimming in the river. Samples are taken weekly March 1 – October 31 at the Hominy Creek Park and results are posted on Thursday or Friday. Visit the waterkeeper Swim Guide website for details and to check current conditions:

Which parks have river access?

Click here to sort for parks with river access.

What equipment do I need?

We recommend all persons enjoying the river have a PFD (personal floatation device, i.e. life jacket). This is especially important for children who can easily tire on river trips. Other than that, really it is up to you. Kayaks, stand up paddle boards, canoes, inner tubes, pool floats… we see it all on the river.

Where can I get floating tubes?

Second Gear keeps a selection of new tubes and floats in stock during season. Although, they are known to sell out now and again.

What section of the river do you recommend?

Our favorite afternoon float trip is from Hominy Creek Park to French Broad River Park. Depending on water levels, this section takes a couple hours which is just perfect for an afternoon cool off. Another reason we recommend this route is that there is a walking/biking path along side the river the whole way, so if you need you can get out and not be stranded and part of your group can stay dry and enjoy seeing you on the river while they enjoy a walk or bike ride.

If you are looking for a little bit longer trip, continue down the river to Jean Webb Park on the eastern bank of the river in the River Arts District.

Is there a place better for younger children?

You might prefer Hominy Creek Greenway if you have smaller children. The water level is shallower and there is small beach area. This is also a favorite place for dogs to enjoy the water. Water quality is monitored at the beach area by the French Broad Riverkeeper May 1st – October 31 on a weekly basis. View current conditions at:

Are there times when the river is unsafe for boating or floating?

YES. The French Broad River and tributaries experience flooding and flash flooding on a regular basis throughout the season. Please use caution after large rainfalls and when the river is high. The current can be surprisingly strong and when debris piles up against bridge piers it can cause dangerous obstructions both for boaters and swimmers. 

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