Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Lake, River, or Waterfall

French Broad River - Cocke County

 
Great egrets at Rankin Bottoms, French Broad River, Cocke County
View of the French Broad River from the Chimney Rock Trail from Weavers Bend in Cocke County
Wolf Creek Bridge
Del Rio
kayaking-Rankin
Bass fishing at Dutch Bottoms
 

The French Broad, a Tennessee State Scenic River, has a rich history and compelling variety along its course through Cocke County.  The river winds and tumbles for miles through the wild wooded mountains of the Cherokee National Forest and the dispersed community of Del Rio.  By and by, the French Broad sweeps trough a rolling pastoral countryside, to be joined by the Big Pigeon, and then the Nolichucky River.  Here, the  waterway broadens through the floodplains and seasonal wetlands of Rankin Bottoms, Ten Islands, and Dutch Bottoms as it forms the headwaters of Douglas Lake.

Drive the highways and byways that parallel the river through the mountains and foothills  to view its changes.  Of course, you'll get the most complete experience by traveling on the French Broad in a canoe, kayak, or raft. 

Hiking, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and scenic drives through the mountain forests are enjoyed throughout the French Broad watershed, especially in the Cherokee National forest. Max Patch, the "Jewel of the Appalachian Triail", with its panoramic mountain views can be reached by driving up into the Cherokee on Highway 107 through Del Rio.  The forest road across Rocky Top ("Good ole Rocky Top", as in the song), has spectacular views of the river gorge.

The French Broad enters Cocke county near the Paint Creek Camping and Recreation Area, and flows around the Weavers Bend Cultural Area, prime for short, challenging hiking routes and dispersed campsites.   The river can next be accessed at a Forest Service boat launch just west of the Wolf Creek Bridge, an architectural treasure on Highway 25/70.  The French Broad widens as it passes through the village of Del Rio, where the USFS is improving a boat launch at The Sandbar, on Old River Rd., one mile east of the Hwy 107W railroad crossing.  The last rapids on the river start at the Falls, spill through the scenic Stone Mountain River Gorge,  and end at the new boat launch at the Huff Bridge, 4 miles east of Newport on Highway 25/70.

The French Broad flows on past rocks and riffles,  limestone bluffs and rolling pastureland.   There's an access point at the Highway 321 Bridge near Newport, and  another at the  Holt Town Road Bridge boat ramp at the head of Rankin Bottoms, an Audubon Society Important Bird Area.  In the summer, this is the upper reach of Douglas Lake; in the cool seasons, the river meanders past the TWRA Boat Ramps at Leadvale (on Leadvale Rd., White Pine) and Walters Bridge (on Hwy. 25E)  to Dutch Bottoms. In the winter, the river transitions into Douglas Lake as it enters Jefferson county.

Recreational Opportunities

Hiking trails in the Cherokee National Forest,

Fishing for bass, catfish, crappy, sauger and trout.

Canoeing and kayaking (outfitters in Hartford and Hot Springs)

Seasons Accessible

Year-round

How to Get There

From Knoxville:east on I-40,  Exit 435 to Downtown Newport. Follow Highway 25/70 along the river.

From Asheville: west via 19/23 to 25/70, to TN, or via I-40, Exit 435 to Downtown Newport, or other Cocke county Exits.

From Johnson City, south on i-81 to Exit 8, then east to Newport on 25E.

For More Information, Contact:

Michael Sledjeski

778 Serena Way, Del Rio, TN 37727

 

Jane Sullivan wrote on February 05, 2012: Looks beautiful. Isn’t that the river you and Leslie have canoed? Hope all is well.

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic Society.

Latitude: 35.943234900
Longitude: -83.049345000
Elevation: 1101 FT (336 M)
Michael Sledjeski
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Michael Sledjeski
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