America's Scenic Byways

French Broad Overview

17 miles - 25 minutes

Most of all, the French Broad Overview offers a beautiful, uninterrupted drive amid a beautiful Appalachian area just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The byway is a popular destination for cyclists for the little traffic and beautiful scenery. During the summer months, the French Broad River is an excellent site for white-water rafting and canoeing.

In addition to its natural scenic qualities, the byway also holds historical points of interest. The river was named for the French who settled in the territory during the 1700s. At the south end of the byway, travelers will find the community of Weaverville and its presentation of early mountain settler life. At the north end of the byway, travelers will find the community of Marshall on the banks of the river.

The road itself was built following old Indian trading paths that led to places of commerce in the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys. On the other side of the river, travelers may notice the railroad on the other side of the river. This road and the railroad that parallels it were both built as a result of natures natural paths and the paths of ancient inhabitants of the North Carolina Appalachians.