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“Blue Heron Made Our First Rafting Experience Really Great”

Blue Heron Whitewater
Ranked #3 of 13 things to do in Marshall
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Closest whitewater rafting outfitter to Asheville, NC. Blue Heron Whitewater offers a variety of trips on the French Broad River. Choose the trip that fits your group and schedule. Half Day Trips enjoy 5 miles, with class II-III rapids. Full Day Trips add 3 more miles, a delicious deli-style lunch served riverside, and a class IV rapid. Minimum age for whitewater trips is 8. Float Trips are offered for families with kids as young as 4 and for those looking for a scenic float trip through the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains. On the river you are no longer a spectator!Come visit our new solar-powered outpost with hot showers, free wet suit use in cool weather and the most experienced guides on the river.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage
Reviewed July 17, 2013

Although we could have gone rafting at any number of companies close to where we were staying in Gatlinburg, we travelled quite a distance across one lane mountain roads to go rafting on the French Broad River. We chose to go with Blue Heron because of the excellent ratings we found online as well as the type of trip they offer. It was well worth the trip. We are a family of four with two adults in their 40's, a 12 year old and 18 year old. Blue Heron is a very well run business with excellent guides and facilities. I was a little apprehensive, being that it was a new experience for all of us. My fears were unfounded. The level of rapids (mostly 2 and 3's with a few 1's and one 4) on the half day trip was just perfect for what we were looking for. We wanted a mix of excitement and relaxation with beautiful views. We weren't looking for a harrowing experience where any of us would be at great risk of being thrown out of the raft. On the other hand, we didn't want to just float down a river. Blue Heron adjusted the length of the trip to eight miles instead of 5 because the river is flowing quite fast due to all the rain. It was really nice that they did this to make the trip as long as it usually is when the river is lower. I can't think of one thing that I was not impressed with. All the staff were very friendly, the bus driver drove safely, the guides were mature and didn't overdo it at all with their personalities--just the right amount of talking and information given. The rafts, equipment and facility were all in great condition. The mountain views were beautiful and we even saw a blue heron! I also think the prices were appropriate. I feel that their gift shop costs and costs for the photos they take of you on the trip are quite reasonable. Thank you to Meredith, our guide, for a very nice time!

Thank Emerson_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueHeronWhitewater, Owner at Blue Heron Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded July 19, 2013

Wow! That's an epic drive from Gatlinburg these days with the new bridge under construction. Sounds like you might have taken the super secret detour of the detour. We really appreciate the extra effort you made to join us on the French Broad and are happy that you had a good experience on the river. I will pass your comments on to Meredith. She'll be delighted. And thanks for noticing that we try to balance our pricing with a good value. At these water levels just going five miles just doesn't make sense. The five miles goes by too fast. Plus, going the extra three miles is great fun for us too.
Thanks again for rafting with us and we appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences of the day.

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176 - 180 of 241 reviews

Reviewed July 16, 2013

Blue Heron has obviously put a lot of effort into their tours and facility.
Very modern with clean bathrooms, showers and other amenities.
The guides obviously enjoyed their jobs and were great.

As an aside, we had a great trip despite July normally not being a great time to go and the French Broad being viewed as a "blah river".

The water was high; we had a light rain all day, keeping us cool and the guides knew the river very well.

Thank KevinNFK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueHeronWhitewater, Owner at Blue Heron Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Thanks for rafting with us, and thanks for noticing the effort we put into our place. We don't expect it, but it's nice when people notice. One nice thing about having been in the rafting world for decades is we have a pretty good idea about what works well and what doesn't.
Glad you had a good time on the high water. This has been the highest water ever seen in July and it's been great. Though our small rafts and ducks (inflatable kayaks) are feeling a little neglected.
Thanks again, and thanks for the review.

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Reviewed July 15, 2013

The half day trip on the French Broad River expecting a class I/III white water rafting trip going 5 miles, turned out to be a class II/IV for 8 miles. Thanks to the rainy summer we are having and the a attention to make the customer as happy as the can make it, Blue Heron Whitewater not only met my expectations but expanded it. I can't say enough about the staff, they were knowledgable and friendly. The staff listened and was very attentive to any question you may have. The paid special attention to kids and nervous parents. Our guide Ian handle the trip very well, not only making out trip safe,but also informative. Ian should be giving out continuing education credits during the trip because he sited the history of the region, the flora and fona of the region and filled the trip with little history lessons before hitting the rapids. This trip was well worth the expense and would be worth every penny even if it was doubled. Well done!

Thank Keith C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueHeronWhitewater, Owner at Blue Heron Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Yes. All this rain has been great for the river level. We had to make some adjustments as far as minimum age goes, and our lunch beach was under water for a while, but we love being able to offer folks the extra miles and rapids for no extra charge. Because it's fun, and that's why we're all here. And Ian is great. Very experienced and very knowledgeable. He also makes a mean mead.
Thanks for rafting with us and we appreciate the time you took to write a review.

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Reviewed July 14, 2013

Can't say enough good things about the staff and the experience offered at Blue Heron for my family, including our sons aged 10 and 14. Our guide Kim was very knowledgeable for us first-timers, and a joy to talk to. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to help and inform, and the scenery of the river is beautiful! Even their outpost was very accommodating with changing rooms and showers. Awesome trip! Awesome fun! We will definitely be back! :)

Thank WeenieLeenie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueHeronWhitewater, Owner at Blue Heron Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

Thanks for going down the river with us. We appreciate your business and your trust. We have a great staff here, many of whom have been with us from the inception of Blue Heron Whitewater, and Kim is one of those. Most of us have worked together for years, if not decades and we think of ourselves as being part of a river family. A family that you are now part of.
Thanks again for joining us and hope to see you on the river again soon.

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Reviewed July 13, 2013

Water was super high, and a few days ago they weren't letting kids under 12 on the river. Thankfully the level went down in time for my family (kids 8 and 11) to go on the trip. I was still very nervous that my youngest would be safe. Bottom line - Laura and the staff put my mind at ease and I am so glad she did. We had an absolute BLAST!!! We paid for the half day trip, but since it was so fast, Blue Heron took us on the full day trip to make sure we all felt that we got our money's worth. 8+ miles of non stop action and awesome rapids. Great pictures at the end that we couldn't pass up. Whole family had a wonderful time. Can't say enough good things about Laura and the staff at Blue Heron. They were all unbelievable!!

Thank sanchiplus2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueHeronWhitewater, Owner at Blue Heron Whitewater, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

Glad the water came down enough so you could join us. And thanks for your review. It is much appreciated. This has been a very odd July. We've been rafting on the French Broad for decades and have never seen so much rain and sustained high water. The river had been dropping and we thought we were headed toward more typical levels and then it rained again. Not too much fortunately, but enough to make us to shake our heads in disbelief at this crazy weather pattern.
It's great fun right now with big fun waves and sunny warm weather.
Thanks again.

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