The Broad River below Lake Lure

When picturesque Lake Lure was created in 1927, the major stream feeding into the lake was the Rocky Broad River. The Hickory Nut Gorge was created by this river which flows out of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Blue Ridge Escarpment west of present day Bat Cave and Chimney Rock, North Carolina. The river exits the eastern side of Lake Lure, where its name changes to the Broad River, without the “Rocky” label, and flows rapidly through the Hickory Nut Gap as it heads southeast toward South Carolina, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean.

Most of the time the river is a relatively quiet stream, flowing over shallow shoals, and meandering through dense hardwood forest. However, after heavy rains, or when the hydroelectric station at the dam needs to produce power, the release of water through the dam transforms the river into a raging torrent, with dangerous currents and miles of whitewater rapids. In the past year, outfitters have begun to offer weekend kayak tours on the river from Spring until Autumn, coordinated with water releases from the Lake Lure dam.

Last Sunday near sunset, the river was at its whitewater stage, and I made this video in hopes of capturing the beauty of the increased flow. Because it is the dead of winter, the river is very visible from Memorial Highway (U.S. 64) with all the trees bare of leaves. I live just fifteen minutes north of this area, and I can’t wait until the kayak tours begin in April.


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