The scenery and natural heritage of the Broad River Basin have captivated tourists and ecologists alike. Hollywood even memorialized some of these places on the big screen, including in battle scenes filmed for the 1992 movie “Last of the Mohicans” at the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls.

The 200-mile Cape Fear River is the main tributary and namesake of the state’s largest river basin. It is the only river in North Carolina that flows directly into the ocean.

The Catawba River Basin in North Carolina is a place of extremes—you can discover both urban and wild adventures within its boundaries. The basin contains a large national wilderness area near its headwaters and a major metropolitan area where the Catawba River flows into South Carolina. This haven of natural wonders includes the 6,000-foot Grandfather Mountain, the Pisgah National Forest, Linville Falls, one of the most beautiful and popular cascades in the Appalachian Mountains, and Linville Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the eastern United States.

The Chowan River Basin is a region of vast hardwood swamps and tea-colored rivers. It is a place where fish were once currency and rivers were once highways.

The Cherokee Indians already had countless names for the French Broad River by the time white huntsmen first approached this mountain region. Their river was “Long Man” and its tributaries “Chattering Children.”

Lying in the westernmost part of North Carolina, the Hiwassee River Basin is the land of the Cherokee. The Hiwassee’s name comes from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi,” which refers to a savanna or meadow.

The Little Tennessee River Basin contains famed trout streams, the world-renowned Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a staggering diversity of aquatic wildlife and sparkling, clear rivers that squeeze through forested, picture-perfect gorges.

The Lumber River Basin is a rich ecological expanse of flat land, gently rolling hills and swamp waters. Part Sandhills but mostly Coastal Plain, the basin is a flatwater paddler’s dream and a naturalist’s wonderland.

Stretching 248 miles from the Falls Lake Reservoir Dam in the Piedmont to its mouth at Pamlico Sound, the Neuse River is the longest river in North Carolina. At its mouth, it is the widest river in America—six miles across.

The New River is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in the world. Some geologists estimate its age at 300 million years old. This clean, clear river begins as two streams on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Watauga County. The North Fork and South Fork converge along the Ashe-Alleghany County line as the New River, which flows northward into Virginia and loops back southward into North Carolina twice before continuing north into Virginia.

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