Photograph by Laurel Scherer, Alamy
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A whitewater kayaker takes a break between Class V rapids on the Green River near Asheville, North Carolina.

Photograph by Laurel Scherer, Alamy

Kayak the Green River Narrows in North Carolina

This route requires serious paddling skills.

Recommended by: Steve Fisher, Kayaker

About 30 miles south of Asheville, North Carolina, there lies a gem of American whitewater: the Green Narrows. "It’s one of the most popular and consistent creeks in the country," Fisher says, which is why it has become a prime training ground for local elite kayakers and a pilgrimage site for boaters across the U.S.

For about 2.9 miles, the Green River tumbles through tight Class IV and V rapids such as Frankenstein, the Squeeze, and Nutcracker, which require finely honed technical skills. Between drops, kayakers look at beautiful boulder gardens and the lush greenery of the pristine river gorge.

"Even though you're just down the road from a city, you're in remote wilderness," Fisher says. "It's the heart of southeast kayak culture, which is awesome. It's the reason I moved to Asheville after traveling to 45 countries."

Since the 1990s, kayaker Steve Fisher has pushed the outer edges of his sport with over a hundred first descents in some 50 countries. But he is best known for leading a team of four, including kayakers Tyler Bradt, Ben Marr, and Rush Sturges, down the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 50-mile-long Inga Rapids, braving its waterfalls, whirlpools, and giant waves for the first time in history.