TRAVEL GUIDE TO BRYSON CITY AND THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS


THINGS TO DO IN THE SMOKIES

Four Rivers Offer Whitewater Fun for All Ages in the North Carolina Smokies

Nantahala

NANTAHALA
Located about a dozen miles west of Bryson City on US 19/74,
the scenic Nantahala River ranks among the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in the country. Without a doubt, it is the most popular in the Southeast luring more than 200,000 paddlers to its waters every year. A perfect combination of exciting whitewater and placid pools, the Nantahala is a great introduction to the sport of whitewater paddling.

KayakWith Class II and III rapids, it's considered a “family” river suitable for senior citizens and children — providing the kids are at least 7 years old or weight at least 60 pounds.

But, don’t get the wrong idea. Just because the river is suitable for families doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. It's also challenging enough for the US Olympic Kayaking Team, which often trains on the Nantahala.

TUCKASEGEE
In the mood for something more sedate? Try the Tuckasegee River. With its Class I and II rapids, Tuckasegee rafting trips provide great outdoor entertainment for the entire family. (including kids as young as 4).

CHEOAH
The Cheoah is a nine-mile stretch
of a narrow, whitewater river located outside of the mountain community of Robbinsville, west of Bryson City. It begins below Santeetlah Lake Dam, parallels Hwy 129 and finishes at Calderwood Lake. The Cheoah is a controlled-release river with a very limited number of release dates. Class III rafting experience required for this high-energy ride. Check with your outfitter for times.

OCOEE
The Ocoee has been rated one of the ten best whitewater rivers in the country by Canoe Magazine. A number of these outfitters also take trips down the Ocoee, about 1-1/2 hours southwest of Bryson City. It has been chosen as the site of national whitewater championships on several occasions as well as home of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater competition. Fully guided due to the challenging water.

Printable guide to whitewater activities. (pdf)

More fun activities on the water near Bryson City.

Rafting Outfitters on the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Cheoah, Ocoee and Other Whitewater Rivers in the Smokies

The website links below will open in a new window.
 Click thumbnail images to enlarge.

Tuckaseegee Outfitters

Contact: Rodney Lowman
Address:
4909 Hwy 441/74
Whittier, NC 28789
Phone 828-586-5050
TF 888-593-5050
Raft with kids as yound as age 4. No weight limit. Guide assisted half day rafting trips on class I and II whitewater. A great trip for families with younger kids and for beginners.

Endless River Adventures

Address:
14157 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
View Additional Addresses
Phone 828-488-6199
TF 800-224-RAFT
Fax 828-488-2259
Offers whitewater rafting on the Nantahala, Cheoah, and Ocoee Rivers. Ocoee rafting package includes transportation from our Nantahala Outpost, saving you the extra driving. Kayak instruction from the beginner to advanced level and kayak/mountain bike trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador. Lake touring offered for half-and full-day trips. Also, fly fishing instruction & guide service with drift boat option.

Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting

Contact: Steven & Susan Matz
Address:
14690 Nantahala River, 19W
Bryson City, NC 28713
TF 800-438-7238
Local 828-488-2386
Fax 828-488-6481
Experience the beauty and adventure of whitewater on the Nantahala River. We are family owned and located directly on river. Our specialty is giving economical prices with the very best in personal service, equipment, facilities, and staff. No experience necessary. Guided & unguided trips available March through October. Walk-ins are welcome or call to reserve your adventure. We look forward to seeing you on the river with us.

Rolling Thunder River Company

Address:
10160 Highway 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-2030
Phone 800-408-7238
For over 30 years Rolling Thunder has provided high quality, fun filled rafting experiences. Over 300,000 guests have chosen to raft with us over the years. Choose guided, follow- a- guide or non-guided/rental trip options. We use top of the line, well maintained equipment.
Hot showers. Campground. Bunkhouse sleeps up to 65 people. Family owned and operated with a caring staff. The only experience you’ll need is ours!

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Address:
13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
Local 828-488-6900
TF 800-232-7238
Fax 828-488-0301
Nantahala Outdoor Center Rated "One of the Best Outfitter's on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There's something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Carolina Outfitters Rafting Company

Address:
12121 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-6345
TF 800-GOT-RAFT
Offers Guide-in-Boat, Guide Assisted, or Non-Guided whitewater rafting trips on the popular and scenic Nantahala River. Inflatable Funyak/Ducky rentals. Excellent equipment, friendly staff, and comfortable facilities. Great low prices and group rates available. Combine our rafting with gemstone mining, horseback riding, and scenic train tours. Fully furnished vacation rentals available. Convenient to all area attractions.

Wildwater-Nantahala Gorge Adventure Center

Address:
10345 Hwy 19S
Bryson City, NC 28713
View Additional Addresses
Phone 800-451-9972
Phone 828-488-2384
Fax 828-488-9130
Fully guided and rental inflatable kayak and raft trips available. A family-owned business since 1971, Wildwater runs on the Nantahala, Ocoee, Pigeon, and Chattooga Rivers. A complete adventure destination-Zipline Canopy Tours, half-day Jeep® Tours, full-day Rails & Trails, and Raft & Rail© since 1988. Wildwater offers 100% quality service guarantee. On site lodging in unique Yurt Cabins or economical Group Lodge at our Falling Waters Adventure Resort. WIFI for guests.

Paddle Inn Rafting Company

Contact: Mark Thomas
Address:
14611 Highway 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-9651
Phone 800-711-RAFT
Phone 877-265-7253
We offer guided, guide assisted, and be your own boss (Rentals.) We have Funyaks, Pumas, Self Bailers and regular rafts. Enjoy our riverfront cabins, RV sites and group tenting areas. We want to share our passion for the river with you and we take pride in our customer service. You are our number one concern. Near Bryson City, open April-Nov. Also open by advance reservation Nov. - April.

Appalachian Rivers Raft Co., Inc.

Contact: John Griffin
Address:
1365 Hwy 19 West
Topton, NC 28781
Phone 800-330-1999
Phone 828-321-3815
Offering exciting and enjoyable whitewater activities for families and groups since 1979. Featuring excellent equipment and a courteous, professional staff and very reasonable rates. We invite you to come and enjoy the river in one of our self-bailing rafts or funyaks. For the inexperienced, we offer guide-assisted or fully guided trips. Contact us soon and join the fun!!

ABC-GMA"The Nation's Best Place to Cool Off With a Splash" National Geographic Adventure and ABC's Good Morning America's "Vacationland" series named the Nantahala River the number one place to spend a wet and wild vacation in the US. (June 29, 2006 GMA)  Story  Video

Other media mentions about Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

What to wear
All outfitters provide approved life jackets; most outfitters will provide a wet suit and/or paddling jackets during the cooler months.

It’s advisable to wear a bathing suit or shorts and tee shirt, and secure shoes. If it’s cool, you should bring wool socks, a hat and sweater. Watches and loose jewelry should be left behind. And eyeglasses should be secured with a head strap. You should also bring towels and a change of dry clothes.

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Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce

210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713

Email

Karen Proctor Wilmot
Executive Director

800-867-9246 toll-free
828-488-3681 local
828-488-6858 fax