UPDATE: The Nantahala River has been re-opened to the general public. After a week long process, the US Forest Service has taken the steps needed to clear and repair the damage done after multiple mudslides impacted the region.
What happened to the Nantahala River?
Saturday, August 24, 2019 – Significant rainfall created multiple mudslides in the Nantahala Gorge area. Both the river and the road became inaccessible. Thankfully, no one was injured.
Monday, August 26, 2019 – Road access to the area was restored. Impacts to the river were significant and the US Forest Service suspended all river access permits until crews could remove debris, which included entire trees, boles, root wads, and other organic and inorganic material.
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 – Forest service contractors made significant progress on Quarry Rapid, and began work removing a tree dam.
Saturday, August 31, 2019 – Clean up the Nantahala River continues, and water is flowing, albeit a bit muddier than usual. Emergency closures are still in effect, as it remains unsafe for recreation.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 – The clean up is complete and the Nantahala River is back open for everyone to enjoy.
What areas of the Nantahala River are closed for public use?
UPDATE: The emergency closure order issued by the US Forest Service has been lifted. It is safe to enjoy recreational and commercial use of the Nantahala River.
Areas impacted by the closure were between the Beechertown Launch Ramp and the Silvermine Takeout Ramp on U.S. 19 on National Forest System lands within the jurisdiction of the USDA Forest Service. The prohibition included the entire Ferebee Memorial Site.
What can visitors to the Nantahala Gorge access?
There are plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities available in the region. Here are updates for attractions that access the Nantahala River.
Brookside Campground: Located a few miles away, they were not impacted by the mudslide. They are now able to provide trips down the Nantahala River.
Carolina Outfitters: Nantahala trips are now available as are trips down the Ocoee River.
Nantahala Outdoor Center: Pre-purchased tickets for rafting trips will be honored as business has now resumed. Their zip lines, hiking and biking trails, local paddling destinations, train trips, lodging, riverside restaurant and retail shops are also open for visitors.
Rolling Thunder: Nantahala River trips are no longer suspended.Ocoee and Toccoa River experiences are also available.
Wildwater Rafting: Rafting trips are available on all rivers including the Nantahala, Pigeon, and Ocoee. Their yurts, zipline and Jeep tours are available as well.