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Exploring the Primitive Outback of Otto NC

Primitive outback bunny rabbits

Vacationers seeking an ultimate, one-stop adventure in kayaking, gem mining, and yes, even fainting goats, should check out Primitive Outback in Otto, NC. Here is everything you need to know to get the most out of your visit.

Primitive outback kayakers

Kayaking the Little Tennessee River

Imagine yourself kayaking down the Little Tennessee River, sharing space with beavers, deer, and river otters. Primitive Outback offers a 2½- to 3½- hour self-guided tour through the intoxicating beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. You can either rent a kayak or bring your own. If you bring your own, Primitive Outback offers drop and shuttle services.

Kayaking is offered through the winter months of November to February, but only by reservation, and the adventure is always weather dependent.

Find Treasure with Gem Mining

Experience the mountain tradition of panning for precious gems and minerals at Primitive Outback. Miners-for-a-day receive a sifting screen to sort the gems from the silt under the covered, outdoor flume. An expert is always on hand to teach you about the gems as you discover them. While there are other gem-mining establishments in the area, Primitive Outback’s gem mining has an incomparable view, overlooking the crystal-clear Little Tennessee River. And you get an awesome treasure bag to carry your booty home.

Treasure hunters can choose from varying bucket sizes to pan. Super Buckets start at just $15 and go on up to the $100 Colossal Bucket, which guarantees a cut and faceted gemstone in each haul. The sharing of buckets is welcomed, so everyone gets a turn experiencing the excitement of striking it rich!

Primitive outback goat and babyFainting Goats

The best mountain adventures offer a multitude of experiences in one. At Primitive Outback, guests are invited to interact with the famous fainting goats. Watch as the goats spring from wooden platforms to mini trampolines, frolicking as only goats can. The only way this experience gets any better is when there are baby fainting goats to visit and feed!

Where to Eat

Otto, NC is just a quick, 13-minute drive to the mountain town of Franklin, NC. Visitors should not leave the area without experiencing a home-cooked meal at Sunset Restaurant, Franklin’s oldest eating establishment. Serving family style, the Sunset Restaurant is known for its homemade-style turkey and gravy and chicken and waffles.

Experience another Franklin food adventure at Cleaver’s, serving up both traditional and “unusual” burgers. This is your chance to finally try a bison, elk, or ostrich burger!  Of course, they also offer regular beef and veggie burgers so everyone can find a satisfying meal here.

Where To Stay

Franklin’s inns, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds offer visitors a plethora of accommodation options. Both the Colonial Inn and Sapphire Inn offer clean, comfortable, and convenient rooms, while the historic Franklin Terrace Bed and Breakfast will wow you with their wide porches and southern hospitality.

High Country Haven Camping and Cabins gives you a choice of RV hookup sites, cabins, and tent-camping. Pines RV Park and Cabins is another excellent choice for campers, featuring a recreation room, shuffleboard, clean bathhouses, and playground.

For a complete list of recommended accommodations and restaurants, click here.


Primitive outback gem mining