Rafting the Nantahala

Vacationing in Western North Carolina? Plan a Trip Rafting the Nantahala!

Any vacation in the Smoky Mountains region of North Carolina should include a trip rafting the Nantahala River. Paddlers of all experience levels, including experts, families with children, or older generations, can enjoy amazing experiences rafting the spectacular waters of the Nantahala.

Hydroelectric dam-controlled flows mean you can always count on a fun trip on the Nantahala. Enjoy the views of this beautiful mountain gorge as you glide through crystal clear river water. And other outdoor adventures can be had nearby! Hiking, mountain biking, and fishing as well as rafting the Nantahala can all be a part of your Smoky Mountains adventure vacation.

Rafting the Nantahala, The Most Popular River in the Southeast

Rafting the Nantahala is so much fun that it is one of the most popular outdoor recreations destinations in the US! Discover for yourself why so many people come back year after year to play in this natural wonderland. To put it plainly, the Nantahala River is part of an eight-mile long scenic gorge that cuts through the Nantahala National Forest!

Plan a vacation that includes rafting the Nantahala as well as gem mining, horseback riding, mountain biking, train excursions and more. Or take the opportunity to learn about the rich culture and history of the Smoky Mountains including the Cherokee Nation.

We can also help you find the perfect place for you to stay, delicious places to eat and other spectacular things to do when you are not busy rafting the Nantahala.

Rafting the Nantahala: River of Champions

Enjoy rafting the same river that hosts the premier freestyle kayak event of the world, the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Canoe Freestyle World Championships. Plan a trip rafting the Nantahala! Sections of this river are thrilling enough to invite international whitewater competitors, yet others river portions are gentle enough that first-time rafters, children and seniors can have fun rafting the Nantahala too. The river has hydroelectric stations upstream, so check the Flow Schedule before your trip to ensure the water level is optimal.

We cordially invite you to visit the Nantahala Gorge September 2–8, 2013 to watch or participate in the Canoe Freestyle World Championships. You’ll see over 300 top freestyle paddlers from around the world performing amazing tricks in the water: loops, blunts, cartwheels and more.

Planning Your Trip Rafting the Nantahala River

Choose your style of trip depending on your level of experience and comfort. You can go rafting the Nantahala with a guide or without. When preparing for your trip you may need to hire a guide, rent a raft or a ducky, arrange transportation, and make sure you get all the necessary equipment. And don’t forget to order photographs of all the fun!

Here at Smoky Mountain Host, we’d be delighted to help you find a professional outfitter to guide you on your next trip rafting the Nantahala River.

Brookside Campground & Rafting
Brookside Campground and Rafting is a modern facility offering recreational camping and white water rafting. Brookside is located deep in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains with grassy campsites along the creek, complete hook-ups, hot showers and clean restrooms, picnic tables, covered garbage cans that are emptied daily, laundry facilities, a game room, pay telephone and playground. Brookside's country store offers snacks, drinks, and everything the average camper might need. In addition, there is whitewater rafting.
764 Hwy 19 Nantahala, NC 28781 (828) 321-5209 brooksiderafting.com Get Directions
Carolina Outfitters Whitewater Rafting
Experience whitewater rafting! Nantahala and Ocoee River family whitewater rafting adventures is located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the majestic mountains of western North Carolina. Enjoy the scenic splendor of the Nantahala National Forest and thrill to the challenge and excitement of whitewater rafting on the most popular rivers in the Southeast. Experience unnecessary. Combine our rafting with gemstone mining, horseback riding, and scenic train tours. Vacation homes and cabins available.
715 U.S. Hwy. 19 Topton, NC 28781 (828) 488-9819 www.carolinaoutfitters.com Get Directions
Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground
Deep Creek flows out of the Great Smokies National Park and by our campground. We rent light-weight vinyl tubes for $6 (all day rental). Tubes are available at a discount to registered campers and groups. Life jackets are available for children. Our camp store also sells creek shoes and other tubing accessories and souvenirs. We have twenty-one rental cabins, from modern campground cabins to hand-hewn log cabins, plus a large house for small groups. More than 40 campsites, from creekside tent camping to pop-ups, travel trailers, RVs and mobile homes. Gem Mining: Pan for rubies, sapphires, quartz, topaz, emeralds and other colorful gems at the Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company.
1090 West Deep Creek Rd Bryson City, NC 28713 (828) 488-6055 deepcreekcamping.com Get Directions
Nantahala Outdoor Center
NOC’s main campus is located at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and the Nantahala River, just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, NOC’s 500-acre campus boasts plenty of exciting adventures to keep your group happy & active. Whitewater raft, explore Fontana Lake in a kayak or canoe, zipline, or mountain bike and hike! Between adventures, check out NOC’s riverfront restaurants and retail stores, and even spend the night in a cozy trailside cabin.
13077 Hwy 19 West Bryson City, NC 28713 (828) 785-5082 www.noc.com Get Directions
NOC Paddling School
Voted “Best Place to Learn” by Outside Magazine, NOC’s elite team of instructors offer kayak and canoe courses for all ages and skill levels. Choose a weekend or weekday course and try something new or build on your existing skills! With 40+ years going into every course, you know you’re in great hands.
13077 Hwy 19 West Bryson City, NC 28713 (866) 297-5281 www.noc.com Get Directions
Come and enjoy nature at its best. We offer leisurely self guided kayak trips down the Little Tennessee River. The trips are 2 1/2 -3 hours long and we supply you with all your equipment needed. You will see along your trip river otters, beavers, deer and endless birds. It is a beautiful and peaceful trip to enjoy nature at its best. If you have your own equipment, we offer a "Drop and Shuttle service" so that you can use your own equipment and enjoy the river. Also, enjoy Gem Mining rain or shine in our Covered Outdoor Gem Flume along the Little Tennessee River. You will discover many different gemstones and fossils including topaz, rubies, amethyst, emeralds and many others. We help you to identify your gemstones. We welcome all rockhounds and treasure seekers, it’s great fun for the entire family. Your adventure and treasure await you!
155 Robin Lynn Lane Otto, NC 28763 (828) 349-1717 www.primitiveoutback.com Get Directions
Rolling Thunder River Company
Family-friendly rafting trips for over 30 years. Guided/Non-guided on the Nantahala River; guided only on the Ocoee River.
10160 Hwy. 19 West Bryson City, NC 28713 (800) 408-7238 www.rollingthunderriverco.com Get Directions
Smoky Mountain River Adventures
Great Family-oriented Whitewater Rafting Trip!!!! Rafting/Kayaking/Tubing/Canoeing
5303 US Hwy 74 East Whittier, NC 28789 (828) 586-5285 www.smokymountainriveradventures.com Get Directions
Smoky Mountain Tubing
Since 1999 Smoky Mountain Tubing has been the highlight of family vacations offered here in Cherokee! We promise to provide fun, safe, and scenic adventure unlike any other! Come relax and cool off on a hot summer day on the gently flowing Oconaluftee River while enjoying the scenic beauty of the Smoky Mountains. While tubing take a moment to enjoy the swimming holes and a trip off the rope swing.
1847 Tsali Blvd Cherokee, NC 28719 (828) 497-4545 cherokeetubeandraft.com Get Directions
Wildwater Nantahala Gorge Adventure Center
Fully guided, guide assisted, and rental trips on the Nantahala, Ocoee, Big Pigeon, and Chattooga Rivers. Lodging available for groups or individuals in our Yurts, cabins and lodge. Enjoy ziplining for the whole family.
10345 Hwy. 19 W. Bryson City, NC 28713 (866) 319-8870 wildwaterrafting.com Get Directions