River rafting boat launch information. Nantahala access, put-in,
River rafting information. Nantahala River water level information. NC. Nantahala River Gorge. Nantahala White Water Rafting water level information. Nantala,
Nanthala, Nantale. NC
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Nantahala River Boat Launch Area and
Directions from "A Lake Memory" to Nantahala River Rafting Boat Launch
The U.S. Forest Service provides three river-access sites:
The first boat launch site is where the Nantahala River leaves the
narrow Upper Nantahala Gorge just below the powerhouse at the Nantahala
River Launch Site along U.S. 19 and NC 1310 (Wayah Road) in Beechertown.
This launch site has a parking area, picnic, dressing rooms and
Midway through the Nantahala Gorge is the next put-in at the Ferebee
Memorial Recreation Area. A parking and picnic area plus restrooms are
also located there.
There are small parking and viewing areas along the river if you want to
watch the rafters coming down the river and a suspended bridge across
the river leading to a trail on the opposite bank.
At the end of the Nantahala Rivers white water rafting run is the
rafters take-out landing at US 19 in Wesser. At this take-out there is a
viewing area along a wooded observation deck above a small but wide
waterfall, a great place to photograph.
The Nantahala River is managed by the USFS and all boaters must pay a
daily users fee of $5 or they can purchase a yearly pass for $25. Passes
may be purchased at Adventurous Fast Rivers (828) 488-2386, Endless
River Adventures (828) 488-6199 or the Nantahala Outdoor Center (828)
A drive through the Nantahala Gorge offers some of the most breathtaking
scenery in Western North Carolina. Winding roads present leisurely views
of sheer rock faces towering over crystal clear waters. Fresh fruit and
vegetable stands, fly-fishermen, and rustic cabins dot the riverside,
while whitewater enthusiasts of all kinds delight in the waterfalls and
swirling rapids of the Nantahala River.
The Nantahala River Gorge is a 9-mile stretch of the Nantahala River
running from Beechertown to Fontana Lake. Often referred to by locals as
the "Nanty," the Nantahala River originates in Nantahala National
Forest, the largest of four national forests in North Carolina. The
water then flows into Aquone Lake, the highest lake in North Carolina,
where it is dammed and then piped down the mountain to the Nantahala
Power and Light Company. Running at a refreshing 45-degree angle, this
mountain-canyon river next flows through the heavily forested Nantahala
River Gorge for 9 miles where it ends at Fontana Lake. The cold water
often creates a mysterious fog on warm days, rising as far as 3 feet
above the water.
The Nantahala River Gorge is nationally known for its world-class
whitewater. Since the Nantahala is a controlled-release river, there is
always predictable white-water from spring until fall, making it one of
the most heavily used whitewater rivers in the region. The 8-mile river
trip through the Class I, II, and III rapids takes about three hours.
More than 10 commercial outfitters are established along the river,
offering a variety of services including outfitting and guiding, boat
rentals, instruction, restaurants, and overnight accommodations.
One of the focal points of the Nantahala Gorge is the Nantahala Outdoor
Center (NOC). While there are numerous outstanding outfitters in the
region, it is difficult not to single out NOC based on the scope and
reputation of its offerings. NOC is the nation's largest paddling
school, where everyone from beginners to experienced paddlers comes to
learn and sharpen whitewater skills. Courses range from one-day canoe
and kayak samplers to week-long clinics. Over the years, operations have
expanded to include whitewater rafting trips on four other outstanding
rivers in the southern Appalachians.
In addition to instruction, NOC also offers guide-assisted raft trips;
raft rentals and funyack rentals; rock-climbing and backpacking courses;
fly-fishing workshops; bicycle tours; a corporate team-building program
with ropes course, retreat, and meeting facilities; and three
The Nantahala National Forest lands that surround the Nantahala Gorge
offer miles of adventurous single-track trails and gated forest roads
ideal for mountain biking. Also, the renowned Tsali Recreation Area (see
Tsali), located 8 miles from Nantahala Outdoor Center, offers more
than 40 miles of rolling single-track along Lake Fontana Lake's shores.
The Nantahala River is renowned for trout fishing. The Nantahala Gorge
is stocked with more than 6,000 fish from March to August, and fish grow
quickly due to the quality of the food supply. The gorge is also the
only part of the Nantahala River and the only trout water in North
Carolina that permits night fishing.
Directions:. To reach the Nantahala Gorge portion of the Nantahala
River, follow US 19/129 north from Andrews. Continue on US 19 when
US 129 splits northeast. US 19 connects with the Nantahala River
just north of Beechertown.
Facilities: NOC provides many services such as 3 restaurants,
meeting facilities, supply store, launch sites. The U.S. Forest
Service provides 3 river access sites.
Fees: A fee is charged for public access to the Nantahala River
Is the water level on the Nantahala River
reliable? - Yes, there are daily dam releases in season on the Nantahala
River. This gives consistent water levels throughout the rafting
season. This does vary some, but not dramatically. On rare occasions,
the power plant will have a mechanical failure and can cause the water
to stop. The Nantahala River has the most reliable water levels of any
river in the southeast.
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