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The Nantahala River, located in the USFS Nantahala National Forest, is one of America's favorite whitewater playgrounds. Its ideal location at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, close to Atlanta GA, Knoxville TN, Greenville SC, Asheville NC and just a short distance from Murphy, Andrews, Robbinsville, Franklin, Cherokee and Bryson City, NC makes the Nantahala River convenient to mountain vacationers.
Over thousands of years, the swift currents of the Nantahala River have slowly carved an incredible gorge in the mountains of western North Carolina. The Nantahala River remained a remote trout stream until 1942, at which time a hydroelectrical plant was built that guaranteed downstream releases, the Nantahala River is today one of the most popular rivers in the U.S.
Flowing through the scenic Nantahala Gorge, the Nantahala River offers the thrill and excitement of riding the river rapids in a raft, canoe or kayak. Eight miles of clear water, constant waves and swift currents make the crystal clear Nantahala River the perfect river to enjoy with family and friends. The Nantahala River is delight for all ages (min. 60 lbs) and groups interested in an exhilarating introduction to whitewater rafting.. The trip takes a little over 3 hours and contains several class I and II rapids, with an optional class III at the end. No matter if you go-it alone or with a guide, it will be a memory you'll treasure for a lifetime. Since the Nantahala River is a dam-controlled river, one can expect good water flows at all times of the year.
The Nantahala River is not a one-trip-a-year river, but one that can be enjoyed over and over again. It is a favorite destination of boaters of all skill levels, as well as adventure seekers looking for whitewater rafting. The river also draws vacationers who want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, hikers traveling on the Appalachian Trail, mountain bikers exploring the Tsali Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trails or one of the many other bike trails, and people who just come to relax. Whatever your interests, the Nantahala River Gorge area has something for you.
The Nantahala River serves as the first experience with whitewater for hundreds of boaters each year. Chances are, if you learned to kayak in the east, you started here. The neat thing about the Nantahala River is, no matter how long you’ve been paddling, the river still has something to offer you. It is not a very difficult or technical river, but has lots of places to learn, practice and play.
Revered by the Cherokee Indians, who migrated to this region more than 1000 years ago, the serpentine Nantahala River is associated with creatures prominent in Cherokee legends. The word Nantahala itself means “middle sun” or “midday sun” in the Cherokee language. There are places alongside the river where the high cliffs shut out direct sunlight until noon.
In addition to the Nantahala Rivers' whitewater activity, the Nantahala River also has a reputation for its excellent trout fishing. The Nantahala River offers different regulations for different areas. The area directly above the power plant is known for its Delayed Harvest waters, while the area below the power plant is Hatchery Supported waters. While stream habitat is managed by the Forest Service, the fishing is regulated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
The Nantahala river runs parallel to US Highway 19, which makes for easy access and scouting. The put-in is located about 21 miles west of Bryson City, NC on Highway 19 or three miles east of the town of Topton, NC. Topton is located near the intersection of US 19 and US 129. The put-in can be seen from the highway, but is located at the turn-off to go to the power plant where the river goes away from the road. The put-in is at a large parking lot maintained by the forest service. They charge $2.00 per person for a river usage fee.
An alternate put-in is located about three miles down river at Farabee park.
The take out is located on Highway 19 just above the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) restaurant on river right. Do not park here, the take out is for loading and unloading only. You can also take out at the NOC parking lot located on the river's left. To access the parking lot, cross the Nantahala river over the one lane bridge, just below the NOC store and turn left. Make sure not to park or take out in any of the commercial raft take-outs located on river right.
One shuttle technique is to park at the end of the river and try to catch a ride with a friendly motorist traveling back up river. You can hitch a ride by standing at the take out area, but keep in mind it is your decision to heed your mother’s warning about taking a ride from strangers.
Whitewater Outfitters - Rafting Companies
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Enjoy your get-away and your football - This cabin has
'A Mountain Memory' is a quiet, secluded cabin offering two bedrooms, two baths, and easy access to the Nantahala River. This cozy cabin features a rustic decor with pine paneled cathedral ceilings and wood floors.
Relax in the hot tub and enjoy the peaceful surroundings on the large deck, complimented by a private picnic area and outside grill. Escape to the Smoky mountains for Nantahala River whitewater rafting, Nantahala River trout fly fishing, mountain biking and hiking, while enjoying all the conveniences of home.
This cabin is perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary with its cozy fireplace stove and romantic Jacuzzi in the loft; at the same time the spaciousness of the cabin makes it perfect for a small family.
Amenities include all-glass front wall facing the view, a rock faced fireplace stove with gas logs, Washer/Dryer, central Heat/Air, a well equipped kitchen with microwave, coffee maker and dishwasher.
Entertainment amenities include a four person hot tub on the deck, a large screen TV with Directv TiVo satellite system, DVD and VCR player.
Deck has two comfortable Lafuma recliners, two camping chairs and a charcoal grill. Bring your charcoal.
Hope you join us in the mountains.
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