Nantahala River

Nantahala River
One of the best outfitters on Earth. - Nat Geo

Classic Family Rafting in Western North Carolina

North Carolina's shimmering Nantahala River offers river rafting through family-friendly rapids that are mild but exciting. The Nantahala features eight miles of practice on easy Class II rapids before splashing through the exciting Class III whitewater of Nantahala Falls.

The Nantahala is also headquarters of the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Founded in 1972, NOC is located at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and the Nantahala River in the Nantahala National Forest. Originally a roadside inn, the company has evolved into one of the largest outdoor recreation companies in the nation, hosting well over one million guests each year. 

NOC's 500-acre adventure center offers whitewater rafting, four aerial and zipline activities, mountain biking on nine miles of private trails, and stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Fontana. In between activities, you can shop at one of NOC's four retail stores including NOC's flagship Outfitter's Store, eat at NOC's two riverfront restaurants, and even stay in a cabin adjoining the Appalachian Trail. 

Fontana Lake Kayak & SUP Rentals

Bryson City, NC

Duration: 2 Hours

Price: $20-$25

Age: 4+ Years for Kayak, 8+ Years for SUP

Lake Fontana Kayak and SUP rentals enable you to explore the lake at your own pace. Find waterfalls, see wildlife and improve your paddling. Learn More

Guided Fontana Lake Tour

Bryson City, NC

Duration: 3-4 Hours

Price: $15.99-$47.99

Age: 4+ Years

Paddle your own boat on Lake Fontana with instructional and interpretive assistance from an NOC expert guide. Learn More

Rafts & Ropes: Rafting and Zip Line Package

Bryson City, NC

Duration: 5-6 Hours

Price: $84.99

Weight Range:60-250 Pounds

Combine a Nantahala River whitewater rafting trip and a Zip Line Adventure Park experience for a family-friendly day of adventure. Learn More

River-to-Ridge: Rafting and Zip Line Package

Bryson City, NC

Duration: 6-7 Hours

Price: $134.99

Weight Range:100-250

Enjoy a Nantahala River whitewater rafting trip and a Mountaintop Zip Line Tour back-to-back. A full day of outdoor fun! Learn More

Mountaintop Zip Line Tour

Bryson City, NC

Duration: 3-4 Hours

Price: $89.99-$109.99

Weight Range:100-250 Pounds

North Carolina’s premium zip line tour. Experience 2 miles of zip lines including the breath-taking 1/2-mile Mega-Zip. Learn More

Zip Line Adventure Park

Bryson City, NC

Duration: 2.5 Hours

Price: $39.99-$49.99

Weight Range:60-250 Pounds

Take on 16 different aerial obstacles and fly down the 550’ Wesser Zip in this 2-hour multi-stage challenge course. Learn More

Nantahala River Raft & Duck Rentals

Bryson City, NC

Distance: 8 Miles

Duration: 3 Hours

Price: $24.99 and up

Age: 7+ years

Weight Range:60+ Pounds

Intensity: Intermediate

Guide your own raft. NOC supplies the boat, paddles, gear, shuttle and basic instruction. Previous experience recommended. Learn More

Nantahala River Rafting: Fully-Guided

Bryson City, NC

Distance: 8 Miles

Duration: 3 Hours

Price: $49.99-$54.99

Age: 7+ Years

Weight Range:60+ Pounds

Intensity: Beginner

The best introduction to whitewater rafting on the Southeast’s quintessential mountain river. A must-do experience. Learn More

Nantahala River Rafting: Guided Duck Trip

Bryson City, NC

Distance: 8 Miles

Duration: 3 Hours

Price: $54.99-$59.99

Age: 9+ Years

Intensity: Intermediate

For a bigger challenge on the Nantahala, captain an inflatable kayak or "ducky” with the support of a trained NOC guide. Learn More

Rapid Transit: Whitewater Rafting and Scenic Train Excursion

Bryson City, NC

Distance: 8 Miles

Duration: 6.5 Hours

Price: $82-$99 (includes lunch)

Age: 7+ years

Weight Range:60+ Pounds

Intensity: Beginner

This guest favorite combines a scenic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad train excursion with a Nantahala River rafting trip. Learn More