About NOC

The Nation's Biggest and Best Outfitter

Nantahala Outdoor Center is the nation’s largest outdoor recreation company. Over a million guests visit NOC annually to embark on a diverse collection of more than 120 different river and land-based itineraries, learn to kayak at NOC’s world-renowned Paddling School, travel abroad with NOC’s Adventure Travel program, test the latest outdoor gear and shop at its LEED-certified flagship retail stores or enjoy NOC’s resort amenities such as its three restaurants and multi-tiered lodging.

A privately-held company, NOC is one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina and 22 Olympians, including two Olympic Gold Medalists, have called NOC home. NOC has been recently recognized by The New York Times as the “Nation's Premiere Paddling School,” “The Best Place to Learn” by Outside, and as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure.

NOC guides will lead their 7 millionth guest on a whitewater rafting trip in 2020, and they continue to lead the outdoor industry in professionalism and personal accomplishments. One of NOC's guides is a co-holder of the world record for highest waterfall run in an open canoe and NOC's Master Guide program for veteran staff is unmatched in the entire outdoor industry. This kind of leadership earned NOC the 2012 Outdoor Inspiration Award from the OIA, the leading trade association of the outdoor recreation industry, composed of 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers.

NOC is also the nation's most active paddlesports event venue, hosting the 2013 International Canoe Federation Canoe Freestyle World Championships, the 2015 International Canoe Federation Junior & U23 Wildwater Canoeing World Championships, the 2015 USA Canoe & Kayak Slalom Nationals and a variety of other races and events for top-level athletes, competitive hopefuls, developing young stars and weekend warriors. 


Available through Nantahala Outdoor Center:

  • Whitewater rafting on 8 Southeastern rivers
  • World-class paddling instruction in whitewater and flatwater
  • International paddling adventure travel
  • Shopping for outdoor gear, apparel and souvenirs at the Wesser Outfitter's Store,  NOC Gatlinburg, and NOC at The Grove Park Inn
  • A leadership institute for wilderness medicine and river rescue
  • Fully-customizable group adventure programs
  • 3 distinct restaurants at our Nantahala Resort
  • Guided activities like fishing, hiking, biking and climbing
  • Bike rentals and repairs at our Bike Shop
  • Lodging options for all tastes and budgets
  • Festivals and events throughout the outdoor season

NOC has long been the home to many aficionados, the meeting place for friends and the vacation destination for so many groups and families. NOC has been recognized by various media including Good Morning America, The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure and more. We appreciate these accolades, and we owe it to our dedicated staff of folks who bring their passion for the outdoors to work every day. Don't take our word for it, experience it for yourself, today.

U.S. Forest Service Permit Holder

Nantahala Outdoor Center proudly guides outdoor trips on both private and public lands, and we strive to use recreational resources responsibly. As a USFS permit holder, we are obliged (and pleased) to comply with federal anti-discrimination policies:

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (in education and training programs and activities), age, disability, or retaliation. Guests requiring this information in an alternative format (braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) may contact the USDA's TARGET Center at 202.720.2600. Guests requiring information about this program, activity, or facility in a language other than English, may contact the USDA agency responsible for the program or activity, or any USDA office. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call 866.632.9992. TDD users can contact the USDA through local relay or the federal relay at (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (relay voice users). The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.