Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF)

Date: September 28 - 30, 2018

Time: 8 am - 9 pm

Price: Free

Age: All Ages

NOC's Guest Appreciation Festival is our way of saying "Thank You" to you! We have something for everyone. Snag the best in outdoor gear and apparel at stunningly low prices from our new and used gear sale with names including The North Face, Chaco, Dagger Kayaks, KEEN and more. Boaters, take advantage of our free shuttles for the Cascades and Upper Nantahala recreational releases. Discover a new craft from one of our vendors. Join in on the fun with our family-friendly riverside games and activities including giant jenga, face painting, and more! Or, dance the night away to live music on the banks of the Nantahala River. This year we will also be hosting Mountainfilm for their 2018 tour! Come out Friday night for over two hours of the latest adventure films, and leave inspired and ready for your own adventure! It's a weekend of incredible sales, whitewater, outdoor fun and gratitude! See you there. 

Event Highlights:

  • Mountainfilm Tour- FREE Outdoor Adventure Film Festival
  • NOC Used Gear Sale
  • Guest Gear Marketplace
  • New Gear Deals at the Outfitter's Store
  • Rafting, Ziplining, Aerial Adventure Parks & more!
  • Activities for the kids - including Treetop Adventure Nets
  • T-Shirt Design Contest - get more information here
  • And MORE - Keep an eye out for additional 2018 GAF Updates on entertainment, sales, and information for vendors
Friday, September 28 Time Location
Schedule of Events
Vendor Used Gear Sale 8 am - 6 pm Outfitter's Store & Main Parking Area
Live Music: Scott James Stambaugh Band 4 - 6:30 pm Adventure Deck Main Stage
The North Face Gear Raffle- benefitting NRC 6:30 - 7:30 pm Adventure Deck Main Stage
Mountainfilm On Tour: Outdoor Film Festival 7:30 - 10 pm Adventure Deck Main Stage
Saturday, September 29 Time Location
Guest Marketplace: Used Gear Vendors & Artisans 8 am - 6 pm Outfitter's Store & Main Parking Area
Reptile Show: with Steve Longnecker 11 am - 12 pm Welcome Center
Magic Tom, Street Performer 11 am - 3 pm Adventure Deck Area
Macon Faces, Face Painting 12 - 3:30 pm Adventure Deck Area
GAF Slalom Race 12:30 - 1:30 pm Bridge Gates Slalom Course
Reptile Show: with Steve Longnecker 1 - 2 pm Welcome Center 
Live Music: Christina Chandler 3 - 6 pm Adventure Deck Main Stage
Live Music: Pioneer Chicken Stand 6:30 - 9:30 pm Adventure Deck Main Stage
Paddle with the Pros: with Eric Jackson & Clay Wright of Jackson Kayak 7:15-8:45 2013 Hole


Saturday, September 29 Time Location
Slalom Race Schedule
Registration ($10 donation suggested) 9 am - 12 pm Bridge near Subaru Chair
Competitor Meeting 12 pm NRC Tent
Race STARTS 12:30 pm Founders Bridge
Race Results, Awards & Raffle 4 pm Big Wesser 

Vendors: Guest Marketplace (Used Equipment), Artisans & Non-profits

Each year at GAF, NOC allows guests to set up booths selling used sporting equipment. Local artisans and non-profit organizations are also invited to set up booths to sell handmade crafts or talk about their cause. These spaces fill up very quickly, click on the link for either vendor or artisan application below to complete the form and guarantee your spot!

Artisan Spaces FULL
Vendor Spaces FULL


Parking & Shuttle Information

With such great sales and fun events, we expect a crowd! We want everyone to come and go as they please so we are opening 2 shuttle lots with free shuttles all day through the weekend.  We expect the heaviest crowds on Saturday morning and early afternoon. Please note: Every year a few GAF guests are ticketed or towed for parking in unauthorized locations along US 19/74 and Silvermine Rd. Local law enforcement will be out in force, so please make every effort to park safely.

Parking Shuttles:

Check back for updated 2018 information

Boater Shuttles:
As always NOC will offer boaters who park at the put-in a free shuttle back to the top in exchange for helping us with GAF parking efficiency. These shuttles will run until 4pm. To access a shuttle, take out at NOC and check in with the Adventure Center deck staff.

Cascades and Upper Nantahala Release Shuttle:
The Cascades and Upper Nantahala River will have releases on Saturday and Sunday. Free shuttles will begin at 9:30am and run until 4pm to both the Cascades put-in and the Upper Nantahala put-in, compliments of NOC. Park at the Wayah Road USFS put-in or in the large lot directly across the street. 


Over 21 Wristbands: please be aware that anyone drinking an alcoholic beverage on NOC property during GAF must be wearing a day-specific colored wristband. Law enforcement will be present and enforcing this regulation.

Unauthorized Gear Sales: Anyone setting up a used gear booth must be registered in the used gear marketplace. No booth set up or sales in parking lots or other unauthorized areas.

No Unauthorized Camping: There will be no camping allowed in any of the parking areas or in unauthorized zones on NOC property.

No Unauthorized Parking: There will be remote parking areas with continual shuttles in addition to on-campus areas. DO NOT PARK ALONG HIGHWAY. 


Nantahala Outdoor Center's main campus, the Nantahala River Outpost is located in far Western North Carolina on US Highway 19. 12 miles from Bryson City and on the south side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the outpost is nestled in the Nantahala Gorge. If you are on a Rapid Transit rafting/train excursions, the meeting place is in Bryson City at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot.

From Asheville, NC: Take I-40 West towards Knoxville, TN. Take exit 27 onto US 74 West towards Waynesville. Stay on 74 West, the outpost is 50 miles down this road. 8 miles past Bryson City, the 4-lane will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, the left lane. You will enter the Nantahala Gorge and after 5-miles you see the Nantahala River and NOC's Nantahala Outpost.

From Gatlinburg, TN: Take 441 South through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and through Cherokee. Just past Cherokee, get on 74 West. After 15 miles, the road will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74 W, the left lane, and continue the 5-milts to the NOC Nantahala Outpost.

From East Atlanta: Take I-85 North to I-985 North. At Gainesville, take 365 North to 441 North. Just past Dillsboro, NC, 441 merges with US 74. 8 miles past Bryson City, the 4-lane splits into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, the left lane. Continue 5-miles and arrive at the NOC Nantahala Outpost.

From West Atlanta: Take I-75 North to I-575 North. I-575 becomes State Hwy 5, and then Hwy 76. Stay on this road until Blue Ridge, GA where you turn left onto Hwy 60 towards Mineral Bluff, GA. In Mineral Bluff, turn right onto Hwy 60 Spur. Follow it into North Carolina to US 74 East, turning right towards Murphy and Andrews when the road ends. Stay on 74 East, NOC's Nantahala Outpost is 20-miles past Andrews. You will follow the Nantahala River for the last 8-miles.

From Chattanooga, TN: Take I-75 North towards Cleveland, TN. Take the 1st Cleveland exit, the US 64 Bypass Exit. Go 6-miles and take the Ocoee Exit onto US 64 East towards Murphy, NC. In Murphy the road number changes to US 74. Stay on 74 East, NOC's Nantahala Outpost is 20-miles past Andrews. You will follow the Nantahala River for the last 8-miles.