Lessons & Training

Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking Course

Duration: Full-Day

Price Per Person: $130

Dates: Daily, May 23 - September 7, 2020

Location: Bryson City, NC

NOC’s Paddling School instructors have 40+ years of experience dedicated to creating the best learning environment for your first time in a kayak or canoe. This full day course includes the highest quality introduction to whitewater kayaking instruction. A great experience for families with kids as young as 8, each person is provided with professional instruction, high quality gear, and lunch.  Learn basic kayaking skills, including paddle strokes, boat control, and safety maneuvers in Bryson City, NC. After guided practice on the flatwater, your instructors will lead you down an appropriate whitewater river to put your newly acquired kayaking skills to use! Click the “book now” button above to register for this course or call 828.488.7249 for more information or to register by phone.

Course Details

Guest Testimonials

It Was a Blast!

By: Ed A.
Orlando, FL

My daughters (22 and 19) and I took the Intro to Kayaking course. It was a blast, as well as a great workout, and I highly recommend it. The instructors got us into the water at Fontana Lake with kayaks doing wet exits (roll the kayak over and get out) and learning the basics for the river. After lunch at the NOC we went to a 1.5 mile stretch of the Nantahala. We had a great time and learned a lot. The instructors know what they are doing and were always on top of the group. We will be back next year!

Outpost Overview

NOC's 500-acre adventure center is located at the intersection of the Nantahala River and Appalachian Trail. 


Guest amenities include:

  • Outdoor recreation activities including rafting, kayaking, zip lines, and mountain biking
  • Three restaurants, including two on the riverfront
  • Four retail stores, including NOC's flagship Outfitter's Store
  • Rustic cabin and bunkhouse lodging for over 200
  • Terminus for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
  • One mile of Lake Fontana frontage with lake kayak and SUP program
  • Host to over 30 annual events, from world championships to music festivals


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.

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.

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