Nantahala River Rafting: Fully-Guided in North Carolina

Distance: 8 Miles

Duration: 3 Hours

Price: $54 - $59

Age: 7+ years or 60+ pounds

Intensity: Beginner

Fully-Guided Rafting Trips in Bryson City, NC

This is our most popular trip allowing you to experience the fun rapids of the Nantahala with an experienced guide to direct and teach your group. The crystal-clear Nantahala River is the perfect family-friendly river. This fully-guided rafting trip allows you to enjoy delightful mountain scenery and playful rapids in the spectacular Nantahala Gorge. Your raft will splash through bouncing waves and spin on fast currents under the guidance of a highly-trained NOC river guide. Occasional calm spots give rafters a chance to soak in the forest, wildflowers and each other’s company. The Nantahala is an annual ritual for thousands of NOC’s families.

NOC provides all the necessary gear and equipment.

What our Guests are Saying:

Guest Testimonials

A Great Experience!!

By: Debbie D.
Pleasant Garden, NC.

My husband and I went whitewater rafting (It was the first time for both of us) with NOC and it was a great experience!! Our raft guide, Fish, was AWESOME!! He kept all of us engaged, laughing and SOAKED equally! We are already talking about the next trip to NOC and the activities we will do. Great campus with food and shopping. We bought our tickets online and had great communication throughout the whole process. Would highly recommend NOC for your next outdoor adventure!

Had a Phenomenal Time

By: Jacqueline T.
Naples, FL

This was my first experience rafting on rapids greater than 0.5 and my husband's first rafting experience ever. From the beginning the staff was warm, welcoming, and put guests at ease through use of humor. This was the highlight of our trip to NC. We had a phenomenal time and look forward to visiting again soon!

Excellent Facility!

By: Vanessa U.
Hialeah, FL

Excellent facility! The organization was superb. From check in, to education, to ending our trip on the river, everything was well prepared and easy to maneuver. Our group consisted of a first time rafter to veteran rafters and everyone had a great time. Our guide, Sam, was a natural! He was competent, gave us lots of info on the river and area as we navigated down the river, he even took us surfing! We will definitely be back, since we didn't have enough time to enjoy the multitude of activities they offer in addition to rafting. Thank you NOC, we came, we conquered, we bought the T-shirt!

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. 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 4.3-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 4.3-miles 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 4.3-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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