Nantahala Area Attractions

This is a guide of local information, attractions and activities that are located within easy traveling distance of the scenic Nantahala River Gorge. Some of the things that you may want to enjoy during your stay in addition to the whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River include the Appalachian Trail, Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bryson City and Swain County, Cherohala Skyway, Cherokee Indian Reservation, Cherokee Indian Village, Fishing, Fontana Lake and Fontana Dam, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Mountain Farm and Museum, Nantahala River Gorge, Pigeon Forge, Tsali Bike Trails, Western North Carolina Waterfalls and Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama.

Appalachian Trial

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,174 mile footpath which travels along the ridge crests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Katahdin in Maine. The trail traverses Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Nantahala Family Biking Trips

Enjoy the scenic beauty of the fabulous Nantahala River Gorge in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Ride through thickly forested mountain paths, under lush forest canopies, along bubbling trout streams, on scenic byways that allow panoramic scenic vistas, and long range mountain views.

Biltmore Estate

George Vanderbilt created Biltmore Estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1895 as a retreat for family and friends. The Biltmore House is a magnificent 250-room French style chateau filled with priceless art and antiques. Renowned American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead designed the spectacular Biltmore Estate Gardens. The estate is home to the award-winning Biltmore Estate Vineyards and Winery. The fabulous Biltmore Estate offers over 8,000 acres of forests, farmlands, and rivers.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway provides both stunning scenery and close-up views of the natural and the cultural history of the southern Appalachian Mountains. The Parkway meanders 469 miles and connects the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. There are many overlooks, picnic and camping facilities, hiking trails, and natural and cultural areas for visitors to enjoy. There are many historic structures, museums, folk art centers, visitor centers, and points of interest along the way.

Bryson City and Swain County North Carolina

Bryson City, rich in natural beauty, is a quiet country town located in Swain County in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. It has a beautiful natural setting with long range mountain vistas, trout streams, mountain lakes, rushing rivers, waterfalls, lush forests, and a profusion of beautiful native plants and flowers. Swain County is home to the largest portion of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and has long been a popular vacation destination.

Cherohala Skyway

The Cherohala Skyway is a 36 mile long scenic highway traversing nearly 6,000 foot tall deeply forested mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. The road travels through bith the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest from which its name "Chero...hala" was taken. There is little evidence of civilization from the spectacular views enjoyed on the Cherohala Skyway.

Cherokee Indian Reservation

The Cherokee Indian Reservation is home to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. It is located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina and has been a part of the Cherokee's homeland for thousands of years. Today, Cherokee is the center of the tribe's history and culture and they welcome worldwide visitors to their homeland with activities and experiences for all ages.

Fontana Lake & Dam

Fontana Dam is located in Western North Carolina and is the highest Dam in the Eastern United States. It rises 480 foot high and stretches 2,365 feet across the Little Tennessee River forming the 10,230 acres of Fontana Lake. The Lake stretches 29 miles in length and has 238 miles of unspoiled shoreline. Fontana offers some of the best lake fishing in the Southeast and it provides recreational opportunities for water sports including swimming, water skiing, jet boating and motor boating.

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a popular resort town known as the "Gateway to the Smokies" because it joins the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee. Gatlinburg is known for its resort atmosphere, scenic natural setting, & its great variety of unique shops & restaurants. Visitors stroll the inviting streets of this quaint resort town all hours of the day & night all year long!

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established by Congress in 1934 and is the largest national park in the Eastern United States, consisting of over 500,000 acres of wilderness in the Appalachian Highlands of North Carolina and Tennessee. It encompasses over 800 square miles, and it is the most popular of our national parks with over 9 million visitors per year. The Park offers panoramic views, many miles of unspoiled mountains, lush forests and tumbling mountain streams like those found by the early American Settlers. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for the multitude and the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian Mountain culture.

Nantahala River Gorge

The Nantahala River flows through the scenic Nantahala River Gorge in Swain and Macon Counties in the Nantahala National Forest of Western North Carolina. The 8 ½ mile stretch of the river from the Beechertown Power Plant to Fontana Lake is home to the most popular whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking in the Southeast. In addition to the whitewater sports, the Nantahala River Gorge provides for a variety of additional recreational activities including fishing, hiking, gemstone mining, picnicing, photography, plant and wildlife viewing, bird watching and viewing the popular whitewater sports.

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is a popular action packed tourist town located within easy driving distance to the Nantahala River Gorge. Pigeon Forge grew steadily after the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pigeon Forge has a large variety of dinner shows and music theaters. It is home to the famous Dollywood theme park and the Dixie Stampede Diner Show. It has excellent shopping with its over 200 factory outlet stores in shopping malls.

The Tail of the Dragon

The Tail of The Dragon, a popular motorcycle and sports car road, is famous for its 318 curves in eleven miles. It begins at Deals Gap in North Carolina, winds through the remote and scenic mountain area bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and ends at the Tabcat Bridge in Tennessee. Tour groups from all over the United States, and worldwide come to experience the thrill of "Riding the Dragon".