Nantahala River

Class II-III

The Nantahala River runs through the Western North Carolina mountains in a shaded gorge, giving it the distinction of being the coldest whitewater stream in the Southeast.

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In the Nantahala River Gorge

Seeing an average of only 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, the water temperature stays around a bone chilling 45 degrees.

The classic Nanty paddling run begins from the Nantahala River Launch Site, near Beechertown, N.C., and ends 8 miles downriver at Nantahala Falls.

A shorter run starts 3 miles downstream at Ferebee Memorial Picnic Area.

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At Nantahala Falls

The river is pushy, rocky, and Nantahala Falls is a challenge for all developing paddlers. It is highly recommended to do your first run with an experienced guide.

American Whitewater Nantahala River Information

NOTE: The Nanty is dam controlled and generally runs 7 days per week, except for November. In drought years, releases can be cut back more.

Duke Energy Nantahala Dam Release Info

Activity type
Class I-III whitewater kayaking, canoeing, standup paddleboarding

Related Activities
Class I-III whitewater rafting, camping, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, road biking

Wesser, North Carolina

Distance from Outdoor Chattanooga
119 miles | 2 hours, 15 minutes

GPS Coordinates to U.S.F.S. Nantahala River Launch Site
(Upper Put In)
35.274189, -83.681140

GPS Coordinates to Ferebee Memorial Picnic Area
(Lower Put In)
35.303376, -83.653121

Google Map

Dates | Hours
Sunrise to sunset
No dam releases in November (December)

Rest Rooms
Yes. Forest Service pit toilets.

Overnight Camping
Nantahala National Forest

Contact Information
Nantahala National Forest
Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 524-6441
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

U.S. Forest Service - Nantahala Gorge

Nantahala River