Nantahala River

Class II-III
Adults and kids ages 7 (60 lbs.) and older.

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.

rafting nantahala

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

A guided raft trip on the Nanty is a great introductory experience for whitewater rafters. Most of the river contains bouncy, Class II rapids, with the Class III Nantahala Falls providing a grand finale to the trip.

noc rafting nantahala sm
Rafting Nantahala Falls - Photo: Nantahala Outdoor Center

The river is pushy, rocky, and Nantahala Falls can be a technical challenge for inexperienced rafters. It is highly recommended to do your first run with a professional guide service.

Nantahala River Raft Guide Services
(In and near Bryson City, N.C.)

Activity type
Class I-III+ whitewater rafting

Related Activities
Class I-III whitewater paddling, 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