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Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) guides more than 30,000 rafters every year on the Nantahala and six other rivers: the Chattooga, Cheoah (for the more advanced and experienced rafter), French Broad, Nolichucky, Ocoee, and Pigeon. Rates vary depending on the length of the trip and the river; half-day trips on the Nantahala are $50–$55. NOC also rents kayaks, ducks, mountain bikes, and other equipment. The bustling NOC complex on the Nantahala River is virtually a tourist attraction itself, especially for young people, with restaurants, cabins and campground rentals, a zip line, an inn, several stores, a fly-fishing shop, and a stop for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. 13077 Hwy. 19 W, Bryson City, NC, 28713. 800/905–7238. www.noc.com.
Wildwater, Ltd.. With locations in the Nantahala Gorge and in Asheville, as well as in Tennessee and South Carolina, Wildwater, Ltd. offers rafting on the Nantahala, Chatooga, Ococee, and Pigeon rivers. In Nantahala, it also has a zip line and jeep tours and offers "glamping" in yurts. Guided group rafting trips on the Nantahala River are $35 Sunday to Friday and $40 on Saturday; individual guided rafting is $10 more. The Nantahala Gorge canopy tour is $89 for adults. In Asheville, Wildwater operates an "urban" zip line on 125 acres at the Crowne Plaza Resort. Wildwater, Ltd., Almond, NC, 28702. 866/319–8870 toll-free reservations; 828/488–2384 Nantahala. www.wildwaterrafting.com. Nov.–early Apr.