The most popular river in western North Carolina for rafting and kayaking is the Nantahala River, which races through the scenic Nantahala Gorge, a 1,600-foot-deep gorge that begins about 13 mi west of Bryson City on U.S. 19. Class III and Class IV rapids (Class V are the most dangerous) make for a thrilling ride. Several outfitters run river trips or rent equipment. At several points along the river you can park your car and watch rafters run the rapids—on a summer day you'll see hundreds of rafts and kayaks going by.
U.S. 19, beginning 13 mi west of Bryson City, Bryson City, North Carolina, 28713, United States
828-524-6441-Nantahala Ranger District, National Forest Service