Just a few miles away from Bryson City, the Nantahala River Gorge joins Fontana Lake and other wilderness and natural areas to create a vast recreational paradise!

This heavily forested area is perfect for outdoor activities; including whitewater rafting, canoe and kayaking, waterfalls, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, camping and zip lines.

Rockledge on Fontana Lake meets the Nantahala Gorge by the neighborhood road connecting directly to the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Most of the Upper Nantahala River Gorge is much to narrow and rocky for rafting dropping at a 45-degree angle.  The Upper Nantahala River is rather level and perfect for fly fishing with no loud rafters to chase off the rainbow trout!  The river-waters of the gorge are stocked w/over 6,000 fish March-August.  The fish grow quickly and it’s the only trout waters that permit night fishing in North Carolina! The Upper Nantahala River Gorge is captivating; its beauty is unparallel with a paved road winding along the banks of its crystal white waters coursing through the gorge.

The Cherokee name “Nantahala” means “Land of the Noon-Day-Sun.” The sun only shines across the entire gorge during the noon-hour, the rest of the day there are long shadows along its length on either side.

The Nantahala River Gorge is beautiful the year round.  In the winter you see the elevations of the rocky gorge rising beyond your sight along with layers of ice clinging to jagged rock walls.  In the springtime the white flowers of dogwood bloom in unity before the pink and white ivy, flaming orange azaleas and white and pink rhododendron arranging the constant beauty of nature’s beauty throughout, showering the narrow river passageways in a brilliance of color. When summer arrives mist rises in the early morning from the rushing water throughout this natural rainforest producing a sense of mystery contained within a thickness of green completely lost to the world.  During the fall season the river gorge is blanketed in color set against the translucent sun that shines throughout the gorge at every turn.  Delicate leaves float on the breeze covering the floor of the ancient gorge!