Founded in 1972 by Payson and Aurelia Kennedy and Horace Holden, Sr. and known in its early years primarily for Nantahala rafting and Nantahala kayaking, The Nantahala Outdoor Center has evolved into one of the most respected whitewater rafting outfitters in the country with trips on some of the southeast’s top whitewater rivers. Located in western North Carolina on the Nantahala River in Nantahala Gorge, the NOC is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Appalachian Trail passes directly through the NOC crossing the Nantahala Gorge on a bridge next to the outfitter.
Nantahala Rafting on Rivers in NC, TN, and GA
Whitewater rafting rivers where NOC conducts operations including rafting and gear rentals. Rafting usually cover 5-10 miles and last 2.5 to 8 hours
- Nantahala Rafting on the Nantahala River. Bryson City, North Carolina.
- Chattooga River Section III. Clayton, Georgia. View an interactive Chattooga River Map that shows all of the named rapids in Sections II and IV of the river.
- Chattooga River Section IV. Clayton, Georgia.
- Pigeon River. Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
- Ocoee River. Cleveland, Tennessee.
- French Broad River. Asheville, North Carolina.
- Nolichucky Gorge, Johnson City, Tennessee
NOC on Georgia’s Chattahoochee River
On the Chattahoochee River that flows through Atlanta, Georgia the NOC provides river tubing, sit-on-top kayak rentals, SUP rentals, inflatable kayak trips and river raft rentals.
Zip Lining at the NOC in Bryson City, TN
Nantahala Outdoor Center has 5 different zip line experiences. The signature Mountaintop Zip Line tour extends from ridgeline to ridgeline 600 feet above the Nantahala River. Daredevil zip liners on this course get a 360-degree view of Nantahala River Gorge and Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Combine Nantahala rafting with zip lining on one of the NOC zip lining courses
Other Outdoor Experiences in North Carolina
- Fontana Lake Tours. Tour Fontana Lake with an interpretive guide (Bryson City, NC)
- Rent a kayak, canoe or SUP on Fontana Lake (Bryson City, NC)
- Rent a mountain bike to ride the Tsali trail system or the Flint Ridge Trail (Bryson City, NC)
- Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad (Bryson City, NC)
- Hike the Great Smoky Mountains with a guide
- Hike to Nantahala Gorge waterfalls with a guide
Courses, Lessons, and Training in Bryson City, NC
- Learn to kayak and canoe at the NOC Paddling School
- Learn rescue skills for whitewater paddling situations
- Learn wilderness survival skills
- Learn wilderness medicine
- Learn to be a professional river guide
Read More about Nantahala Outdoor Center