NANTAHALA AREA LOCAL INFORMATION
Click on each attraction for a full
This is a guide of local information, attractions and
activities that are located within easy traveling distance of the scenic
Nantahala River Gorge. Some of the things that you may want to enjoy during
your stay in addition to the whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River include
the Appalachian Trail, Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bryson City and
Swain County, Cherohala Skyway, Cherokee Indian Reservation, Cherokee Indian
Village, Fishing, Fontana Lake and Fontana Dam, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky
Mountains National Park, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Hiking, Horseback
Riding, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Mountain Farm and Museum, Nantahala River
Gorge, Pigeon Forge, Tsali Bike Trails, Western North Carolina Waterfalls and
Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama.
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,174 mile footpath which travels
along the ridge crests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian
Mountains from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Katahdin in Maine. The
trail traverses Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia,
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts,
Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
George Vanderbilt created Biltmore Estate in the Blue Ridge
Mountains of North Carolina in 1895 as a retreat for family and friends. The
Biltmore House is a magnificent 250-room French style chateau filled with
priceless art and antiques. Renowned American landscape architect, Frederick
Law Olmstead designed the spectacular Biltmore Estate Gardens. The estate is
home to the award-winning Biltmore Estate Vineyards and Winery. The fabulous
Biltmore Estate offers over 8,000 acres of forests, farmlands, and rivers.
The Blue Ridge Parkway provides both stunning scenery and
close-up views of the natural and the cultural history of the southern
Appalachian Mountains. The Parkway meanders 469 miles and connects the
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. There are many overlooks, picnic and
camping facilities, hiking trails, and natural and cultural areas for visitors
to enjoy. There are many historic structures, museums, folk art centers,
visitor centers, and points of interest along the way.
BRYSON CITY AND SWAIN
COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA
Bryson City, rich in natural beauty, is a
quiet country town located in Swain County in the Great Smoky Mountains of
Western North Carolina. It has a beautiful natural setting with long range
mountain vistas, trout streams, mountain lakes, rushing rivers, waterfalls,
lush forests, and a profusion of beautiful native plants and flowers. Swain
County is home to the largest portion of The Great Smoky Mountains National
Park, and has long been a popular vacation destination.
The Cherohala Skyway is a 36 mile long scenic highway
traversing nearly 6,000 foot tall deeply forested mountains in North Carolina
and Tennessee. The road travels through bith the Cherokee National Forest and
the Nantahala National Forest from which its name "Chero
hala" was taken.
There is little evidence of civilization from the spectacular views enjoyed on
the Cherohala Skyway.
The Cherokee Indian Reservation is home to the Eastern
Band of the Cherokee. It is located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western
North Carolina and has been a part of the Cherokee's homeland for thousands of
years. Today, Cherokee is the center of the tirbe's history and culture and
they welcome worldwide visitors to their homeland with activities and
experiences for all ages.
FONTANA DAM AND FONTANA
Fontana Dam is located in Western North Carolina and is the
highest Dam in the Eastern United States. It rises 480 foot high and stretches
2,365 feet across the Little Tennessee River forming the 10,230 acres of
Fontana Lake. The Lake stretches 29 miles in length and has 238 miles of
unspoiled shoreline. Fontana offers some of the best lake fishing in the
Southeast and it provides recreational opportunities for water sports including
swimming, water skiing, jet boating and motor boating.
Gatlinburg is a popular
resort town known as the "Gateway to the Smokies" because it joins the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee. Gatlinburg is known for its
resort atmosphere, scenic natural setting, & its great variety of unique
shops & restaurants. Visitors stroll the inviting streets of this quaint
resort town all hours of the day & night all year long!
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established by
Congress in 1934 and is the largest national park in the Eastern United States,
consisting of over 500,000 acres of wilderness in the Appalachian Highlands of
North Carolina and Tennessee. It encompasses over 800 square miles, and it is
the most popular of our national parks with over 9 million visitors per year.
The Park offers panoramic views, many miles of unspoiled mountains, lush
forests and tumbling mountain streams like those found by the early American
Settlers. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for the multitude
and the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient
mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian Mountain
The Nantahala River flows through the scenic Nantahala River
Gorge in Swain and Macon Counties in the Nantahala National Forest of Western
North Carolina. The 8 ½ mile stretch of the river from the Beechertown
Power Plant to Fontana Lake is home to the most popular whitewater rafting,
canoeing and kayaking in the Southeast. In addition to the whitewater sports,
the Nantahala River Gorge provides for a variety of additional recreational
activities including fishing, hiking, gemstone mining, picnicing, photography,
plant and wildlife viewing, bird watching and viewing the popular whitewater
Pigeon Forge is a popular action packed tourist town located within easy
driving distance to the Nantahala River Gorge. Pigeon Forge grew steadily after
the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pigeon Forge has a
large variety of dinner shows and music theaters. It is home to the famous
Dollywood theme park and the Dixie Stampede Diner Show. It has excellent
shopping with its over 200 factory outlet stores in shopping malls.
THE TAIL OF THE
The Tail of The Dragon, a popular motorcycle and sports car
road, is famous for its 318 curves in eleven miles. It begins at Deals Gap in
North Carolina, winds through the remote and scenic mountain area bordering the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and ends at the Tabcat Bridge in
Tennessee. Tour groups from all over the United States, and worldwide come to
experience the thrill of "Riding the Dragon".
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