What Are The Trip Options

White water rafting nantahala

White Water Rafting on the Nantahala River is our specialty. Our Company is focused on giving you a quality experience at an affordable price.

We offer three types of trips, three lengths of trips, and multiple boat sizes and styles to perfectly fit your group. They are all described here.

Don’t get overwhelmed, it is really pretty simple once you see what we have.

We have a Trip for Everyone, Boats for every level of experience, confidence level and group size. But we stop at the 7/8 man boats because we feel like it is the maximum size boat for this river. Sure we could make a better ROI if we stuffed 10 or 12 to a boat, but, you’d figure it out quickly, and it really would not be fun for anyone.

First Of All, We Offer Three Types Of Trips

  • Fully Guided
  • Guide Assisted
  • “Be Your Own Boss” Rental trips or Self Guided Trips

Then We Offer Three Length Trips

  • Full River Trips 2-1/2 hours (8-1/2 miles)
  • Top to Campground 2 hours (7-1/2 miles)
  • Ferebee Park to the Campground 1 hour (4 miles)

And The We Offer Many Different Crafts For The River

  • Two basic different types (Self Bailing and Regular Rafts)
  • Several Styles of Boats (Rafts, Duckies/Funyaks)
  • All in different sizes: Two sizes of Singles, Doubles, and our “Exclusive and Unique Triple Ducks, plus 2/3 man 3/4 man boats, 5/6 man boats, 7/8 man boats, depending on the size of your group.

Then There Are The Keys To Making All Of This Work!

Three Types Of Trips Offered

(Fully Guided, Guide Assisted and “Be Your Own Boss” RENTAL TRIPS.

Fully Guided:

You will have an experienced River Guide together with you in your Craft. We call this trip our “No Worries Trip”. Our guides will be with you every step of the way. They will entertain you while you take a relaxing trip down the river. Just when you start getting comfortable with your trip, you might here the guide yell, Oh No!…. If you didn’t think that was too funny, you will continue your relaxing trip. If you gave him some strange looks, and a couple of good laughs, your guide will probably step it up a notch or two. We are here to give you a Safe and Fun trip. We let you decide how “much” is Fun!

DO YOU NEED A GUIDED TRIP? Again, we’ll let you decide. If you have never paddled anything before, YES!, by all means! If you look at the river and you are Intimidated, Yes, take at least one guided trip to let you enjoy the river, and learn from the guide how to make the proper adjustments, and how to run the rapids.
It is your “FIRST FAMILY TRIP” down “THIS” river, but you have done some paddling before, and you can at least make the boat go in the direction you want it to go, and do a fairly good job avoiding obstructions. Again, you decide! Is one of you always right, and one of you always wrong? Can you agree to disagree? Who’s going to guide the boat, and if it doesn’t go just right, is someone going to regret it? If Yes, take a Fully Guided Trip. Your spouse and your kids may love you for it. If you are still not sure, but don’t quite fit this category, the Guide Assisted may be your best bet.

Guide Assisted:

These trips are usually associated with larger group trips. Generally there is someone who has had some paddling experience that will proudly guide the boat, and others who want to take the safer route of a fully guided trip. In this case, we put our guides in the boat with the more reserved passengers, and we let the rest of you champs follow along behind us. We’ll show you the runs, and all you have to do is follow us! On larger trips, we have a Lead Boat up front, that I just described, a Sweep Boat in the rear, and a number of other Fully Guided boats divided between.

Our guides will lead the way, be in the middle to help out here and there, and then a guide in the last boat to pick up and keep the group together. It is actually a Combination of the Fully Guided and the Self Guided/Rental Trip.

“Be Your Own Boss” Self Guided Rental Trips:

This is just what it sounds like. We give you all of the equipment you need, instructions for navigating the river, describe running all of the major rapids, and finish up with a Safety briefing that will describe all of the dangers you might encounter on the river, and how to avoid, or deal with them properly. This is the bulk of our business. People come back to the Nantahala River every year for a “Beat the Heat” White Water Rafting Vacation.

They start out with a Guided Trip, then go for the “Be Your Own Boss” Rental trip. We shuttle you to the top, you give us a shout when you come by the Outpost, and we’ll be waiting for you when you pull up to the take-out about 15 minutes later. Generally the Larger Rafts are your first trip, then the smaller rafts, then the Triple, Double and Single Duckies. By the time you get finished with the Ducks, some are back in the rafts, and some are heck bent on climbing aboard the high performance crafts. Your next trip will have you back in the rafts with your friends, and the cycle starts all over again.

Take advantage of our “SECOND TRIP SAME DAY 1/2 Price Special”

Three Length Of Trips For Every Experience Level

Top to the Falls /Full River Trip 2-1/2 hours
Our most popular trip is the Full River Trip. It is 2-1/2 hours of Class I, II, and III rapids on the Nantahala White Water River. You’ll navigate the full river from the put-in past Patton’s run through the Nantahala Falls. If you feel like you want to run the full river, but the Nantahala Falls still sends chills up your spine, pull over at the Scouting Pad just above the falls and hop out. If the rest of the group wants to give it a shot, you are just a short (75 yard) walk from watching them take their best shot at the falls. The take-out is only another 75 yards below the falls, and a nice walk along the river while you can laugh to your hearts content at your comrades, or walk humbly along while you wish you had taken the rest of the trip. If the humble walk is the one you took, I’ll just bet you don’t have to twist any arms to get them to make another run!

Top to the Campground 2 hour trip
You get a mild Class III (Patton’s Run) at the top of the river and take out before running the last 15 minutes of the river that includes the Nantahala Falls, a more technical Class III. You will take out at the Campground directly across from the Outpost. Leave your boat, take your life jackets and paddles, and walk directly across the street back to the Outpost.

Ferebee Park to the Campground 1+ hour trip
This trip is designed for those of you who just don’t know about this White Water Rafting Stuff, but you finally agreed you would go. You can put-in at Ferebee Park, and paddle to the Paddle Inn Campground. There are no Class III rapids on this section of the river, so you get a chance to see if you are ready for more adventure or not. If you feel confident, you can load up and take the full Rental trip, or you can request a qualified Guide for a subsequent trip.

Different Types And Sizes Of River Crafts

2 Types: Self Bailing and Regular Rafts

Self Bailing Rafts have inflatable floors that attach to the sides of the rafts called Tubes. You sit on a combination of the Tubes and Thwarts which look like seats going across the rafts to give the raft it’s stability. The material which attaches the floor to the tubes has holes in it. Water splashes in and it finds its way around the holes around the outside of the floor and flows back into the river.

Regular Rafts sometimes referred to as Bucket Boats have solid material floors. They are not inflated, and do not have holes in them. When the water splashes into the raft, a bucket, or dipper is used to scoop and throw the water out of the boat, back into the river. Quite frequently, it ends up on Dad, Mom, and the kids, and mini water fights are quite common. Some times you pull over to the side of the bank, take a break, and turn the boat over on it’s side and let the water run out. We find that our corporate clients and many of our larger groups like to take the regular rafts because sometimes they require some teamwork to get them turned over and emptied out. It promotes team building and leadership skills, or sometimes identifies that lack thereof! But everyone always gets a kick out of seeing how the guides at the takeout make it seem so easy to do the same thing.

The Regular rafts are the more economical rafts to rent. Since we have designed and produced our own line of Rafts, most of our customers are choosing our new rafts, since there is such a massive difference between the two, but, what ever you need, we have. We will be replacing our old regular raft fleet with our new design very soon.. Stay tuned.

Which should you choose? Well, I really don’t know which one you will prefer, so choose one first, and then take the other, and then you can make up your own mind.

Each come in different sizes/lengths

Generally the smallest of the rafts will hold two to four people depending on their size. Two adults, or Two Adults and two smaller children for the smaller boats.

The 5/6 man boat: It will hold 5 to 6 adults, or children, and if you have non-paddling children, a total of two additional children can be accommodated. (One per each thwart). The 6th adult will sit on the rear of the boat next to the 5th and help guide the boat.

The 7/8 man boat: It will hold 7 to 8 adults, or children and if you have non-paddling children, a total of 3 additional children can be accommodated.

(One per each thwart). The 7th and 8th person will sit on the rear of the boat and both help guide.

Several Styles Of Boats

We have already covered the Rafts. Now we’ll talk about the Duckies or Funyaks.

Duckies are also called Funyaks:

These are best described as inflatable Kayaks, or Canoes. They are all of the Self Bailing type. They come in Singles, Doubles, and Triples. We have the standard stable ducks in these three plus a more sleek high performance Single Duck. They are all paddled with a double bladed Kayak paddle which adds to the maneuverability and stability of the craft. We at Paddle Inn give each person in a Duck the double bladed paddle for comfort, ease and control in paddling.

Some clients who have rafted with other companies use one single and one double paddle because that is what they think they are supposed to do, but we suggest you use two double bladed paddles for the added benefits just described. Yes, they cost more than single bladed paddles, and that’s why most other companies only give you one. We suggest two, but you be your own judge. You will be sitting down at water level, so expect a bit more splashing, and a bit more excitement. We suggest wetsuits for the cooler days while in a ducky. And in the double and triple duck, the person in front gets more wet and needs a wet suit usually.


If you are interested in some of the tips and tricks to properly navigate your boat down the river, take a few minutes to read some of the things that we teach you just before you get on the river. This is not our complete instruction, but you’ll get some goodies here that you’ll want to hear a bit more about before you take off for your first run. It’s all here in our Paddling Tips/Tricks Page.

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