The Nantahala River starts with the convergence of the Laurel and Mooney Branch Falls. It travels several miles picking up other small tributaries and mountain streams before dumping into the Nantahala Lake. It is there where the Duke Power dam regulates the flow creating a White Water Rafting Paradise. The picture on the right was taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway just a short drive from the Nantahala River Gorge. This is a beautiful place, and photographers from all over stop here to drain their batteries, taking home shots of this beautiful area.
The Nantahala River is a Class I, II, and III White Water River. The USDA Forestry Service “Minimum Weight or Age Restriction” for the Nantahala River is: You must weigh at least 60 pounds or be at least 7 Years of age. The full river trip on the river is 8 and one half miles long and lasts about 2-1/2 hours. All equipment, boat, life vest, paddles, instructions, and shuttle are furnished. All you need to do is show up and be ready for some great White Water Action. The river is generally 48 to 55 degrees year around, so you’ll definitely get a thrill when the water comes splashing in over the sides of the boat.
The Nantahala River is Dam controlled. We have scheduled releases that are very reliable all year with the exception of two or three weeks in November when maintenance is done on the Duke Power Nantahala River Dam. So you can feel confident when you schedule your trip, you don’t have to worry whether or not the water will be running. We have competent staff that will help you choose the exact trip that will help you have the most successful time on the river. We have several trips that we offer.
First, lets clear up a few things about the Nantahala River. If you have never been White Water Rafting, I’ll just bet you are thinking about ole’ Burt Reynolds and his friends in the movie Deliverance. Well, the Nantahala is not the river they were on, although it is quite famous anyway. So forget the fact that you said that all of those White Water Rafting Enthusiasts are “NUTS”! This is definitely not the trip that you swore you would never be caught dead on. Remember, all you have to weigh is 60 pounds or be at least 7 years old to ride the river.
Although, it is a family friendly river, Olympic contestants from all over the World come here to train and compete in their sport. This river offers everything, and that’s why people love it so much.You can gather your friends and do a “Be Your Own Boss” Self Guided Rental Trip, or go Fully Guided with a Guide in your boat, or a combination of the two. You can choose to have one Fully Guided boat for Mom and the Kids and Dad and the others can take a “Be Your Own Boss” rental trip. Generally a guided trip requires a boat of at least four. (See our Rates Page for details). Or, you can split up and get one of our (Duckies or Funyaks) and venture down the river all by yourself, or team up with one other person for a “Double Duck” trip, or two others for a “Triple Duck” trip.
You are not required to wear helmets, although we have them if you want to wear one. This river is the most excitement you are able to have before you are forced to have a guide in your boat, wear helmets and the rest. So pack your bags and come on out and take a ride with us. We’ll be here waiting to show you a great time.
Depending on “Mother Nature” you will want to bring shorts, tee shirt, and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. Sandals are not a great idea because they leave your toes exposed. If you want to wear a bathing suit and T-shirt, that is fine, just remember ladies, the water splashes are cold. Bring a change of clothes for after your trip, and a plastic bag for your wet clothes. Which helps keep your other stuff dry. In the cooler months, you could bring a wool sweater or fleece, a rain type jacket, wool socks, or some other cold weather gear.
Cotton is not what you want on a cooler day. Neoprene Wet Suits, Neoprene Wet Shoes called Booties and Splash Gear are available at the Outpost if the weather turns cold, or you forget to bring a dry change of clothes. We have “Cool” water tight cigarette cases that double for other items, and water tight zip bags to keep your valuables dry. They are pretty handy for anyone who enjoys water sports. We also have water proof Cameras at the outpost for you to remember your trip.
Young and Old alike, including young children at least 60 pounds or at least 7 years old and our Golden Senior Citizens can safely enjoy the river. This is a super trip for family, friends, or any activity group such as Churches, Colleges, Schools, Summer Camps or Boy-Scouts/Girl-Scouts, etc. We have Corporate and small businesses that send their employees here every year for team building and moral boosters.
If you love sports and outdoor activities, this is one activity that I’m sure you will enjoy and will want to return again and again seeking new adventures. If you are a Group Leader and are looking for just a bit more information, keep browsing our site for additional information and don’t forget to download the Group Leader Packet from our groups page to help you start planning your event.
Michael Thomas has written several songs that were inspired by the Nantahala River, and the Paddle Inn Rafting Company. He is a software developer and song writer who lives here now and enjoys getting out on the river. Here is a song that he wrote about the the Campground and the Paddle Inn. It is called “Let’s Go Rafting At Paddle Inn“. The file is about 3 megabytes, so if you have fast access, enjoy. It is an mp3 file. The words to the song are on his site here.
He has also written a song about the Nantahala River that includes all of the names of the rapids, and is well known throughout the Gorge. Especially liked by the Raft guides along the river. It is called “Call of the Nantahala River“. The file is about 4 megabytes, and the words to the song can be found here.
We also have a cute line dance song that Michael has written that we use when we get busy, and we entertain the customers while we get the last boats tied down for the trip. It is called “We’re Strokin“, (2 megabytes) and the words are really simple, and can be found here. Come and show us your version of the Line Dance.