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NOC: Nantahala Outdoor Center Adventure Resort

Also See: Whitewater Rafting | Nantahala National Forest | Hiking Guide | Appalachian Trail | Wesser Bald Lookout Tower | Mountain Biking | Fontana Lake & Dam | NOC Guest Appreciation Festival | World Freestyle Kayaking Championships | Bryson City | NOC Wilderness Survival School
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Enjoy watching the action on the "beach" of the Nantahala River.

The NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) Adventure Resort in the Nantahala Gorge is paradise for outdoor lovers. In addition to rafting and kayaking on the Nantahala River, you can bike, shop, eat and hang out on the beach! Try stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Fontana, fly on the zip lines, bike and shop at NOC's Outfitter's Store. Located about 75 miles from Asheville (easy trip mostly on a four lane highway), it is tucked along the Appalachian Trail.

Nantahala River Whitewater Rafting
Thousands of people flock to NOC on a busy summer day to kayak or raft down the river. The shimmering Nantahala River offers river rafting through rapids that are mild but exciting. Nantahala rafting features eight miles of practice on easy Class II rapids before splashing through the exciting Class III whitewater of Nantahala Falls. Both guided and self-guided trips are available - either on rafts or ducks (inflatable kayaks). Go to NOC's Web site to book a river trip!

Private boaters are welcome to take out at NOC. Shuttles depart the rafting center for the put-in. For more info on rafting in the North Carolina mountains, see our Whitewater Rafting Guide.

Package & Save
At NOC, there are many options for outdoor adventure. You can also package a zip line tour or other adventure along with your rafting trip and get a discount. Their rafting and train combination includes a three-hour excursion on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour
Zip two miles of lines high above the Nantahala Gorge. This three-hour guided canopy tour offers panoramic views of both Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest. Ten zip lines, including a half-mile zip 350-feet above the creek below, and two observation towers offer excitement and awe-inspiring views. See more details below in box!

NC Mountain Biking
The mountains surrounding NOC offer world-class mountain biking opportunities, with challenging terrain and great scenery. The NOC Bike Shop is a full-service stop for all of your cycling needs, both on and off-road. The Flint Ridge Trail at NOC is a designed specifically for mountain bikers. It features technical riding as well as some rolling single-track. From the Bike Shop, the ride is about 4.5 miles, with a loop at the end. Just minutes from NOC is Tsali Recreation Area, regarded as mountain biking mecca. (See our Mountain Biking Guide.)

Go to NOC's Web site for more.

NOC Whitewater Rafting

NOC Outfitters Store
NOC offers flat water kayak and paddleboard rentals for you to explore Fontana Lake at your own pace. From NOC, paddle up the channel to the lake.

Nantahala River Beach
Hang out on the beach along the Nantahala River (no admission charge). The Appalachian Trail crosses the river via the footbridge.

Nantahala Zip Line

Zip Line Tours
Nantahala Outdoor Center's Mountaintop Zip Line Tours includes a three-hour tour at the Nantahala River with a half-mile-long “Mega Zip” above Townhouse Creek Falls with views of the Nantahala Gorge, Fontana Lake, National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The fully-guided tour (ten riders or less in a group with two guides) features 10 zips with an “above the trees” feel. Some zip lines provide traditional tree-to-tree rides, but overall the experience delivers more mountain-to-mountain experience. Fly almost a half-mile through the air and get up to 350 feet above the forest floor, and the Mega Zip is one of the longest zip lines in the East. Enjoy 360-degree views and see landmarks like Clingman’s Dome and Cheoah Bald. The Mountaintop Zip Line Tour’s location at NOC’s Nantahala River campus provides many options for guests. Raft and zip line packages are available, and all guests enjoy NOC’s pleasant riverside campus and restaurants after their tour. Go to NOC's Web site for tour info and reservations.

NOC Zip Line Adventure Park
At this self-guided adventure park in the trees, soar over 600 feet through the air on the Wesser Zip; then take on a multi-level challenge course as high as 60 feet above the forest floor. Each level features new obstacles: wobbling sky bridges, confusing spider webs, nerve-racking tight ropes and more exciting ziplining. With all these options, you can pick and choose your challenges based on your abilities. The Zip Line Adventure Park also features the latest in continuous auto-belay technology, so you can guide yourself through the course at your own pace. Once harnessed in you stay connected at all times, and you're free to negotiate the challenges ahead. Go to NOC's Web site for more.

 NOC Outfitters Store
NOC Bike Shop
Shop at the NOC Outfitter's Store and Wesser General Store
Big Wesser BBQ
Big Wesser BBQ
River's End Restaurant
River's End Restaurant

NOC Restaurants on Nantahala River NC
River's End: Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at this longtime favorite, with a menu that includes chicken biscuits to hand-pattied veggie burgers and their all-time favorites—sherpa rice, the big wesser burger and the cool jewel.

Big Wesser BBQ & Brew: This open air cafe offers quick and convenient food riverside with a great outdoors deck to watch the river action. Enjoy live music every weekend night, May thru September.

Relia's: Overlooking a tiered garden of flowers and herbs, Relia's offers a mountain dining experience that is unforgettable. Choose from steak to trout, and all of the fresh, seasonal sides that our chef prepares to perfection.

NOC Nantahala River

NOC Nantahala Adventure Resort 2014 Special Events
Go to NOC's Web site for more.

Bank of America US Open
March 22-23, 2014
: Elite level slalom and wildwater racing returns to the Nantahala River. Come out to support America's top paddlers in one of their final race leading up to the US Team Trials. The US Forest Service viewing platform offers great spectator access to the races, allowing fans to get right up close to the most dynamic part of the course.

Appalachian Trial Founder's Bridge Festival
April 3-5, 2014: Jamboree features outdoor adventure-themed film screenings, a vendor village staffed by industry representatives, gear repair, a trail maintenance trip and phenology training session with the Appalachian Trail Concervancy, plus product giveaways, door prizes and live music. Read more about it.

Smoky Mountain Relay
April 25 - 26, 2014:
Join NOC as we support an epic running adventure! Teams of 12 runners race 205 miles from North Mills River, NC to finish at NOC - an accomplishment to celebrate.

NOC Spring Fling & Demo Days
April 26-27, 2014:
Come out and be a part of World Kayak's Hometown Throwdown, race in the Boater Cross or push your skills on the Nantahala Cascades. Don't forget to check out the season's hottest gear (with free test paddling) at the NOC's Outfitter's Store, plus, enjoy free live music and local brews at Big Wesser BBQ + Brew. Read more about Demo Days & Spring Fling.

NOC's Summer Music Series
May-September 2014:
Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer, jam out to great regional bands at NOC's outdoor, riverside Pourover Pub. Enjoy our fine selection of local craft beers, good food, and good company as NOC hosts more live music than ever before.

Bike Trials Nantahala Open
June 14, 2014: Bike Trials are a dynamic, agility-based biking competition. This spring, top athletes from across the region will be facing off in the Nantahala Gorge.

ACA Open Canoe Downriver Nationals
June 17-19, 2014: Join whitewater canoe enthusiasts from around the country for three days of canoeing and camaraderie on the Nantahala River.

World Kayak Hometown Throwdown #2
June 28, 2014: Enjoy a day of camaraderie, whitewater, and good old-fashioned fun at this free, beginner-friendly freestyle event hosted by World

NOC's Canoe Club Challenge #1
June 29, 2014: Welcome paddlers of all stripes! Social, beginner-friendly races encourage you to meet friends, get your heart rate up, and improve your kayaking to boot.

NOC's Sizzling 4th of July
July 4-5, 2014: When summer gets HOT, make a splash in the Nanty! Celebrate the 4th with live music and specials. Cool off with a raft trip down the Nantahala or a lake kayak tour on beautiful Lake Fontana. Take a kayak class and learn something new from our award-winning instructors. NOC also offers bike rentals, convenient access to hiking trails, and plenty of onshore entertainment with live music at Big Wesser BBQ + Brew. Plus, thrillseekers won't want to miss NOC's new Mountaintop Zip Line Tour.

NOC's Canoe Club Challenge #2
July 19, 2014: Welcome paddlers of all stripes! Social, beginner-friendly races encourage you to meet friends, get your heart rate up, and improve your kayaking to boot.

World Kayak Hometown Throwdown #3
July 20, 2014: Enjoy a day of camaraderie, whitewater, and good old-fashioned fun at this free, beginner-friendly freestyle event hosted by World Kayak.

Lake Fontana Paddle Grapple
August 1-2, 2014: Don't miss this first-annual SUP / Surfski race on beautiful Lake Fontana. Participants can choose the distance and class that best fits their personal paddling goals.

NOC's Canoe Club Challenge #3
August 17, 2014: Welcome paddlers of all stripes! Social, beginner-friendly races encourage you to meet friends, get your heart rate up, and improve your kayaking to boot.

World Kayak Pro-Am
August 23, 2014: Paddlers! Come out to the Nantahala for a unique opportunity to have fun with your friends, compete with the pros and help raise money for First Descents.

Guest Appreciation Festival & Gear Sale
September 26-28, 2014:
NOC thanks our loyal guests for another great year with this weekend festival featuring unbelievable discounts on outdoor gear and gifts, live music and entertainment for the whole family, as well as food and beer specials. Expect plenty of kid's activities, contests and games, as well as on-the water competitions and adult-only treats like beer-tastings dance parties into the night. Read more about the NOC Guest Appreciation Festival.

NOCtoberfest
October 25, 2014:
Weekends in October, enjoy indian summer at NOC with a german-style beer garden set on the bank of the Nantahala River. We'll be serving up seasonal treats, craft brews, and plenty of crisp mountain air. Bring the whole family for a day-long celebration featuring the Flint Ridge 5-Mile Trail Race, pumpkin decorating, costume contest, and of course The Great Pumpkin Pursuit, the most hilarious kayak treasure hunt ever to haunt the Nantahala.

ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships
September 2015:
NOC welcomes the biggest kayak festival of the year as elite freestylers from around the world converge on the Nantahala to vie for the title of World Champion. But the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships aren't just about kayaking. Spectators can expect interactive educational activities for children and teens, Appalachian Heritage Festival featuring renowned local artisans and musicians, and plenty of contests, races and activities open to spectator participation. Saturday (Sept 7) is the biggest day with the finals. As for rafting, all NOC activities (rafting, zip line, etc.) will be running as normal. The event is free to watch, but parking fees will apply and includes a shuttle. Read more about World Freestyle Kayaking Championships.

Outdoor School Courses
Since 1972, NOC has been leading courses in whitewater kayaking, whitewater canoeing and river leadership. Over the year's they've grown to become one of the most convenient, comprehensive destinations for learning in the outdoors. At NOC, your learning is guaranteed by almost 40 years of experience as a leader in the outdoors. They are the top school for kayak instructors and raft guides, and a destination for backcountry leaders to get wilderness medicine certification. Go to NOC's Web site for more.

Kayak Instruction: Recognized by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Outside magazine, NOC offers complete weekend or week-long clinics for beginners through advanced paddlers.

SOLO Wilderness Medicine: NOC has teamed up with SOLO to offer courses ranging from the basic Wilderness First Aid (WFA) through Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT).

Canoe Instruction: A classic way to get outdoors and explore the river, NOC leads solo and tandem workshops for canoe paddlers of all levels, beginner through advanced.

River Leadership: At NOC, you can enroll in American Canoe Association Swift Water Rescue or a more-intensive River Rescue, or get professional-level training in Kayak Instruction and Raft Guide School.

Survival School: Learn to survive almost any situation in the outdoors. NOC's spring Wilderness Survival School is led by four experts in wilderness medicine and backcountry survival.

Nantahala River

Directions from Asheville
(About 75 miles, but mostly four-lane roads) Take I-40 West toward Knoxville, TN. Take exit 27 onto US 74 West toward Waynesville. The Nantahala is located 50 miles down this road. Stay on 74 West. Eight miles west of Bryson City, the four-lane highway you are on will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, which is the left lane. Go another five miles. On the last descent you will see a yellow caution sign on the right indicating you are entering the Nantahala Gorge. Just after the sign you will see the Nantahala River, and NOC's Nantahala Outpost.

Go to NOC's Web site for more.

     
     

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RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide, an insider's vacation planner for Asheville and North Carolina Mountains.
Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2014 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved
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