Nantahala Outdoor Center

With almost 40 years of experience in the industry, the Nantahala Outdoor Center has become a favorite outfitter in whitewater adventures and rafting trips along seven of the Smoky Mountains’ rivers.

Rated “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, the Nantahala Outdoor Center has been taking visitors rafting on the Nantahala, Ocoee, Chattooga, Cheoah, Pigeon, French Broad and Nolichucky Rivers. In fact, for many families, rafting with the Nantahala Outdoor Center is the highlight of their Smoky Mountain vacation.

Upper and Lower Pigeon River Rides – In the Smoky Mountains, they say that just about every spring and stream off the Pigeon River converges into the Big Pigeon River, and the Nantahala Outdoor Center offers rafting trips into both areas. The Upper Pigeon provides a full dose of Class III Rafting excitement and Smoky Mountain scenery in just three short hours. The Lower Pigeon is a wonderful float trip with gentle rapids, swimming holes, and beautiful scenery and is the perfect choice for families with children three and up.

1996 Olympic Whitewater Rafting Center – The Nantahala Outdoor Center’s most exciting trip, however, is their full-day Ocoee rafting trip which takes visitors to the Class IV Ocoee Olympic Whitewater Center, site of the 1996 Olympics. You may even have the chance to meet one of the four center staff members who competed in the 1996 Olympics on the Ocoee. When you get off the river, you will return to the center’s 300-acre Ocoee outpost where you participate in a woodland zip-line, mountain biking, and paintball.

The Nantahala Outdoor Center also features a waterpark, a dining hall, white river paddle classes, and more. With a diverse group of instructors ranging from international expedition team leaders, to biology teachers and primitive skills instructors, the center’s location in Nantahala National Forest offers the best place to learn outdoor skills. You may want to learn from the center’s outdoor experts on Tree-Climbing and Belaying, Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle boarding, and Wilderness Survival Skills; or participate in their Adventure Mud Race, Guided Waterfall Hike, or Guided Mountain Biking tours.