A Family Favorite Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC
By: Pro staff Nile
The lake lays bight and silver in the bright light of the noon sun. One moment the sound of the rippled water and the soft whispering of the trees is the only sound. On the other hand, one day the waters can be more adventurous. A raft moving rapidly, the water spray constant, and literally, ride out an adventure. One moment you can be hiking, not worried about any destination, but just bonding and welcoming nature.
“All day we were treated as very welcome guests,” said TripAdvisor user Mike L. “The trip on water was great and the zipline portion was superior. Excellent!”
Whether you’re planning a day trip, a weekend getaway, or a weeklong vacation, there isn’t any shortage of activates, attractions, and exploration at Nantahala Outdoor Center.
With over a million guest’s visits, Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in Bryson City, North Carolina, is one of the nation’s largest outdoor recreation companies with a diverse collection of more than 120 different rafting and land-based activities.
Some of these activities include learning to kayak at NOC’s world-renowned Paddling School, rafting, mountain biking, soaring through the trees, and enjoying the view while zip-lining, an educational adventure program, retail, restaurants, and multi-tiered lodging. They also feature rope challenges as high as 60 ft. above the forest floor. Treetop Adventure Nets with a full netted enclosure for children to explore, climb, slide, and navigate through a series of tunnels and pathways overlooking the river.
"My Dad, brother and I have spent many summers visiting NOC to go whitewater kayaking. It is a beautiful area, which is perfect for the whole family. I'm very lucky that my Dad found NOC and brought us some of the best summer time memories you can ask for." said Brett Diaz, HOOK 360 founder.
NOC offers five aerial and zip line adventures. Nestled in the heart of the Nantahala Gorge, NOC's zip lines are a short drive from Bryson City, Cherokee, Andrews, Murphy, Waynesville, and greater Western North Carolina.
Out of 1,156 TripAdvisor reviews, one review from Shelly E said, “I cannot say enough good things about NOC. They took the utmost care to make sure everyone stayed safe not only on the raft but with proper COVID protocols as well.”
Also, 22 Olympians, including two Gold Medalists, have called NOC home. Former NOC president John Burton, who was an owner/operator of nearby Nantahala Village Resort, was a member of the 1972 Olympic slalom team. One of his teammates that year, Angus Morrison, was currently a head guide for Nantahala River Guided Trips. Morrison also competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games as well. Other Olympians include Lecky and Fritz Haller, Joe Jacobi, Wayne Dickert, and more.
NOC has been recognized by The New York Times as the ‘Nation's Premiere Paddling School’, ‘The Best Place to Learn’ by Outside, and as ‘One of the Best Outfitters on Earth’ by National Geographic Adventure.
No matter where you stay, NOC’s lodging offers convenience and exciting outdoor adventures right at your doorstep. One may spend the night in luxury in one of their scenic mountain cabins with a view of tall mountains with the glistening sun behind them, or a landscape that’ll leave anyone in awe.
Located on the banks of the Nantahala River and 20 minutes outside Bryson City, you’ll find NOC's two restaurants.
At River's End Restaurant, you can watch rafters and kayakers paddle by as you dig into your cuisine featuring sandwiches, salads, and burgers. Or you may crave a delicious riverside meal stop by Big Wesser featuring live music on Friday, May thru September. Their menu consists of barbeque, burgers, and river views.
Shelly E’s TripAdvisor comment ended by saying, “All in all everything was just awesome. Every trip leader was wonderful. All of the guides we encountered were helpful and awesome. The whole trip was so great we are going to try and make in an annual thing with more rivers next time.”