Adventure Central: Nantahala Outdoor Center

NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) is renowned in the mountains of both North Carolina and Tennessee as a go-to for outdoor adventure and education. Visitors to the mountains interested in rafting, paddling, biking, survival training, gear shopping, or just a day in a scenic location will want to investigate all that NOC has to offer.
Enjoy rafting, kayaking, and more at the Nantahala Outdoor Center

With outposts on the Nantahala, Pigeon, and Ocoee rivers (and more), the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is able to serve visitors to the mountains no matter where their vacation base might be, though their primary outpost is on the Nantahala River south of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With world-class paddling instruction available on some of the Southeast’s most challenging rivers, NOC is the ideal destination for kayakers looking to expand their horizons. Guided biking and hiking trips on the area’s mountain trails, as well as zipline adventures, will introduce guests to the beauties of the wilderness, and NOC offers group trips for those looking to do some team-building skills or just to strengthen a bond.

A large variety of outdoor education courses are available as well, ranging from wilderness first aid to basic survival; learn how to rescue a paddler from the water, how to build fire with simple tools, how to find and filter water in an emergency situation, or how to use local plants for both food and medicine. These classes are available as group sessions or as private lessons for those interested in designing their own course. All classes are taught by highly experienced outdoor professionals.

The Nantahala Outdoor Center is also a retreat for those simply looking to relax and enjoy the mountaints. Shop for apparel, souvenirs, biking and camping gear, and more at NOC’s on-site outfitter stores, savor a hot meal at one of their many restaurants, or stay the night at a rustic inn. At the Nantahala outpost, visitors can watch river runs as they eat or meander on local trails before returning to their hotel room or cabin. Nearby is the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, a family-friendly venue which offers pleasant rides through North Carolina’s dramatic gorges.

NOC offers lodging for all tastes and budgets as well. Hikers looking to spend a night along the Appalachian Trail can stay at Base Camp at a very low rate, while others might elect to sleep at NOC’s motel. Those in search of luxury lodging should consider NOC’s cabins, which are perched in scenic woods above the river. Wherever guests choose to stay, they will be nestled in the wild woods of the Nantahala Gorge, a long way from the traffic of everyday life.

To learn more about the Nantahala Outdoor Center mission, activities, and lodging, visit their website here.
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