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Nantahala North Carolina –
Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala is the name given long ago to this corner of the Smokies by the Cherokee Indians as they hunted and traveled the steep Nantahala River Gorge. They learned the sun would only light their way when it was Nun-da-ye-li - Nantahala - "a noonday sun".*

Nantahala Lake provides the serenity many anglers enjoy due to the low numbers of boaters. Located high above the Nantahala River Gorge at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level this lake is regulated and maintained as a Duke Power Company Lake. North Carolina Trout Fishing, North Carolina Bass Fishing and a variety of other North Carolina Lake Fish include walleye, crappie, and sunfish. The variety of fish provide the angler with a never ending challenge of finding their "perfect catch."

Located below the lake and flowing into the Nantahala Gorge, The Nantahala River creates a stunning cascade of North Carolina Waterfalls and North Carolina White Water. The gorge is one of the country's prime white water rafting rivers. It is an eight miles stretch of waves and swift current bringing exciting adrenaline pumping experiences you won't soon forget as you experience Nantahala River Rafting. The entire trip down the Nantahala River takes a little over three hours and is almost consistently a Class I and Class II rapids River in NC. The river also is one of the South's most celebrated trout-fishing waters, especially the Wayah Road and Old River Road areas. 

The Nantahala Gorge has been chosen as the site of the 2013 International World Freestyle Kayaking Championships. Up to 500 paddlers from 40 to 50 countries and spectators will flock to the gorge September 2-8, 2013.

Nantahala National Forest was established in 1920. Of the four National Forests in North Carolina it is the largest containing 133,894 acres and boasting elevations as high at 5,800 feet and a low of 1,200 feet above sea level. It is home to many of the most beautiful and scenic western NC waterfalls and the last part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway (a 61.3 mile drive that winds through southern Appalachia) travels through this majestic area. 

If you're looking for some great Smoky Mountain Fun, then you've come to the right people at "Stay And Play In The Smokies." Our goal is to make trip planning easy, connecting you with the best of what our region has to offer, making the tourism experience as great as it can be. 

So come enjoy the local lodging ranging from the Nantahala Village Resort and Spa, numerous Nantahala Vacation Rentals, Nantahala Cabins, and even Nantahala National Forest Campgrounds. Whether you are looking for a quiet getaway or an active vacation, Nantahala has it all: Nantahala River Fishing, Nantahala Rafting, Lake Nantahala, Nantahala Camping, Nantahala Mountain Bike Trails, and Nantahala Waterfalls…It’s all here in the “quieter side of the smokies.” 

*Cherokee Translation: 
Garfield Long Jr.
Tribal Linguist, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians