With over 40 years’ experience, The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has conducted millions of guests on whitewater rafting trips, taught thousands of canoe and kayakers at their renowned Paddling School and numerous other activities from family-friendly trips to action-packed adventures.
It all started on the Nantahala River in 1972. Three friends from Georgia, Payson Kennedy, Aurelia Kennedy and Horace Holden Sr.; decided there was something special about this place, something magical about the river, the hills and the trails
Every year since its founding, NOC has striven to share the wonders of this place, and all the places we raft, hike, pedal and paddle.
After decades of paddling and sharing their passion for the great outdoors here is a short list that “Our world-class staff leads whitewater trips on the Southeast’s best rivers. These include Chattooga River, Cheoah River, French-broad-river/, Nantahala River, Nolichucky River, Ocoee River and the Pigeon River
John G Hall
Charlotte Canoeing Examiner
Chattooga River whitewater rafting offers the mild and scenic Section III and the wild and scenic Section IV, two distinct and memorable river trips. The Chattooga delivers breathtaking scenery and treasured whitewater in an unmatched wilderness setting. NOC has been leading trips on this federally-designated Wild and Scenic River since the company's beginning in 1972.
The Cheoah River challenges whitewater rafters with hydraulics, wave trains and nine miles of exciting paddling. Unique in its features, it is at once a classic, steep Southern creek, then suddenly a warm, wavy ride, similar to big rivers out West. White water rafting the Cheoah River is the perfect challenge for our most adventurous guests.
French Broad River
French Broad whitewater rafting trips take you down the world's third oldest river and is a great activity to add to your Asheville vacation. The French Broad flows through scenic PisFrench Broad whitewater rafting trips take you down the world's third oldest river and is a great activity to add to your Asheville vacation. The French Broad flows through scenic Pisgah National Forest in the mountains of North Carolina, and is ideal for families and young teens. On French Broad River rafting trips, you can expect splashy and fun Class II and III rapids. The full-day trip option adds the percussive, Class IV Frank Bell's Rapid, a river-wide, bouncy drop.gah National Forest in the mountains of North Carolina, and is ideal for families and young teens. On French Broad River rafting trips, you can expect splashy and fun Class II and III rapids. The full-day trip option adds the percussive, Class IV Frank Bell's Rapid, a river-wide, bouncy drop.
North Carolina's shimmering Nantahala River offers river rafting through family-friendly rapids that are mild but exciting. The Nantahala features eight miles of practice on easy Class II rapids before splashing through the exciting Class III whitewater of Nantahala Falls. This is one of America’s most popular whitewater runs!
White water rafting on the Nolichucky River is an experience that challenges rafters with wavy rapids in an impressive wilderness setting. The Unaka Mountains provide an incredible backdrop as you paddle from North Carolina into Tennessee in the steepest river gorge east of the Mississippi. NOC runs the smallest, most intimate rafting trips on the Nolichucky River, allowing you and your group to fully absorb the experience.
Ocoee River rafting means splashy waves and continuous action—that's why we call it the "Ocoee Coaster!" The Middle Ocoee River is the nation's most popular whitewater rafting run, while the Upper Ocoee boasts Class IV whitewater of 1996 Olympic fame. From beginning to end, this east Tennessee river's fast-moving waters will get you soaked, smiling and laughing. The Ocoee is a dam-released river with consistent flows and pleasantly warm water, every Thursday through Monday.
For family adventure, raft Tennessee's Big Pigeon River, near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Pigeon River whitewater rafting features spirited Class III-IV rapids that flow along the eastern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This is NOC's most condensed whitewater experience—a full dose of excitement and scenery in just three short hours. Dam-controlled water releases ensure quality whitewater action Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Unscheduled releases do continue into other months of the year, please call for availability. Make this summertime classic part of your Smoky Mountain, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg vacation!