Recreation & Area Activities

  • Nantahala Village Riding Stable

    9400 US-19, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA .

    Located nine miles west of Bryson City NC inside Nantahala Village REsort, Nantahala Village Riding Stables offers a fun family friendly horseback riding experience. If you have never ridden before , or have limited experience, we will show you the basic tips and instructions on riding before hitting the trail. Our trails are located in the Nantahala National Forest. Wooded area overlooking Fontana Lake. Cost is $30 per person per hour. We have two restrictions, children must be 5 years of age and we have a 250lb weight limit. To make reservations please call (828) 488-9649.

  • Wildwater Nantahala Adventure Center

    10345 US-19, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA .

    For five decades, the Nantahala river, located in Nantahala Gorge, just west of Bryson City, North Carolina, has been one of the most popular rivers in the entire United States! Families have been coming to the playful, fun Nantahala for generations to experience the wonders and excitement of white water rafting. In fact, generations of world class whitewater paddlers and Olympians have learned how to kayak and canoe on the Nantahala River. The Nantahala River hosted the World Kayaking Freestyle Championships in 2013.


    777 Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC, USA .

  • Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

    45 Mitchell St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA .

    Welcome to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad! Family Fun in Western North Carolina! We are located in the heart of Bryson City, NC at 45 Mitchell Street, just minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  • Fontana Lake

    Fontana Lake, North Carolina, USA .

    Fontana Lake is a reservoir impounded by Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River, and is located in Graham and Swain counties in North Carolina. The lake forms part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the northern border of part of the Nantahala National Forest. Depending on water levels, the lake is about 17 miles (27 km) long. The eastern end is the Tuckasegee River near Bryson City.[1] It has an average depth of 135 feet (41 m) and reaches a maximum depth of 440 feet (130 m), making it the deepest lake in North Carolina.[2] The lake has many inlets into coves and many islands formed from former mountain peaks, especially near the eastern end. As with most dam-impounded lakes, the steep banks are exposed when water levels are low. Many towns were submerged shortly after the creation of Fontana Lake, such as Proctor and Judson.

    Fontana Lake provides the only access into the most remote areas of the National Park, unless visitors undertake a multi-day hike to get there. When the lake is at the normal summer level, a boat may be used to access remote trailheads such as Hazel Creek. From the observation tower on Clingmans Dome, on a clear day the lake can be seen nearly a mile below. While the maximum controlled elevation of the lake (top of dam gates) is 1,710 ft (520 m), the normal Summer surface elevation is 1,703 ft (519 m).[3] NC 28 roughly parallels the southern shore of the lake, and US 19, between Bryson City and Wesser/Lauada, briefly skims an inlet at the extreme southeastern edge.

  • Fontana Dam

    Fontana Dam, NC, USA .

    The tallest dam east of the Rockies at 480 feet, Fontana Dam was was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority in response to an urgent need for electric power during World War II; construction began in 1942 and was finished in just 36 months.

    Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Nantahala National Forest, and deep river gorges, Fontana ranks among the most beautiful dams in the world. In addition to providing hydroelectric power and flood control for the region, the lake created behind the dam on the Little Tennessee River is a popular site for many kinds of outdoor recreation.

  • Tsali Recreation Area

    Tsali Road/ NC Hwy. 28 Robbinsville, NC 28771 .

    The area is named after a Cherokee Indian who once lived in this area. It is designed for camping, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The trails are fast, hard-packed single-track, and they’re well designed and well used. Trails alternate use between mountain bikers and horseback riders on different days; 2 will always be open to mountain biking. There is a $2 trail use fee for one day.

    The parking area has restrooms & an informational bulletin board. There is boat ramp access to Lake Fontana. The 4 long main trails wind along the lake shore and there are several connector trails, gravel roads and extension trails that give options besides the main loops. Three designated overlooks provide views of Fontana Lake & the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other side.Follow the Trail. The Tsali (pronounced “SAH-lee”) Recreation Area’s four-loop trail system has become a popular destination for mountain bikers and horseback riders. It is best known as a challenging mountain bike course.

    • The Right Loop, rated moderately difficult, offers 13.9 miles of single track, with shorter 4- and 8-mile loops possible.
    • The Left Loop, rated moderately difficult, is 11.9 miles of single track with views toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Lake.
    • The Mouse Branch Trail, rated moderately difficult, is 8.7 miles of single track and includes old logging roads.
    • The Thompson Loop, rated moderately difficult, is 7.3 miles of single track.
  • Nantahala River Gem Mine

    12121 US-19, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA .

    Nantahala River Gem Mine is a gemstone mining attraction in which participants find precious gemstones including rubies, emeralds & sapphires.

  • Nantahala Outdoor Center

    13077 U.S. 19, Bryson City, NC, USA .

    The Nantahala Outdoor Center is located in Bryson City and offers river trips on six Western North Carolina rivers. Depending upon the river and skill level, trips can be guided or unguided. The levels are introductory, intermediate, and experienced with the more experienced rides encountering the roughest rapids. Treks average about 2 1/2 hours. No trip allows children under 8 and some do not allow children under 12. All equipment is provided with rental fee. Reservations are strongly recommended.

  • Lake Nantahala

    Nantahala, NC, USA .

    A secret getaway in the heart of the Smokies

    The Nantahala community and Nantahala Lake are located on the western boundary of Macon County, North Carolina.

    The town of Franklin, county seat of Macon County, is approximately 18 miles east and is known for its gem mining, antique shops, art galleries, museums, shopping and fine restaurants. Other nearby towns include Andrews, Robbinsville and Bryson City.

    The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Cherokee Indian Reservation and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are about an hour away.

  • Deep Creek Tube Center

    1040 W Deep Creek Rd, Bryson City, NC, USA .

    For years, generations of fun-loving vacationers have been coming back to Deep Creek to experience the thrill of riding an inner tube down the rapids of this mountain stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

    Tubing Season: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend

  • Road To Nowhere

    Road to Nowhere, Bryson City, NC, USA .

    The Road to Nowhere

    The Road to Nowhere is a quick drive outside Bryson City. Before you go, have breakfast and coffee with the locals at Everett Street Diner or at Mountain Perks, both on the way to Nowhere.

    After breakfast, head straight up Everett Street out of Bryson City and don’t make any turns. On the map, it’s called Lakeview Drive, but the road signs are marked Fontana Road. You’ll pass Swain County High School and eventually see a sign that reads, “You have entered Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” You’ll also see a more intriguing sign: “The Road to Nowhere – A Promise Broken.” The road ends at a barrier with the tunnel beyond.

  • Juney Whank Falls

    Juney Whank Falls, Juney Whank Falls Trail, Bryson City, NC, USA .

    Juney Whank Falls is divided into an upper and lower section. Both can be viewed from the footbridge which crosses Juney Whank Branch at the falls. Together they drop 90 feet from top to bottom. The trail to the waterfall is 0.8 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate in difficulty.

    The stream and falls are said to be named after a Mr. Junaluska "Juney" Whank, who may be buried in the area.

  • Indian Creek Falls

    Indian Creek Falls, Indian Creek Trail, Bryson City, NC, USA .

    Continuing along the Deep Creek trail for approximately one mile, the trail winds up a slight grade to where Indian Creek spills into Deep Creek. Follow the Indian Creek Trail to the right 200 feet uphill to Indian Creek Falls, a high-spirited waterfall that noisily plunges 25 feet to the pool below. A small spur trail leads to the bottom of the falls.

  • Tom Branch Falls

    Tom Branch Falls, Deep Creek Trail, Bryson City, NC, USA .

    Toms Branch Falls is accessed via the Deep Creek Trail, which was one of the first trails constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the newly legislated national park in the early 1930s. The current Deep Creek Campground also served as the site for the Deep Creek Civilian Conservation Corps Camp from 1933 to 1936.

  • Cherohala Skyway

    Cherohala Skyway, Robbinsville, NC, USA .

    43-mile National Scenic Byway from Tellico Plains, Tennessee, to Robbinsville

    Looking for ridge after ridge of forested mountainside with sweeping mountain views as far as the eyes can see; abundant and unobstructed scenic overlooks around every corner; world class hiking trails, refreshing waterfalls and scenic overlooks; a road featured as one of Discovery Channel’s Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North America Some call it the “best kept secret.” We call it The Cherohala Skyway – experience it for yourself.

    The Cherohala Skyway was completed in the fall of 1996 after planning and construction for some thirty-four years. It was North Carolina’s most expensive scenic highway carrying a price tag of $100,000,000. It winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 18 miles in North Carolina and descends another 23 miles into the deeply forested back country of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name “Chero…hala”. The Skyway is becoming well known in motorcycling and sportscar circles for it’s long, sweeping corners, scenic views and cool summer breezes.

    This road enthusiast’s dream connects Robbinsville, North Carolina with Tellico Plains, Tennessee. It can be desolate at night and extremely dangerous in the winter months. There are no facilities other than a couple of restrooms for the entire 41 miles so make sure you have enough gas to make the crossing. There is little evidence of civilization from views that rival or surpass any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • Tail of the Dragon

    Tail of the Dragon, Tapoco Road, Robbinsville, NC, USA .

    Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap with 318 curves in 11 miles: America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road.

    Designated US 129, the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Can you brave it? It’s best to be cautious as the turns are tight, but the Tail of the Dragon is guaranteed to be the ride of your life.

    The nearby Cherohala Skyway is quickly becoming a destination too, with its remote 60 miles of breathtaking scenic mountain highway. The area also has other incredible roads like the Moonshiner 28Foothills ParkwaySmoky Mountain LoopDevils TriangleBlue Ridge ParkwayThe Gambler NC209Diamondback 226, Devil's StaircaseSix Gap North GeorgiaThe Snake US421 and many Great Forest Service Dual Sport and Jeep Roads.