Bryson City, rich in natural beauty, is a quiet country town located in Swain County in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. It has a beautiful natural setting with long range mountain vistas, trout streams, mountain lakes, rushing rivers, waterfalls, lush forests, and a profusion of beautiful native plants and flowers. Swain County is home to the largest portion of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and has long been a popular vacation destination.
Bryson City was created in a county that today is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which contains more than a half million scenic acres and stretches over 88 square miles. It contains some of the highest peaks in the East, many towering over 6,000 feet in elevation. It is one of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern United States, and is the most visited of America's National Parks. Swain county contains over 21,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land that includes the Nantahala National Forest. The 469 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway originates on 700 acres in Swain County and follows the crests of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Smokies in North Carolina to the Shenandoah in Virginia. Four of North Carolina's most scenic rivers flow through Swain County, including the Nantahala, the Oconoluftee, the Tuckaseigee and the Little Tennessee. Swain County is home to a large portion of the 10,230 acre, 30 mile long Fontana Lake with its 238 miles of unspoiled shoreline.
Bryson City and Swain County have become an "Outdoor Adventure Capital" to outdoor adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. The clean cold rushing waters of the Nantahala River provides fun and exciting whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing to happy paddlers in the Nantahala National Forest. The other rivers provide milder whitewater and scenic nature float trips. Fontana Lake provides great fishing, skiing, swimming & water sports. Tsali Recreation Area provides many miles of highly acclaimed, and top rated bike paths and horseback riding paths on U.S. Forest Service land surrounding Fontana Lake. There are numerous hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail, as well as many trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the Nantahala National Forest. Thousands of gemstone enthusiasts come to Swain County for outdoor gemstone mining adventures every season. In addition, Swain County hosts the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad that provides scenic tours to visitors all year long.
Today, downtown Bryson City has a delightful mix of retail shops, restaurants and a variety of other businesses to provide shopping, dining and other services. Visitors can walk along Bryson City's historic streets, browse in a wide variety of retail shops, sample local cuisine in the cafes & diners, and enjoy the charm and friendly hospitality of a small mountain town that has welcomed visitors to this beautiful part of the Smoky Mountains for years.
Bryson City is an easy 15 minute drive east of the Nantahala River Gorge on U.S. Hwy 19/74.