Nantahala River Rafting Whitewater Trips

Nantahala River Rafting

The Nantahala River offers family whitewater rafting trips on the most popular river in the USA! It is fun and exciting, but is family friendly, and does NOT require previous experience. The Nantahala is located in the scenic Nantahala National Forest near Bryson City, North Carolina, and near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Nantahala River has hosted many national and international paddling competitions, including the 2013 Individual Whitewater Kayak Competition. The Nantahala offers almost continuous, fun and exciting class 2 and 3 whitewater on the famous 8 ½ mile stretch of river between the Beecher-town Power Plant and the take out site located just prior to Fontana Lake. This will be your most exciting vacation adventure! You will want to return again and again to raft on the Nantahala with Carolina Outfitters.  Children are required to be 7 years old or 60 pounds minimum, just one or the other NOT both.


Love Carolina Outfitters! We try to go every year and we’ve never had a bad guide. Such a fun experience and great company to choose.

Rachel S.


Nantahala Rafting Trip Types

Nantahala Guided Raft Trip: A guide-in-boat raft trip is one in which a guide is in your boat during your trip down the Nantahala River. He/she will sit at the back of the raft & guide the boat. A guide in your boat can provide the navigation of the Nantahala River and can provide paddling power!  They have information they can share with you about the Nantahala River and the Nantahala Gorge Area.

Nantahala Guide Assisted Raft Trip: A guide assisted trip option is available for larger groups of 20 or more people.  This would include a guide/s in some of the rafts and other rafts in the party with no guide in the boat, and they just follow the guide boats in the trip.

Nantahala Unguided Raft Trip: An Unguided raft trip is one in which we provide all equipment and transportation to and from the Nantahala River, and the rafters go down the river on their own without the assistance of a guide on the river itself. A guide will assist with pre-trip instructions and get you outfitted with life vests, paddles, and boats before you go to the Nantahala River.

Nantahala Funyak or Ducky Trip: A funyak trip is a trip down the Nantahala River in our inflatable kayaks or "duckies". You may choose a one-man funyak or a two man-funyak. These boats are easy to maneuver and they are lots of fun!

Nantahala Trip Times

Trip Times: 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM, and 4:00 PM.

We strongly recommend reservations. Although we welcome walk-ins when space and guides are available, every trip time may not be available every day, and trips and trip times may be available only with reservations. We suggest that you call to reserve as soon as you know what day you want to go.

Please arrive at the raft outpost building 30 minutes prior to trip time. (The raft outpost building physical location is: Carolina Outfitters Rafting, 715 U.S. Hwy 19, Topton, N.C. 28781).

Nantahala River High Water Day

The last weekend in September is our 'High Water Day' trip of the season!  We offer a combo of 2 runs down the Nantahala River with lunch included for only $109.99 per person.  Minimum age is 12 years old for the two high water days. (Normal age for children on the Nantahala is 7 years old or 60 pounds minimum) For those two days Duke Energy will be releasing water in the Upper Nantahala and we will get that extra water in our 8 1/2 mile section of the river that we raft on between the Beecher Town Power Plant and Fontana Lake.  Don't miss this great opportunity for the 'High Water Day' rafting on Nantahala! ($3.00 additional per person for High Water Days)

(Click Here for Nantahala Raft Trip Prices)


We had a great adventure! Tim was an amazing and fun guide! Bill is very knowledgeable about the river and rafting industry. They are professional and friendly. I cannot say enough good things about the experience and the people, the sweet lady behind the counter and the neighbor dog that comes to visit. Of all the adventure places on the river, this is our favorite! And i love my new sweatshirt! We will return!

Rachel P.

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