A grand view of the mountains and a fine ride down the river. Seasonal May – September, 8-10 Hour Excursion.
The Nantahala River is a great river to ride if you just want to be “cut loose” and on your own. It’s affordable and enjoyable for a couple or a family. The cost is around $15.00 per person. Children must be 9 or older. The trip over is beautiful in that you go via the Cherohala Skyway. The sky way is 42 miles of mountain vistas. You will drive at elevations close to a mile high.
Points of interest:
- Nantahala Gorge
- Take water or other drinks.
- Take layers of clothing. Temperature can be 20-30 degrees cooler in higher elevations.
- Take a camera. (Waterproof. We have them in the gift shop)
- Swim suit, shorts, shirt, dry clothes to change into, towels, aqua socks or old tennis shoes.
- The best way to dress for the river is swim suit, T-shirt, aqua socks or old tennis shoes. If you wear glasses you will need to secure them with a strap. They sell them at the livery.
- If you are cold natured you can rent aqua jackets and aqua booties at the raft livery.
- Make reservations. We recommend Paddle Inn. Phone Number (828) 488-9651. This is not a guided trip. Guides are not necessary on the Nantohala. There are guided trips but they are at least twice as expensive.
- Allow yourself 2.5 hours to get there.
- Sun screen, bug spray.
- Start with a bountiful Whitestone breakfast.
- Depart Whitestone by turning left onto Paint Rock Road.
- Follow Paint Rock Road to Hwy. 72 and turn left.
- Almost immediately you will come to Hwy. 322. Turn right on Hwy. 322 and follow it until you reach Interstate 75.
- Take interstate 75 South to the very next exit. This is Exit 60 and Hwy 68. Turn left on Hwy. 68 and stay on it until you reach the town of Tellico Plains. The distance is around 25 miles. You will see signs leading to Cherohala Skyway.
- Tellico Plains is an old community, at one time a Cherokee Indian village. This area abounds with Indian history;, as this was once part of the Cherokee nation. There was a lot of logging in the surrounding mountains and Tellico Plains had time several sawmills. Stokely Van Camps had a large farm and canning facility here.
- Begin on Hwy. 165 from Hwy. 68. You are now on the Cherohala Skyway. Soon you will see the Tellico River on your left. You will stay on the Skyway until it ends.
- Eleven miles ahead is an area called Indian Boundary. (Old Indian reservation boundary) There is a wonderful lake there with a sandy beach, bathhouses, a picnic area and a three-mile trail around the lake. This is a US Fee area. A nominal entry fee is charged. Save this for the trip back if time permits or for another day. It’s great place for a day outing.
- From Indian Boundary you will start to gain elevation. Just a short way up the road there is a fine overlook on the right. There are restroom facilities there. Don’t use up all your film. You will have many more Kodak moments.
- Enjoy the ride ahead. There are many scenic overlooks and picnic areas. You are now approximately 8 miles from the NC border. When you cross into NC the Highway changes from 165 to 143. It’s 20 more miles to the end of the Skyway.
- The Skyway ends at Snowbird Mountain. Turn right onto Snowbird Mountain Road. Follow this road into Robbinsville, NC.
- In the town of Robbinsville pick up Hwy. 129 South. Robbinsville is a small little mountain town. It’s hard to get lost. Follow 129 South to Hwy. 74. Turn left on Hwy 74.
- In about three miles you will pass the river launching area. Do not stop here. Continue on Hwy. 74 for another 4 miles. If you have chosen the Paddle Inn for you ride, it will be on your right. There are several liveries along this road. By now you should be excited seeing the river on your right.
- Check in / sign in at the desk. They will issue to you a raft and equipment. You will be given instructions and then hauled to the river access area.
- It’s about a three-hour trip down the river. At mid point there are snack places selling pizza and Bar B Que. It’s good. Take some money with you in the raft.
- The livery will be waiting for you at the end. They will haul you back to the concession. There are showers and dressing rooms. (Showers are $1.00 for five minutes; metered, take quarters)
- Enjoy your trip back. Time permitting stop at Indian Boundary or a Bald River Falls.
- If you have reservations, we will see you for dinner at 6:30.