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The Nathahala River

A hiker following the Appalachian Trail near Rattlesnake Knob might easily step over the headwaters of the Nantahala River with hardly a notice. But as it descends from an elevation near 3500 feet, the Nanny grows into a legendary trout stream. And after resting for a while in Nantahala Lake, the Nanny continues to cascade more than a thousand feet into the deep gorge below.
      It’s there that the fun begins. For the next eight miles, the Nantahala River takes kayakers and rafters on one of the most scenic whitewater rafting journeys in North Carolina. The water is clean and cold, and the Class II and III rapids provide excitement for paddlers of all experience levels. 

      One of the oldest rivers in the world, the Nanny has taken centuries to carve out a canyon so deep that many parts see limited sun, which explains why the Cherokees named it “Nantahala” — land of the noon-day sun. 
      Because it’s a dam-controlled river, the Nantahala is a dependable source of whitewater rafting adventure. Each day the water is released on schedule from Nantahala Dam, some 15 miles upstream. The water is pulled from the bottom of the 250 foot deep lake, which guarantees refreshingly cool water, even in the heat of summer.
      It’s no wonder that Nantahala river rafting is the most popular whitewater rafting in the North Carolina mountains.