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Bryson City NC is a small, friendly town located west of Asheville on the banks of the Tuckasegee River on the “quieter side of the Smokies.” The “quieter side” being the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – away from the busy tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Bryson City is the county seat for Swain County, which has a total population of just 12,341 for the whole county. This beautiful little mountain town is within the Nantahala National Forest, near Fontana Lake and the Cherokee Indian Reservation and boasts spectacular mountain scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. The Nantahala River, located in the National Forest, is considered to be one of America’s top whitewater rafting spots, with crystal clear water and swift currents. Half of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in North Carolina, which surprises some people who associate the Park mostly with the state of Tennessee. The half that is in North Carolina is mostly in Swain County. Popular areas in this side of the park include Deep Creek, Lakeview Drive (The Road to Nowhere,) Mountain Farm Museum, Smokemont, Clingmans Dome, Mingus Mill, Cataloochee Valley and the north shore of Fontana Lake. The southern leg of the Blue Ridge Parkway is also located in Swain County. The area around Bryson City offers some of the best waterfalls in the Smokies, including Juneywhank, Toms Branch and Indian Creek Falls. There are dozens of other smaller falls that cascade down the mountains and tumble over rocks and hillsides into the creeks and streams below. Outdoor activities abound here, hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing – and nothing beats a hot summer day spent tubing in Deep Creek.

A visit to Bryson City seems to take you back to a simpler, less-complicated time, when people gathered to talk in the local café, or sat on their front porch, waving to the passersby. It’s a quiet, restful town in a gorgeous natural setting, away from the congestion and crowds. Locals welcome tourists to their town and an abundance of amenities are available that cater to their needs - such as eateries. The variety of restaurants in Bryson City is great, for such a small town, serving everything from hearty southern-style breakfasts to Mexican food. You’ll even find “Aunt B’s Donut Shop” in Bryson City. Accommodations are also abundant, quaint cabins and cottages, bed & breakfasts, country inns, hotels and motels. Bryson City is an easy day trip to the city of Asheville, Gatlinburg, the Joyce Kilmer Forest, Cherohala Skyway, Chimney Rock, Cades Coves and a whole list of other exciting and fascinating places. There are not many places where you can ride a historic steam-powered train, experience the culture of the Cherokee Indians, go tubing lazily down a crystal-clear creek, whitewater rafting in a Class II River and visit one of the country’s most popular, scenic National Parks – all in the same week. In Bryson City, you can do just that.


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