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Bryson City NC is known as a prime area for whitewater rafting on the Nantahala, Oconaluftee and Little Tennessee Rivers. The Nantahala River is a Class II/III Rapid River, which means it’s perfect for both beginners and experienced rafters, and also for kayaking trips. Bryson City is also home to Fontana Lake, with the highest dam east of the Rockies. Hiking and biking trails, trout fishing in mountain streams, mountain biking, horseback riding, golf, hiking to waterfalls, or sightseeing on the Blue Ridge Parkway are just some of the other things to do in the Bryson City area. One of the most unique outdoor recreational activities near Bryson City is Deep Creek tubing. Families have been coming for generations to go tubing in the cool, swift waters of Deep Creek. Considered “Nature’s Best Water Ride,” the Deep Creek tubing course consists of the upper “whitewater” section which flows through Indian Creek to the narrow Deep Creek gorge. This section is for the more adventurous because it’s often a swift, bouncy ride, especially right after the spring rains. At the end of the rapids, there’s a wide, deep swimming hole. The other section of the tube course is more easy-going and better for smaller kids (and those who just want a relaxing, lazy ride down the river. There are several places near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance on West Deep Creek Road that offer tube rentals. The following is just a partial list of some of the other unique, fun and interesting attractions in Bryson City:

The Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery in Cherokee, North Carolina has displays and art and cultural items of the Cherokee Nation such as masks, beads, crystals and a gallery of Native American art. The Cherokee Indian Reservation Visitor Center has all the information on all there is to do in Cherokee such as gaming at Cherokee Casino.

The Great Smokey Mountains Railroad offers a Nantahala Gorge Excursion from Bryson City, which is a 4 1/2 hours, 44 miles round trip ride. The train travels to the Nantahala Gorge and back, and offers highlights like the Horseshoe Curve, Fontana Lake Trestle, Tennessee River and the Nantahala River. Passengers ride in comfortable, reconditioned coaches, crown coaches, club cars, dining cars, cabooses, and open cars, which are ideal for viewing and picture taking.

Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smokies at 6,642 feet and the second highest east of the Mississippi (North Carolina's Mount Mitchell is 42 feet higher). From the parking lot, seven miles west of Newfound Gap, visitors can walk the steep half-mile path to the 54-foot observation tower for a 360-degree view of the Park. Sunrises and sunsets at Clingmans Dome are spectacular. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its 2,144-mile journey.

The Oconoluftee Indian Village is a recreated Cherokee Village of the 1750s that presents regular tours by Cherokee guides who present history, crafts, demonstrations of beadwork, pottery, blowguns and more in a beautiful forested mountain setting.

The Road to Nowhere is a scenic mountain highway that takes you eight miles into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ends at the mouth of a tunnel. On the map, it is called Lakeview Drive, but to locals it’s the “Road to Nowhere, a Broken Promise.”


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