Nantahala Gorge and Bryson City, USA
The Nantahala Gorge is located in Swain County, 13 miles outside of the county seat: Bryson City, North Carolina. Named among the top 10 paddling towns in the nation, Bryson City is nestled at the foot of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the United States, and famous for the mist that settles in its valleys as well a rich biodiversity of vegetation and wildlife. The area is a popular tourist destination, and is renowned for a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities including rafting and paddlesports, biking, zip lining, rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and camping.
The region is also rich in cultural and historical significance. An important tribal area for the Cherokee people, many rivers, mountains and other landmarks still bear their Cherokee names. The word Nantahala, for example, means “Land of the Noon-day Sun.” Today, Cherokee arts and crafts, as well as other traditional crafts, can be found throughout the region. Information regarding various cultural attractions can be found on regional Chamber of Commerce pages, of which a directory can be found at: http://www.greatsmokies.com/
For those looking for some contemporary culture, Swain County offers numerous restaurants, bars, artist’s studios and galleries. Live music, including the traditional bluegrass that the area is known for, is scheduled nightly for the week of the event at multiple locations.
Swain County Area: 541 sq. miles (1,400 km2)
Population: 12,968 (as of 2000)
Time Zone: North Carolina is located on the east coast of the United States, and is in the US Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST). EST is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-5). During the summer months, when daylight savings time is observed, EDT is moved one hour forward, while GMT remains the same (GMT-4).
Bryson City elevation: 1736 feet (529 m)
Highest Point in the County: Clingmans Dome, a popular tourist destination, has an elevation of 6,643 feet (2024.8 m)
Climate: In July, daytime temperatures will rarely exceed 90°F (32°C), and will usually fall into the 60s (16°C) at night. This is typically a dry month often peppered with strong, late afternoon thunderstorms.
Telephones: The international dialing code for the United States is +1 (or 00 1). Emergency calls within the United States dial 911.
Healthcare: There are a number of public healthcare facilities in Swain County. The closest facility to the Nantahala Gorge is the Swain Medical Center, located in Bryson City. (Phone: 838.488.2155)
The 2015 ICF Junior Wildwater World Championships will be hosted at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, located in the Nantahala Gorge, 13 miles outside of Bryson City.
Nantahala River: The majority of the Nantahala is cold, splashy class II whitewater. Nantahala Falls is the class 3 exception to that rule. The Nantahala’s most notable feature is its dam controlled, cold water, which is 45°F (7°C) year round. The river usually runs 7 days a week. The Nantahala is completely roadside along US HWY 19/74 . The US Forest Service maintains put-in and take-outs.
Facilities: Accommodations at the Nantahala Outdoor Center include lodging, restaurants, exercise room, boat storage, running and biking trails.