The Nantahala river is a scenic whitewater run that is full of great views and also offers some thrills. Nantahala is a Cherokee word which, when translated, means land of the noon day sun. the river is called Nantahala because of the steep walls of the gorge. The walls are so steep that some parts of the river only get direct sunlight for the middle part of the day. The Nantahala river is a relatively short river that runs from Lake Nantahala to Lake Fontana. The section that is actually rafted is on the last eight miles of the run. The sections above the commercially rafted section are popular fly fishing spots. There are also scheduled releases for whitewater kayakers who want some class IV-V thrills. The section that is commercially rafted is only class II with one class III at the very end of the run. This river is great for kids and first time whitewater rafters. Kids must be above sixty pounds to be allowed on the river. The water is below fifty degrees year round due to the fact that it is sucked from the bottom of the four hundred foot deep Lake Nantahala.
What to Expect in April
April is the first true month of spring in the Nantahala gorge. The trees have started to gain their leaves and the gorge begins to bustle with life. Rafters should expect temperatures in the mid sixties most days. Depending on the year there could be some much colder days or some warmer days. Just depends on the weather. Whenever you are in the Nantahala Gorge there is a chance of rain showers. Especially in the spring and late fall, check the local weather forecast. If the weather man says it is going to rain it is up to you weather or not to hit the water. The weather is very unpredictable in this area of the mountains. It could just be a sprinkle or it could be a downpour for hours. It all depends on how the weather system reacts when it hits the rugged mountains. The river will not be very crowded in April as in June or July. This is due partly to the fact that most kids are still in school. It is also due to the fact that the air temperature is not to the point where most people want to jump into the fifty degree water. If you raft the Nantahala in April you are most likely just looking for some views and a relaxing trip down the river. If you are looking to cool off from the heat and have an exciting trip full of splashing and getting soaked, you should raft later in the season.
Lodging in April
When searching for lodging in the mountains of western North Carolina you have a few different options. If you want to stay in a rental cabin, there are hundreds of options within range of the Nantahala gorge. The area surrounding Nantahala is full of very beautiful cabins to suit any desire or price range. Another great option is camping there are plenty of campgrounds to choose from that are inside the gorge and just outside of it. Each campground offers a different camping experience. The weather in April can be a little chilly. Getting down into the forties at night you should have either a camper or some cold weather gear.