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 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 July
In the month of July whitewater rafting is in the peak of the season. The river is full of rafts from one of the many outfitters on the river. You will also find numerous fly fisherman and whitewater kayakers making their run down the river. While rafting on a weekend day or a holiday you will find yourself dodging large groups of rafts on your way down. Other groups may engage your group in a water fight. The water will be crystal clear unless it has rained in the last 24 hours. The weather in the Nantahala Gorge in the weather is very nice especially for hopping on the ice cold Nantahala river for a cool down. You will enjoy class II rapids as you wind your way through the gorge. The last rapid on the river is the famous Nantahala falls. This is the largest rapid you will face and is the most difficult. Just keep your boat straight and smile for the cameras. On busy weekend days there will be photographers snapping photographs of most of the rafts that make the run. Be warned that around the fourth of July the Nantahala Gorge is packed. Be prepared for long waits to get a trip. I suggest making reservations if you are planning on rafting on any weekend day in July, or the fourth.
Lodging Around Nantahala In July
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 July is perfect for pitching a tent and roughing it in the mountains of western North Carolina.