All outdoor activities impact the environment, altering it in some
manner for those who come behind. Please practice the "Leave
no trace" philosophy in all your activities whether
they occur at your local community park or in the backcountry of
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, leaving as minimal an impact
as possible for those who follow you.
Also, please be courteous of private property. At times, boundaries
between public and private land are not clearly mark, so please
consult a map to ensure you will not be trespassing onto private
property. Please do not go onto private property without the property
owner's expressed permission.
Additionally, please be "bear
aware". Whenever participating in outdoor activities
in and near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, black bear
sightings are possible, as they are in many other parts of the country.
But, as with all wild animal / human interactions, there is information
which will help protect us, and the wild creatures we hold so precious
and have personified and deified for centuries. One of the most
important is the philosophy present throughout the country: "A
fed bear is a dead bear". This philosophy is based
on the reality: when humans feed bears, those bears begin to assume
humans they cross paths with in the future will feed them, as well.
This leads to humans and animals being placed in dangerous situations,
which can lead to one or both being injured or killed. Please do
not feed any wildlife when you are outdoors.
The Nantahala River is the most versatile river in the southeastern
US. With a managed dam-released flow, water is reliably available
through the Nantahala River Gorge. And this river is perfect for
whitewater adventurers of all skill levels. Beginners can learn
the basics on the moderate rapids of the Nanty, while those with
more advanced skills can creatively play. Rafters may rent
and guide their own raft with more ease than on many rivers in the
southeast. Due to less rigid regulations and the ease of accessibility,
the Nantahala lends itself to the adventurer with a creative personality,
even permitting large groups of individuals to set up competitive
courses. Remember, though, 'leave
Nearby, in the edge of the Great Smoky Mtns National Park, Deep
flows toward Bryson City. This recreational area is a favorite of
playful, water-lovers everywhere. You may tube this stretch of creek
for miles and tube rentals abound in the area. Deep Creek also offers
picnic areas, hiking trails and camping. Consult a map
for campground layout and requirements, creek access points and
For those willing to travel, the Wild
& Scenic Wilson Creek is located in the Pisgah National
Forest, in Avery County, NC. Wilson's Creek is a recent addition
to the Wild & Scenic family and a true wilderness experience,
though easily accessible. Many of the trails are primitive, so be
sure to carry a map
here, as well.
A Note about River Etiquette:
The Nantahala Gorge is enjoyed and used by individuals of varied
backgrounds and interests. Always respect the activities of others.
Consider other's access to the river and their river experience.
We all share this great space.
Whitewater activities, as with all outdoor activities, have inherent
dangers involved in participation. These dangers include the risk
of bodily harm and death. Never go on the water alone, always take
a person knowledgeable of the area you are playing on with you and
always scout any rapid you are unfamiliar with.
The southern Appalachian Mountains are a waterfall enthusiast's
dream. This area, with its plentiful rain and steep terrain, creates
waterfall after waterfall of every shape, size and design.
Near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, the Wild
& Scenic Horsepasture River flows. The Horsepasture
River is the shortest river in the National
Wild & Scenic System, a mere 4.2 miles, and a very
steep one. This river has multiple waterfalls and the Scenic designation
is applied to the largest portion of the protected length of the
river. The Horsepasture ends it's descent, at remote Lake Jocassee.
Lake Jocassee has multiple waterfalls along its shoreline, including
Falls . For information on how to access these waterfalls,
for watercraft rental and more, the only game in town is Hoyett's
at Lake Jocassee.
Always remember: Waterfalls are places of unparalleled beauty
and danger. Never attempt to climb a waterfall, avoid ledges and
remember rocks can be very slippery. Never allow children and pets
near ledges. Waterfalls are best observed from the bottom, away
from slippery rocks. Additionally, waterfalls are home to fragile
ecosystems. Much of this plant life will die if walked on or disrupted,
please keep a safe distance.
No other place in the world compares to the Nantahala Gorge. Its
placement within the triumvirate of the Cherokee
National Forest, the Pisgah
National Forest and the Nantahala
National Forest, creates access to hundreds of thousands
of hiking trails. The difficulty is deciding where to go - which
National Forest, which trail, what wilderness area, which waterfall,
the list goes on and on. Please be sure to make note of the Trail
Tips for sound methods of experiencing the wilderness.
Among your choices for hiking trails are side trails of the Appalachian
Creek and the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park's Cades Cove.
There are many additional hiking trails located within the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee
National Forest. The Pisgah
National Forest has hiking trails in Day
Use Areas, Backcountry
Den, Hot Springs Areas, Shining
Rock Wilderness Area,
of Forestry Trail Guide, Linville
Gorge and Interpretive hikes at the Bent
Creek Experimental Forest. The Nantahala National Forest
has hiking trails in the Backcountry
Use Areas, at Cliffside
Lake Recreation Area, Joyce
Kilmer Memorial Forest and
Rock Climbing can be very exciting, as well as a very dangerous.
There are inherent risks in rock climbing, including bodily injure
and death. Always follow activity-related standard precautions and
practices when out in nature. Never climb alone. Additionally, rock
climbing can be destructive. Never leave permanent marks, pitons,
etc, nor disturb flora or fauna, when climbing. We are only visitors
to other species' homes when we venture out into wild places.
Mtn Biking can be a very destructive activity when practiced in
unapproved areas. Please remain on those trails designated for Mtn
Biking and refrain from riding on hiking trails or in ecologically
Camping / Backpacking: