Travel Guide

Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains

Things to Do • Places to Go • Restaurants • Driving Directions • Weather

 

Things to Do

BRYSON CITY, NC, USA - SEPT 9: River's End Restaurant and bridge over the Nantahala River, Sept, 9, 2012. A popular tourist area for hiking and water sports in the Smoky Mountains.

 

The Wayehutta ATV Trail System

Go Off-Road

With much of the North Carolina Smokies protected by the National Park Service and the National Forest Service, there are very few opportunities for the off-road vehicle enthusiast to enjoy a true mountain ATV experience.

However the area’s one OHV trail is a good one — the Wayehutta OHV Trail System near Western Carolina University.

For more information contact:

Smoky Mountain ORV Club
828-586-5679

Nantahala National Forest 
Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin NC 28734
828-524-6441

28-mile Loop Trail System

Managed by the Smoky Mountain ORV Club and the US Forest Service, Wayehutta is a 28-mile loop trail system using old logging roads and rail beds. The trails are in the Roy Taylor Forest near Cullowhee, about a half-hour from downtown Bryson City.

Ranging from 2,500 to 4,500 feet in elevation, the forested rails range from easy to most difficult. This is a family-oriented trail system including a trail for beginners and youngsters. The trail twists and turns up trails and past a scenic waterfall to the top of a mountain, crossing rocks, bridges and mounds of dirt. You can make it a leisurely ride or pick up the pace for a total workout. Some sections are very rocky and challenging.

Directions — From Sylva, take US 107 South about three miles. Turn left on SR 1002 (Old Cullowhee Road), continue 3 miles to SR 1731 (Wayehutta Road), turn left. Travel 3.5 miles (pavement ends), continue .5 miles. SR 1731 joins Forest Service Road 4650 and continues approximately 1 mile to the trailhead parking area.

Mountain Biking 

Each year, Swain County attracts thousands of mountain bikers to the world-famous Tsali Recreation Area Trail System, 15 miles west of Bryson City. Pronounced “SAH-lee” and named after the 19th century Cherokee Indian martyr, the 42-mile network of multi-use trails is consistently rated one of the top ten riding destinations in the United States. The ‘flowy’ four-loop system offers a variety of landscapes and trail types from single track to old logging roads. Hikers may use the trails any day of the week, but mountain bikers and horseback riders are kept separated by alternating use of the trails. There are signs at the trailheads that clearly list which trails are available. Tsali trails schedule.

There are also color trail map signs at each trail intersection to help with navigation and emergency response. In addition to a “You Are Here” designation, each map has a unique number that can be used by rescue and Forest Service personnel to pinpoint location.

In recent years, the sport has grown to such an extent that now there are a series of annual races held in the area. Read what riders have to say (Raleigh News Observer, June 2016).

For more casual off-road biking there are three trails in the National Park – two in Deep Creek just minutes from downtown and the Oconaluftee River Trail north of Cherokee.

In Deep Creek, bicycles are allowed on the Deep Creek and Indian Creek trails only. There are no loops to ride; these trails are out and back only. Deep Creek area trail map (pdf)

Deep Creek Trail may be ridden from the parking lot to the fourth bridge (at the Loop Trail); this is about 1.7 miles each way (1 mile beyond the junction with Indian Creek Trail).

Indian Creek Trail may be ridden from Deep Creek Trail to the intersection with the Deeplow Gap Trail; this is about 2.9 miles each way.

Oconaluftee River Trail, Cherokee. This flat, wide 1.5 mile (3-mile out and back) trail meanders along the river. It has a gentle terrain excellent for beginners and children. Advanced riders will enjoy it as well. Park at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitor Center on in Cherokee at the Transit lot on the left just as you leave the Reservation.

Road Biking

There are many miles of uncrowded country roads for biking in Bryson City and throughout Swain County, many designated as bike routes.

Lakeview Drive (a.k.a. “Road to Nowhere”)is a lightly traveled road that winds six miles into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, north of Bryson City. It is a moderate to strenuous ride with views of Fontana Lake.

Just west of Bryson City, bike trails include two moderate loops offer a variety of landscapes on lightly traveled roads. The 13-mile Lower Alarka Loop offers views of Lake Fontana and the Tuckasegee River, while the 15-mile Upper Alarka Loop offers a mixture of scenic flat farmland and steep mountain grades.

Bike Shops & Outfitters

Tsali Cycles

35 Slope Street
Bryson City, NC 28713
828-488-9010
828-284-0516

Tsali Cycles Website

Tsali Cycles bike shop offers local beer on tap and wine tasting. A full service, friendly repair shop with fair prices and an experienced staff. Trek bikes to rent and sell along with road bikes and used bikes for those just getting started.

Complimentary bike checks, maps, and advice that will provide you with all you need for a great biking experience!
Come have a cold one with us!

Nantahala Outdoor Center Biking

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
800-232-7238
Website

Grab some accessories, rent a mountain bike, get a quick repair or ask a question at NOC’s Bike Shop in the Nantahala Gorge. NOC provides the closest bike shop to Western North Carolina’s Tsali trail system. Our guides know about the best local rides, from family-friendly excursions to heart-pounding, technical trails. And NOC’s expert mechanics can help you with all repair needs while you relax by the river. We also offer an array of excellent Specialized bikes for rent, from entry-level to high-end. And we offer access to our on-site Flint Ridge Trail here at the Nantahala River.

Bryson City Bicycles

157 Everett St
Bryson City, NC 28713
828-488-1988
Bryson City Bicycles Website

Known for their fun friendly staff, local trail knowledge, and expert mechanics, Bryson City Bicycles is a fully stocked shop that caters to all ages and skill levels from families to racers. You can rent and buy bikes, have top-notch repairs and service done as you wait, get the local scoop on trails, races and rides, and shop for fun, unique gift items including the largest selection of exclusive Tsali products. Need maps and information, clothes, helmets, kids’ gear? We’ve got you covered. Located on Everett St. in the heart of downtown, we’re here to help make your trip truly memorable. [Bryson City Bicycles was named “One of America’s Best Bike Shops” in 2014 & 2015 and was awarded the InterBike Award for “Best Mountain Bike Shop of 2015”.]

 Public Boat Access Areas

Old 288 – From Bryson City. Take US 19 S to turn at SR 1323 (Slope St.; begins at bridge by Walgreens). Travel Slope St. .2 miles and turn left at the blinking light onto SR 1321 (Bryson Walk). Bryson Walk becomes Old 288. Travel 1.6 miles and turn left to follow the river continuing on Old 288 Travel .8 miles to the area at the end of the road.

There are picnic tables, restroom, covered pavilion, handicapped accessible ramp and fishing pier at this location.

Lemmons Branch – From Bryson City take US 19/74 West to NC 28 N (right turn towards Robbinsville). Follow NC 28 N about 3 miles to the site for the Tsali Recreation area. Turn right and follow signs to Lemmons Branch Boat Ramp. The ramp is handicapped accessible.

Cable Cove – From Bryson City take US/74 West to NC 28 N (right turn towards Robbinsville). Continue on approximately 20 miles (8.2 past the 143 turnoff). Turn right onto SR 1287 (Cable Cove). Go 1.5 miles to the end of the road.

Lewellyn Branch – On Cheoah Lake, just below Fontana Dam. From Bryson City take US 19/74 West to NC 28 N (right turn towards Robbinsville). Follow NC 28N about 25 miles, crossing the Little Tennessee River just below Fontana Dam. Both the ramp and a fishing pier are handicapped accessible.

Marinas & Boat Tours

Fontana Marina

300 Woods Rd.
Fontana Dam, NC 28733
828-498-2129
Fontana Marina Website

Fontana Marina offers a full line of services for the enjoyment of Fontana Lake including watercraft rentals, free boat launch, a ship store, fishing tackle and license, lake tours and more. Pontoon boat shuttle service is available for backcountry enthusiasts wishing to explore the southern rim of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fontana Guide Service – Tours

3336 Balltown Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
828-736-2318

Fontana Guide Service Website

Be our guest on beautiful Fontana Lake. Relax and enjoy breathtaking views, sunsets, waterfalls, rivers and wildlife from our spacious pontoon boat. Choose a half or full day trip of any kind, or customize your own. Sightseeing, fishing, sunset, swimming, & fall leaf trips available. Great for birthday parties, corporate groups, honeymooners, & families, with something for every budget. Dogs welcome! HD photos & videos of your trip available on request. Let us guide your one-of-a-kind Fontana Lake experience.

Root Hog Fishing Guide Service

PO Box 375
Bryson City, NC 28713
828-862-7958

Root Hog Fishing Guide Service Website

We are a licensed fishing guide service with over 25 years of guide experience. We are available for 8, 6, and 4-hour fishing excursions for up to 4 people maximum per trip, 7 days a week, year-round. Call us for more information on available times and for reservations and scheduling information.

Prince Boat Dock

237 Prince Boat Dock Rd.
Almond, NC 28702
828-479-3704
Prince Boat Dock Website

Located in Almond NC on beautiful Fontana Lake. We offer pontoon & johnboat rentals, anchored & covered slip moorings for boat storage, dock store with fuel, propane exchange, boat supplies, ice, bait, tackle & tube rentals.

Almond Boat & RV Park

1165 Almond Boat Park Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6423
828-488-8175

Almond Boat & RV Park Website

Located on Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina, Almond Boat and RV Park invites you to “Come relax and enjoy the Smokies!” We offer pontoon rentals, boat rentals, cabin rentals, RV park rentals, boat storage, bait, fishing and hunting licenses. Located ten miles outside of Bryson City, NC on a paved road with easy access for motorcyclists and RVs.

Alarka Boat Dock

7230 Grassy Branch Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-3841
Alarka Boat Website

Located on Fontana Lake in Swain County NC, Alarka Boat Dock is a one stop source for boat/pontoon put-in, Fontana Lake History Tours, fishing guides, and boat or pontoon rentals. Dock-slips available for boats and pontoon storage. Fishing supplies, ice, bait, snacks, gas and oil, t-shirt and caps, also boat supplies. Lake fishing and trout stream guides available upon request.

When Dining in Bryson City, the Beer You Enjoy Might Be Locally Produced

Western North Carolina has developed quite a reputation for its craft beers. And it’s not just Asheville that folks are talking about. Tourists and locals alike are enjoying the unique tastes of craft beers from breweries in Bryson City and. Micro-brews are the hottest segment of the beer market and you can enjoy locally-crafted beer from these local breweries in many restaurants in the area.

Local Breweries

Heinzelmannchen Brewery, Inc.

545 Mill St
Sylva, NC 28779

828-631-4466
828-631-5044

Heinzelmannchen Brewery Website

Enticing your palate and complementing what’s on your plate since 2004 Heinzelmännchen Brewery is located on the Back Street or Mill Street of Downtown Sylva. We offer locally made Soft Pretzels with Pints, Flights and Growlers to go of our brewed on site Craft Beer & Non-Alcoholic Soda. Take out from local eateries and picnics are welcome. We also carry glassware and other souvenir items. Our Bier Halle is Kid and Pet Friendly! Open Monday – Saturday. Seasonal hours vary; check the website.

Mountain Layers Brewing Company

90 Everett St.
Bryson City, NC 28713

651-368-0491

Mountain Layers Brewing Company Website

Nantahala Brewing Company, Inc.

61 Depot Street
Bryson City, NC 28713 28713

828-488-2337

Nantahala Brewing Company Website
Nantahala Brewing artfully brews award-winning, unfiltered ales made with fresh hops, whole grains and clean, crisp Great Smoky Mountain water, from one of the purest, protected watersheds on the planet. Located just across from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in downtown Bryson City.

Bring the Whole Family to the Mountains for Plenty of Wholesome Fun

Pack the car, grab the kids and head for the mountains! Not only do we have lots of great outdoor activities, but we have several fun parks, the Indian Village, the Outdoor Drama “Unto These Hills,” the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and train excursions on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Wholesome fun for all ages.

Fun, Family Activities

Swain County Heritage Museum

2 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-7857
Swain County Heritage Museum Website

Located in the 1908 historic courthouse in downtown Bryson City, the museum tells the story of Swain County and its people. Through photos, exhibits and video you will learn about the life of early settlers; and how the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Dam rewrote the landscape and changed lives. You will enjoy seeing the restored log cabin porch, the 1887 church organ and one-room schoolhouse desks, and children’s activity area among other items. The museum is open daily, 9 am – 6 pm. Winter hours may be shortened. Free admission. Parking lot behind the courthouse.

Darnell Farms

2300 Governors Islands Rd.
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-2376

Darnell Farms Website
A family-owned and operated farm for more than thirty years, that specializes in sustainably grown appalachian fruits and vegetables. Our farm is located on an oasis surrounded by the Tuckaseegee River, bring your family and let our farm be yours.

Fun Factory in the Smokies

1024 Georgia Rd
Franklin, NC 28734

828-349-8888

Fun Factory in the Smokies Website
A 56,000-square-foot family entertainment center with 100+ arcade games, mini golf, the area’s largest go cart track, bowling, laser tag, pizza buffet, fine dining and more!

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

210 Main St.
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-867-9246

Fly Fishing Museum Website
Through exhibits and videos you’ll learn about fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters, and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast. Admission is Free. Open 9 am – 6 pm, Mon-Sat.

Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company

1090 West Deep Creek Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company Website
Only gem mine in Bryson City. Located at Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground; open April through October. Different size bags of gem dirt for sale at the campground store. Covered flume allows you to mine rain or shine. Who knows what you might find!

Cherokee Historical Association

564 Tsali Blvd (HWY 441)
Cherokee, NC 28719

828-497-2111
866-554-4557

Cherokee Historical Association Website

CHA presents the Oconaluftee Indian Village & the outdoor drama Unto These Hills. Visit the recreated 1750s-era Cherokee Village. Regular tours by Cherokee guides present history, crafts, early homes and demonstrations of beadwork, pottery, blowguns, and much more in a beautiful forest setting. Mid-May through October. Unto These Hills tells the history of the Cherokee people from about 1540 through their forced removal from this area in the late 1830s. June-August; check the website for exact dates. General admission seating.

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Franklin, NC 28734
828-524-1598
866-273-6425

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts Website

Located in Franklin, NC, this 1,500 seat state-of-the-art facility presents the finest in performing arts to the surrounding towns. Performances will include passion plays, musical productions, professional drama troupes, dance and choral festivals, recitals, and various genres including country, bluegrass, gospel, pop, contemporary Christian and more.

Nantahala River Gem Mine

12121 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
800-468-7238
828-488-6345

Nantahala River Gem Mine Website

Gemstone material comes from both the local area, and from mines all over the world. Some gems you may find include rubies, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, topaz, amethyst, rose quartz and many more!

Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians

22 Frye Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-5705
828-788-0164

Storytelling Center Website
An organization that is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Southern Appalachians through the art of storytelling and the making of crafts. We bring the history of the Southern Appalachians to life.

Nantahala Outdoor Center

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6900
800-232-7238

Nantahala Outdoor Center Website

Rated “One of the Best Outfitter’s on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There’s something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine

Hwy 441
Cherokee, NC 28719

828-497-6574

Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine Website
Choose from a wide variety of bags and buckets; all equipment is furnished for free. All gem mining and gold panning troughs are covered and offer seating. Bring your gems to the assay office for identification and then utilize the lapidary and jeweler for polishing and setting. And don’t forget to visit the gem, gift, and rock shop before you go. Open year round.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

226 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-872-4681
828-488-7000

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Website

Scenic rail excursions through a remote corner of North Carolina into river gorges, across valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. Excursions include Nantahala Gorge, Dinosaur Train, Polar Express, Mystery Theatre Dinner Train and other themed events. Your excursion includes admission to Smoky Mountains Train Museum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children’s activity center.

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum

100 Greenlee Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

(828) 488-5200

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum Website

The museum boasts a collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children’s activity center. Admission is free with your train ticket; otherwise adults $9; 12 and under $5; under 2 free. Open daily (seasonal hours will change). Not open Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day or New Year’s Eve.

Santa’s Land Fun Park and Zoo

571 Wolftown Rd
Cherokee, NC 28719

828-497-9191

Santa’s Land Fun Park and Zoo Website
Located 3 miles east of Cherokee on US 19. See Santa and his elves, browse through gift shops and exhibits, and visit the domestic and exotic animals in the zoo. Santa’s Land also features rides, picnic facilities, and eating establishments. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm from March 31st through October 31st. $19.99, children under 2 free.

Swain County’s Mountain Lake, Rivers & Streams are a Fisherman’s Paradise

Whether you are fly fishing for native brook trout in a cold mountain stream,smallmouth or largemouth bass in beautiful Fontana Lake or rainbow or brown trout in one of the many stocked streams or rivers, Swain County hosts one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest offer hundreds of miles of spectacularly clear streams. Just a few minutes from Bryson City, the sparkling waters of Deep Creek are ripe for fly fishing, and many anglers enjoy the Nantahala River just west of town, particularly the section above the powerhouse on Wayah Road.

Delayed Harvest – Wildlife Resources Commission designated 2.2 miles of the Tuckasegee River in downtown Bryson City as Delayed Harvest Waters. DH Map and regulations The DH Waters are from the US 19 bridge (at Darnell Farms) to the Slope Street bridge in town.

The Little Tennessee River just west of Bryson City off the Needmore Road is a wide, cold, boulder-strewn river – perfect for smallmouth bass, brim, rock bass and muskie.

The Cherokee Indian Reservation also offers a variety of fishing opportunities for the trout fisherman with regularly stocked streams, trophy waters and three trout ponds. Cherokee holds several tagged fish tournaments, a fly-fishing tournament in the trophy waters and a trout derby for children every year. More info about fishing Cherokee

If you prefer flat water fishing,Fontana Lake boasts one of the most diverse fish populations anywhere in the country. With depths of over 400 feet, many northern fish such as walleye, muskie and smallmouth bass are among favorites of local fishermen.

Lake information

Below Fontana Dam on Highway 28, the Lewellyn Branch handicap accessible bank fishing pier and boat launch ramp facility offer fishermen access to Cheoah Lake on the Little Tennessee River.

Fishing Guides, Outfitters, Fly Shops, Bait & Tackle, and Trout Ponds

Fly Fishing the Smokies

PO Box 291
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-7665

Fly Fishing the Smokies Website

Discover the majestic streams and mountains while enjoying a day of guided fly fishing with some of the Great Smoky Mountains best fly fishing guides. Since 1999, we have guided anglers of all ages and skill levels to some of the most beautiful trout streams in all of the southeastern United States. We offer wade trips, float trips, our signature beginner classes, backcountry camping and the option of half-day and full-day trips. We have something for everyone and for every budget.

Great Smoky Mountain Bait & Tackle

4740 Hwy 19W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-8920
828-488-0545

Fully stocked with all of your fishing needs. Great Smoky Mountain Bait & Tackle has everything you would need for a fishing excursion except the boat. We have a large stock of rods and reels and are a fully stocked bait shop. North Carolina annual and day pass fishing license sold here. Lake Fontana maps available.

Tumbling Waters Campground & Trout Pond

1612 Panther Creek Rd
Almond, NC 28702

828-479-3814

Tumbling Waters Campground & Trout Pond Website

Located on Panther Creek, 1-1/2 miles off NC 28, between Bryson City and Fontana Dam. Trout farm. Free pole, bait and cleaning! Trout $3.00 per pound. Open March 16th to November 30th. Also a campground.

Root Hog Fishing Guide Service

PO Box 375
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-862-7958

Root Hog Fishing Guide Service Website

We are a licensed fishing guide service with over 25 years of guide experience. We are available for 8, 6, and 4-hour fishing excursions for up to 4 people maximum per trip, 7 days a week, year-round. Call us for more information on available times and for reservations and scheduling information.

Fontana Guide Service – Fishing

3336 Balltown Rd.
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736-2318

Fontana Guide Service Website

We’ll show you the best fishing in the rivers & lakes of the Smoky Mountains. Fish with International Game Fish Association Professional Guides. Half day & full day trips. Pontoon boat, kayak & paddle board, wade & walk, and night fishing trips offered year round. Choose fly fishing or spinning tackle with top of the line gear. We provide everything. We have a trip for any skill level or budget. HD photos & videos of your trip available upon request. Ask about our lodging packages.

Blue Chip Fly Fishing

570 Ridgetop Circle
Whittier, NC 28789

561-685-1735
954-263-4452

Blue Chip Fly Fishing Website

Fly fishing guide service. Having fun while promoting the sport of fly fishing.

153 Charters

2013 East Fork Rd.
Sylva, NC 28779

828-421-8125

153 Charters Website

Complete fishing guide service. Specializing in area lakes for Bass, Walleye and Trout. Thirty years experience at Fontana Lake. Can take anyone from novice to expert. We provide all bait, tackle, lunch, drinks and snacks. Top of the line equipment, Lowrance Units, Minn Kota, Penn, Abu Garcia, 22′ Panga CC w/145 Yamaha. USCG Licensed.

AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service

60 Bristol Drive
Sylva, NC 28779

828-226-3833

AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service Website

A premier guide service located in the beautiful Smoky mountains of Western NC – the most picturesque trout waters east of the Mississippi River. We accommodate the serious angler as well as the beginner. Learn when and where to catch trout while taking in the soothing waters of Western NC. We are committed to making this your best experience on the water.

Endless River Adventures – Fishing

14157 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6199
800-224-RAFT

Endless River Adventures Website

Endless River Adventures offers full and half-day fly fishing adventures for both beginning and experienced anglers. Options include float trips on the Nantahala River, as well as wade trips on the Upper Nantahala for trout; float and wade trips on the Tuckasegee River and Little Tennessee River for trout and small mouth bass. All equipment, rods, reels, waders and wading boots are included. Over 20 years experience in Western North Carolina. Licensed by the US Forest Service. Complete fly fishing shop.

Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Catch-out Pond

3365 Cooper Creek Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-2500
828-488-2500
Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Catch-out Pond Website

This full service trout farm offers all the amenities in a beautiful mountain setting that includes hiking trails, waterfalls, and picnic tables. No license required, no limit, and all fishing equipment is provided. Guided fishing tours are also available. Stay an hour or the entire day!

Nantahala On The Fly

12121 Hwy 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736-0784
828-361-9386
800-468-7238

Nantahala On The Fly Website

Specializing in fishing the waters of Western North Carolina. We offer fly fishing trips for the beginner to the expert level fisherman on all the most popular streams. Wade or float trips are offered for full or half day with lunch included. Let us help you plan the trip of your dreams. All equipment provided. Camping Cabins available. Nantahala On The Fly is a Carolina Outfitters, Inc. Company licensed by the US Forest Service.

Tuckaseegee Fly Shop

3 Depot Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-3333

Tuckaseegee Fly Shop Website

Bryson City NC’s only full service fly shop! We are your headquarters for local fly patterns, fly fishing gear, guided trips, and fly fishing advice. We carry products from many well known vendors such as Redington, Rio, Catch Fly Fishing, Montana Fly Company, Scientific Angler, Umpqua, TFO Fly Rods, Chota, Brodin Nets, Simms Logo Apparel, and our very own Tuckaseegee Fly Shop logo hats and shirts. We welcome all locals and travelers to stop in and say hi!

Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited

1012 E Alarka Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9711
828-736-9471

Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited Website

We offer fly fishing, spin fishing and lake fishing. We specialize in catching Bass and Walleye on Fontana Lake and catching Rainbow and Brown Trout on Cheoah Lake. We also catch Steelhead Trout on Santeetlah Lake. All bait and equipment is furnished. A shore lunch is provided for full-day trips. Half day trips are also available. Open year round.

Simonds Bait & Tackle Shop

1085 Main St
Bryson City, NC 28713
828-488-6854

Simonds Bait & Tackle Shop Website

Located on the Tuckasegee River. Live bait: shinners, trout fingerlings (seasonally), nightcrawlers, wax worms, meal worms, and crickets. Complete line of tackle for lake, river, and fly fishing. Locally hand tied flies. Single hook lures for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.Fishing license. On site taxidermy (fish only). Open year round.

Mac Brown Fly Fish

828-736-1469

Mac Brown Fly Fish Website

Fly fishing outfitter for guide and float trips, schools and casting instruction since 1987.

Panning for Gems, a Great Family Activity in the North Carolina Mountains

Most mines sell gem dirt in a bucket or bag. You are provided with a screen for washing and there is a flume – a trough of running water. You pour some dirt in the screen, dunk the screen in the water and the water washes the mud away. It is an expensive activity that young children especially will enjoy. See what gems and quartz you can find!

Bryson City Area Gem Mines

Nantahala River Gem Mine

12121 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-468-7238

Nantahala River Gem Mine Website

Gemstone material comes from both the local area, and from mines all over the world. Some gems you may find include rubies, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, topaz, amethyst, rose quartz and many more!

Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine

Hwy 441
Cherokee, NC 28719

828-497-6574

Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine Website

Choose from a wide variety of bags and buckets; all equipment is furnished for free. All gem mining and gold panning troughs are covered and offer seating. Bring your gems to the assay office for identification and then utilize the lapidary and jeweler for polishing and setting. And don’t forget to visit the gem, gift, and rock shop before you go. Open year round.

Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company

1090 West Deep Creek Rd.
Bryson City, NC 28713

Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company Website

Only gem mine in Bryson City. Located at Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground; open April through October. Different size bags of gem dirt for sale at the campground store. Covered flume allows you to mine rain or shine. Who knows what you might find!

The History of WNC Gem Mining

Mining for ruby and sapphire began in the Western North Carolina mountains in the late 1800s. Called corundum, the minerals were mined commercially to use as abrasives on everything from sandpaper to large machines used in machining metals, plastics and wood. Corundum and other minerals, mica and kaolin were shipped out of the mountains in large quantities. Mining companies had an interest in the area, hoping to find the source of the rubies found in the corundum mines. Their search ended in the early part of the 20th century leaving the area open to rock hounds and gem enthusiasts.

Elevate Your Golf Game to New Heights at Two 18-hole Mountain Courses

The spectacular landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains has been luring vacationers for generations. And now, its attracting golfers who enjoy the unique challenges that a true mountain golf course can deliver.

Golf Courses

Sequoyah National Golf Club

79 Cahons Rd
Whittier, NC 28789

828-497-3000

Sequoyah National Golf Club Website

Tucked away among the oak, fir and flowered valleys in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains resides Sequoyah National Golf Club. Owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, this Robert Trent Jones II design offers golfers an idyllic 18 hole journey, filled with scenic vistas, beautiful landscapes and challenging golf. Amenities include a pro-shop, snack bar, Callaway rental clubs, private lessons, and driving range.

Smoky Mountain Country Club

1300 Conleys Creek Rd
Whittier, NC 28789

828-497-762

Nestled in one of North Carolina’s most dramatic mountain valleys, surrounded by 5,000 foot peaks is Smoky Mountain Country Club, a golf convenient to the recreation and sights of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From valley floors to mountaintops, we provide a unique golfing experience at our 18-hole course. Practice facilities include a driving range, putting green and chipping area. Free rental clubs. Open to the public.

With More Than 800 Miles of Trails, the Smokies National Park is a Hiker’s Paradise

With 40 percent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Swain County, many National Park trails are easily accessible from Bryson City. You’ll find a number of hiking trails in the Deep Creek area of the Park, just two miles north of town, and also off Lakeview Drive six miles north of Bryson City. All Park trails map (pdf)

Not all our trails are inside the park. There are many trails along the shores of Fontana Lake, land owned by either the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) or the U.S. Forest Service. The multi-use trail system at Tsali, famous among mountain bikers, is but one example. Tsali is 15 miles west of Bryson City off Highway 28.

Trails in the GSMNP

Deep Creek Loop (Trails: Deep Creek to Loop Trail to Indian Creek and Back to Deep Creek) — 4 miles, easy to moderate. The trail is fairly level except for a one-mile section that crosses the 420-foot Sunkota Ridge (Loop Trail section). The trail passes by two nice waterfalls – Toms Branch Falls and Indian Creek Falls. (Download a printable PDF map of the Deep Creek trails and waterfalls.)

Martin’s Gap Loop (Trails: Deep Creek to Martin’s Gap to Sunkota Ridge to Loop Trail to Indian Creek and back to Deep Creek) — Approximately 12 miles, easy to moderate.

Deep Creek Trail to Newfound Gap Road — 14.2 miles, easy to strenuous. For most this is a one-way hike, requiring a second vehicle at the end of the trail. Many choose to walk this trail “down” from Newfound Gap Road.

Noland Divide Trail to Beauregard Ridge — A vertical rise of 1,820 feet in 2.5 miles from the Deep Creek Campground. There are great views to the south over Deep Creek Valley and Bryson City. For the more adventurous, the Noland Divide Trail connects Deep Creek with Clingmans Dome Road. 11.2 miles one way. This too is a one-way hike for most.

Noland Creek Trail — 6 miles in and out, easy. From a parking lot near the end of the “Road to Nowhere”, Noland Creek trail is an old service road with a gentle grade. Near the three-mile mark you’ll see the remnants of an old farm.

Through the tunnel at the end of the “Road to Nowhere”, there’s the 3-mile Goldmine Loop Trail and the 42-mile Lakeshore Trail, which crosses Forney Creek, Hazel Creek and Eagle Creek on its way to Fontana Dam.

‘A Walk in the Woods’ — the book and movie have stirred increased interest in the Appalachian Trail. The Bryson City area has six segments of the AT that are perfect for weekend hikers, plus another 40-mile, 3-4 day backpacking segment.

The Appalachian Trail stretches through Swain County from south of the Nantahala Gorge; across Fontana Dam and then follows the highest ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park past Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap on its way to Maine. You can access the trail at Wesser in the Nantahala Gorge, Fontana Dam, Newfound Gap, and at Clingmans Dome. A popular section of the trail is from Newfound Gap to Charlie’s Bunion, which passes through a spruce and fir forest with spectacular vistas. The 8-mile-round-trip walk has an elevation gain of 980 feet.

Self-Guided Nature Trails — The National Park has several self-guided nature trails in Swain County: Spruce-Fir — 0.5 mile. It begins on Clingmans Dome Road. This walk introduces you to the conifer forests that grow only on the high peaks this far south in the eastern U.S.

Mingus Creek Trail — An in and out hike, 6 miles in length; easy to moderate with an elevation gain of 700 feet. Trail begins at the Mingus Mill parking lot just north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The lower two miles include Mingus Mill, remnants of CCC camp #4484, and if you take the right fork at Mile 1.25, an old road to a historic cemetery.

Smokemont — 0.75 mile. It begins at Smokemont Campground. The walk shows examples of human impact on the land, such as logging and farming; and Balsam Mountain: — 0.75 mile. It begins at Balsam Mountain Campground. See how nature has reclaimed a once-logged northern hardwood forest.

Hiking & Backcountry Camping Guides

Bryson City Outdoors Hiking

169 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-342-6444

Website

Enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park while on guided hikes with one of our knowledgeable and friendly guides. Of course you can hike any trail in the park on your own… or you can go with an experienced guide and hike safely with confidence!

Horseback Riding in the North Carolina Smokies

A great way to enjoy the rugged beauty of the Smoky Mountains is on horseback. Several stables offer guided horse rides in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Nantahala National Forest. Horseback treks are generally one to four hours, but may also be overnight camping trips.

If you like traveling with your own horseshere’s info.

Printable pdf of Horseback Guides

Riding Stables & Horse Camp

Deep Creek Horse Camp

750 W. Deep Creek Rd. #11
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6961
828-736-1270

Website

Camping in paradise does exist. Close access to five trailheads and 400 miles of trails. If you like riding in the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can do it from our Bryson City horse camp. Bring your horses and explore the many miles of the most scenic trails you’ll ever ride!

Smokemont Riding Stable

135 Smokemont Riding Stable Rd
Cherokee, NC 28719

828-497-2373

Website

Enjoy scenic guided horseback riding within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rides available for the beginner or experienced rider featuring wooded forests, wildflowers, river and waterfalls. An authorized concessioner of the National Park Service.

Nantahala Village Riding Stables

9400 Highway 19/74 West
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9649
828-488-8600

Website

Guided trips in the Nantahala National Forest overlooking Fontana Lake & the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Reservations preferred. Open weekends April-May and September-October. Memorial Day-Labor Day full time.

For Horse Owners

If you like traveling with your own horses, the Great Smokies and the Nantahala National Forest offer excellent horseback riding trails.

About 550 miles of the 800 miles of National Park trails are open to horses. Download a trail map, which also has regulations for horse use of the Park.

The Tsali Trails in the Nantahala National Forest near Bryson City are multi-use trails. Check the trail schedule posted at the trailhead. Download map with riding info.

To find out more about the trails in the area you can contact the Nantahala National Forest at 828-524-6441 or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 865-436-1231.

A Choice of Whitewater Or Flat Water Kayaking

Western North Carolina is home to hundreds of miles of whitewater rivers and mountain lakes making it a favorite destination for kayakers.

For whitewater enthusiasts the variety of rivers– from Class I to Class V, offers great options for kayak instruction for all skill levels. Here you will find individual adventure seekers, families learning to kayak together and Olympic-bound athletes all training and enjoying the rivers of our area.

For outdoor enthusiasts seeking verdant scenery and glimpses of wildlife, the flat water trails through the mountain lakes of western North Carolina offer all that and more. The rivers and lakes and the availability of quality kayak instruction are what has given Swain County the title of “the Whitewater Capital.”

The book “101 Best Outdoor Towns”named Bryson City the nation’s third best whitewater paddling town. “If you can’t find something exciting to do in Bryson City, you’re not breathing,” it says.

Paddler Magazine named Bryson City one of the “best paddling towns” in the US. Along with the multiple spots for great paddling, they focus on Tsali mountain bike trails, area adventure races and canoe camping on Fontana Lake.

Kayaking Outfitters

Bryson City Outdoors Kayaking

169 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-342-6444

Website

Rent a sit-on kayak in downtown Bryson City on the river or nearby on beautiful Fontana Lake! Our kayaks are very beginner friendly and even hold multiple people to make for a great family adventure! Guided kayak tours are available and can be combined with a hiking tour!

Fontana Guide Service – Kayaking

3336 Balltown Rd.
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736.2318
828-488-9793

Website

Let us show you the Great Smoky Mountains from the water. Half and full day fishing or touring trips available, or customize your own. Our professional guides provide river & lake trips from our Jackson kayaks & paddle boards year round. A quiet & relaxing way to enjoy sunsets, waterfalls, fall colors & wildlife. Double-seated kayaks available. We provide everything & accommodate any age or skill level. HD photos & videos of your trip available upon request.

Nantahala Outdoor Center

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6900
800-232-7238

Website

Rated “One of the Best Outfitter’s on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There’s something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Endless River Adventures

14157 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6199
800-224-RAFT

Website

Offers whitewater rafting on the Nantahala, Cheoah, and Ocoee Rivers. Ocoee rafting package includes transportation from our Nantahala Outpost, saving you the extra driving. Kayak instruction from the beginner to advanced level and kayak/mountain bike trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador. Lake touring offered for half-and full-day trips. Also, fly fishing instruction & guide service with drift boat option.

Explore Your Creative Side At One Of Our Area Arts & Crafts Workshops

Here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we’re known for our creative arts and crafts community. Our artisans are keeping alive many of the traditional heritage crafts such as pottery, weaving, basketmaking and quilting; as well as cooking, canning and preserving to make best use of locally grown foods.

Stores and galleries in the area offer these crafts and more for sale; and we have several festivals featuring locally made crafts as well. If you would like to learn how to create some unique crafts, the artisans on this page would like to teach you. We have a variety of classes — from 2 hours to several days or ongoing.

Nourish your creative spirit – learn something new!

Arts, Crafts & Cooking Classes

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center

121 Schoolhouse Rd
Robbinsville, NC 28771

828-479-3364
828-479-4384

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center Website

Stecoah Valley Center is home to an Artisans Gallery, a Spring Bluegrass Festival, an 11-week Summer Concert Series, a Fall Harvest Festival, the Schoolhouse Cafe (seasonal hours), and a variety of adult classes from cooking to arts and crafts as well as business and technical assistance for artists.

Southwestern Community College

Swain Center, 60 Almond School Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-366-2000

Southwestern Community College Website

SCC’s Nantahala School for the Arts at Swain Center focuses on heritage arts including a Master Potter certificate program, as well as outdoor leadership and business and industry training and consulting. Several classes for children are offered in the summer.

Wild Fern Studios

15 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736-1605

Wild Fern Studios Website

Gifts of a handcrafted nature. On the Square at the corner of Everett and Main in downtown Bryson City. Featuring works from local, regional, and national artists, including pottery, jewelry, metal work, watercolor paintings and photography of the area, hand carved bowls and spoons, baskets, honey, soaps, and much more. Our studio area is always available for artisan demonstrations and classes.

Four Great Venues for Live Music in Bryson City

Western North Carolina has a rich tradition of creating and showcasing great live music, and Bryson City is home to a number of great venues. You’ll find a variety of genres from old-time country and bluegrass to soul, blues, reggae, rock and roll and more. Want to get in on the action? Join one of the informal community music jams at the library.

Tunes on the Tuck

Tunes on the Tuck info

Riverfront Park
828-488-3681

Every Saturday night from June through October from 7-9 pm, you can enjoy a FREE concert in Bryson City. Local and regional favorites play everything from old-time country to bluegrass, to rock and roll. Join us at Riverfront Park, where you’ll find a large, grassy lawn for music-lovers with a covered pavilion for the entertainers. Enjoy your supper at one of the riverside picnic tables or on the grass. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. The whole family will enjoy this relaxed evening event. Riverfront Park is located at the Swain County Admin. Bldg, across from the train parking. Free parking, restrooms. (Formerly known as Music in the Mountains)

Nantahala Brewing Company

Nantahala Brewing Company Facebook 

61 Depot Street
828-488-2337

More than just a brewery, Nantahala Brewing takes great pride in showcasing local & regional music acts. We feature bands every Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm from March until the end of October. We feature everything from appalachian-folk to bluegrass to rock n’ roll. Throughout the year we shake up the rhythm a bit with the sounds of the Caribbean and even some carnival pirate rock! Starting on June 30th we celebrate The Week of Rock where we host music nightly, ending on July 9th. On July 4th we will have live music all day.

The sound levels within the brewery are perfect. We have a great system and a professional sound engineer. Our space features multiple tables and chairs with additional seating alongside the bar and throughout the taproom. There is a space for dancing and even if you are out on our patio, you can still hear the band.

Nantahala Outdoor Center

13077 Hwy 19 West
828-785-4851

On the banks of the Nantahala River, Big Wesser BBQ & Brew offers hungry adventurers quick, convenient and delicious food and free live music. Focused on bringing old-fashioned BBQ meals to the Nantahala Gorge, Big Wesser is the perfect spot to unwind. Stop by at night for live music every weekend, May through September—we feature bluegrass, rock, soul, reggae and more!

Big Wesser boasts the area’s best live music venue and perhaps the best open-air bar west of Asheville. Stop by during your next Nantahala Gorge visit and enjoy river sounds, a cold brew and Big Wesser’s mouth-watering, classic southern food.

Marianna Black Library

Marianna Black Library Website 

Corner Academy & Rector Sts.
828-488-3030

Community Jam – 1st and 3rd Thursdays, each month, 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Anyone with a guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer – anything unplugged – is invited to join. Musicians of all ages and levels of ability are welcome to share music they have learned over the years or learn old-time mountain songs. Singers are also welcomed to join in. Or, you can just stop by and listen.

Summer Music Series – 2nd and 4th Thursdays, June – August, 7 pm. Enjoy local and regional favorites playing different genres – traditional mountain music, bluegrass, Celtic, blues, world music and more.

All programs are free and open to public. Lite snacks and refreshments are provided by the Friends of the Marianna Black Library.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding – A Unique Way to Play on Water In the Smokies

Stand-Up paddleboarding (SUP), similar to canoeing, involves an oversized surf-style board and a long handled paddle, which you use to propel and steer through the water. Different boards types, shapes and sizes are used depending on the body of water you SUP. It is a great way to strengthen your core and improve your balance, while you have an enjoyable time in the outdoors.

Here in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina we paddleboard theTuckasegee River in downtown Bryson City, and the placid water of Fontana Lake. A favorite spot – the finger lake area – is easy to access and there are no boats around to send wakes your way.

What to wear

All rentals include board, paddle and approved life jacket. It’s advisable to be barefoot and to wear a bathing suit or shorts and tee shirt. Watches and loose jewelry should be left behind. And eyeglasses should be secured with a head strap. You should also bring towels and a change of dry clothes.

Paddleboard Rentals

Nantahala Outdoor Center

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6900
800-232-7238
Nantahala Outdoor Center Website

Rated “One of the Best Outfitter’s on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There’s something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Bryson City Outdoors

169 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-342-6444

Bryson City Outdoors Website

Rent a paddleboard in downtown Bryson City on the river or nearby on Fontana Lake! Our paddleboards are very beginner friendly and our knowledgeable staff can help anyone stand up on a paddleboard. Guided tours also available. Great fun for the whole family, call today to book your trip!

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

One of USA Today’s “Top 10 American Train Rides” (2016)

Based in Bryson City, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates scenic rail excursions through our remote corner of North Carolina, traveling through tunnels, across rivers and lakes, through mountain valleys and into a deep river gorge. Some rides are with the diesel engine and some are with the newly restored steam engine #1702. When the steam is running you will also have the chance to watch the people-powered engine turntable in action.

The steam engine #1702 has returned to the mountains after and 11-year hiatus including a 2-year complete refurbishing. Rides include both the Nantahala and the Tuckasegee River routes. The #1702 will be on display for photo opportunities. Steam Schedule & Tickets

All tickets and schedules…

Visit GSMR.com

Excursions from Bryson City

Nantahala Gorge This 4-1/2 hour excursion makes a 44 mile round trip to the Nantahala Gorge, crossing the historic Fontana Lake trestle. There’s a 1-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), and options for packages including rafting, zip-lining and jeep tours. Many trains to the gorge also include an all-adult first class moonshine car – The Carolina Shine – featuring Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon family of spirits. Schedule & Tickets

Tuckasegee River This 4-hour excursion makes a 32 mile round trip to the quaint village of Dillsboro, passing by the famous movie set of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and through a tunnel. There is a 1-1/2 hour layover in Dillsboro. Schedule & Tickets

Themed Trains

In 2015, more than 76,000 people rode the Polar Express Christmas excursion making it one of the most popular holiday events in the Smokies.

Other family-oriented excursions include two PEANUTS-themed events — the Easter Beagle Express and the Great Pumpkin Patch Express in October. As well as the July 4 Freedom Train and the summer Wizard of Oz excursions.

Special dining events include BBQ & Brews and :Uncorked” wine experience. And enjoy hand crafted, triple-distilled Midnight Moon moonshine in our Nantahala Gorge all-adult first class moonshine car – The Carolina Shine.

All themed train tickets and schedules…
Visit GSMR.com

Model Train Museum

Rail excursion tickets include admission to Smoky Mountains Museum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children’s activity center.

Spas and Massage Therapists

Avanti Mobile Spa

Avanti comes to all NC Mountain Cabin Rentals!
https://avantispa.us

Lift Massage Therapy

134 Depot St.
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736-6960

Lift Massage Therapy Website

Lift Massage Therapy is a mobile spa that brings massage therapy wherever you are. We bring the necessary tools and a talented massage therapist to your home or place of business. And now, Lift Massage Therapy has joined forces with Smoky Mountain Chiropractic to encourage appropriate lifestyle changes combined with chiropractic care and massage therapy to help clients reach their health goals.

A New Attitude Day Spa and Tanning Salon

147 Main Street, Suite D
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-1449

Full service salon for the entire family, with walk–ins welcome. All hair treatments available, as well as manicure and pedicure services. Wolf Tanning Beds onsite, and spa offerings include: facelift massage, body massage, couples massage on Saturdays, and a sauna. Wedding hair and make-up services available onsite or at your venue.

Mountain Therapeutic – Massage and Acupuncture

134 Richmond St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6242
828-538-1256

Mountain Therapeutic Website

Offering acupuncture and therapeutic massage for health maintenance and recovery from illness and injury; both are proven to effectively treat pain. Two locations: one in Bryson City and one in the Nantahala Gorge. Call for an appointment. Both providers have over 30 years of experience in the field of healthcare.

Lakeview at Fontana Spa

171 Lakeview Lodge Dr
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-3727
800-742-6492

Lakeview at Fontana Spa Website

From invigorating, naturally inspired facials to deeply exfoliating and detoxifying body treatments, stress-stripping massages and un-fussy, unwinding yoga classes; whatever truly relaxes you is waiting at the Lakeview at Fontana Spa. Come for the night, or simply spend a day in our spa. Featured in Southern Living magazine. Call today to make an appointment.

Sue Magness Therapeutic Massage

50 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-736-0554
828-488-6502

Sue Magness Therapeutic Massage Website

Licensed massage and Bodywork therapist located in downtown Bryson City. Offering Swedish, deep tissue, sports and medical massage. Open Monday through Friday, and Saturdays with advanced notice. Call for an appointment!

Nurture Wellness Studio & Massage

50 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-400-9616

Jackie has extensive experience as a bodywork therapist, yoga practitioner and teacher. With the perfect synthesis of the art and science of massage therapy, Jackie uses an interesting blend of bodywork styles. Her work is skillful, compassionate and intuitive and truly embodies the body, mind, spirit approach to wellness. Nationally certified since 1999.

WNC Structual Bodywork & Massage

835 East Main St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-506-6900

This independent solo practice has a strong emphasis on connective tissue injury and rehabilitation. Practice models focus particular attention on the physical body to promote relief of pain and discomfort. Models have the premise that clients seek to achieve balance in life so to promote optimal health and wellbeing

Mountain Tubing Can Be an Easy Float or a Wild, Whitewater Ride

Western North Carolina has two great tubing runs and both are near Bryson City. Both Deep Creek and the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee have crystal clear water that originates in springs bubbling up and filtering through the ferns and moss in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tubing companies generally operate from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

DEEP CREEK
Just outside Bryson City
, the Deep Creek ride consists of two sections: 1.) The upper “whitewater” section which flows from Indian Creek through the narrow Deep Creek gorge. This is a wild, bouncy ride that often separates the rider from the tube, especially when the water is swift after a rain. At the end of the rapids section, there’s a wide, deep swimming hole that provides a relaxing break before getting back on the tube. (2) The lower section, which is wider, easier going and more appropriate for smaller kids, ends at the parking lot. Put-in for this section is at the swimming hole just above the first bridge.

Tube rental companies are located on West Deep Creek Road, which then takes you into the National Park. From the parking lot at the Deep Creek trailhead, you carry your inner tube upstream about a mile into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Deep Creek trail. You can choose from different types of tubes – with seats and without – which can be rented for the day.

OCONALUFTEE RIVER
Just 20 minutes from Bryson City, the Oconaluftee River flows through downtown Cherokee. There you’ll find one of the purest rivers in the Mountains where you can enjoy a inner-tube ride that’s part rushing rapids, and part lazy ripples and swimming holes. The water ranges from ankle deep to chest high and flows over soft sand and flat, time-smoothed river rocks shed from the world’s oldest mountains. Tube rental companies in Cherokee transport you and your tube to a put-in spot and pick you up at the end of your ride.

What to wear

It’s advisable to wear a bathing suit or shorts and tee shirt and secure shoes. Watches and loose jewelry should be left behind. And eyeglasses should be secured with a head strap. Finally, because our mountain streams and rivers are cool, you should bring towels and a change of dry clothes.

Click or tap to download a printable PDF map of Deep Creek’s trails and waterfalls.

Tube Rental Locations

Creekside Tubing

1881 West Deep Creek Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-2587

Ample parking for buses and groups, group rates, public showers, tube rental and game room, hiking, picnicking, trout fishing, horseback riding. Located at entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Open Mid April through Labor Day.

J. J. Tubes

1651 Toot Hollow Road
Bryson City, NC 28173

828-736-4849
828-488-3018

Open May through November.

Deep Creek Tube Center

1090 West Deep Creek Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6055

Smoky Mountain Tubing

1847 Tsali Blvd
Cherokee, NC 28719

828-497-4545
828-507-6287

Smoky Mountain Tubing Website

We offer tubing service and rentals on the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee. Transportaion is included. We will drop you off to enjoy to the ride, pick you up and take you back to where you started. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day 7 days a week.

Deep Creek Store & Tubes

1840 West Deep Creek Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9665
828-488-3302

Deep Creek Store & Tubes Website

Located on West Deep Creek just outside the national park. Open from April 1 to October 31.

Four Rivers Offer Whitewater Fun for All Ages in the NC Smokies

NANTAHALA
Located about a dozen miles west of Bryson City on US 19/74, 
the scenic Nantahala River ranks among the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in the country. Without a doubt, it is the most popular in the Southeast luring more than 200,000 paddlers to its waters every year. A perfect combination of exciting whitewater and placid pools, the Nantahala is a great introduction to the sport of whitewater paddling.

View Nantahala River Webcam
With Class II and III rapids, it’s considered a “family” river suitable for senior citizens and children — providing the kids are at least 7 years old or weigh at least 60 pounds.

But, don’t get the wrong idea. Just because the river is suitable for families doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. It’s also challenging enough for the US Olympic Kayaking Team, which often trains on the Nantahala.

Nantahala won “Best Paddling River” in the Blue Ridge Outdoors 2016 Best of the Blue Ridge Awards.

TUCKASEGEE
In the mood for something more sedate? Try the Tuckasegee River. With its Class I and II rapids, Tuckasegee rafting trips provide great outdoor entertainment for the entire family. (including kids as young as 4 or weigh at least 40 pounds).

CHEOAH
The Cheoah is a nine-mile stretch
 of a narrow, whitewater river located outside of the mountain community of Robbinsville, west of Bryson City. It begins below Santeetlah Lake Dam, parallels Hwy 129 and finishes at Calderwood Lake. The Cheoah is a controlled-release river with a very limited number of release dates. It has continuous Class IV – V rapids. Dropping 150-feet per mile, the Cheoah is 3x as steep as the Gauley. Check with your outfitter for times.

OCOEE
The Ocoee has been rated one of the ten best whitewater rivers in the country by Canoe Magazine. A number of these outfitters also take trips down the Ocoee, about 1-1/2 hours southwest of Bryson City. It has been chosen as the site of national whitewater championships on several occasions as well as home of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater competition. Fully guided due to the challenging water

What to Wear

All outfitters provide approved life jackets; most outfitters will provide a wet suit and/or paddling jackets during the cooler months.

It’s advisable to wear a bathing suit or shorts and tee shirt, and secure shoes. If it’s cool, you should bring wool socks, a hat and sweater. Watches and loose jewelry should be left behind. And eyeglasses should be secured with a head strap. You should also bring towels and a change of dry clothes.

Rafting Outfitters

Carolina Outfitters Rafting Company

12121 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6345
800-GOT-RAFT

Offers Guide-in-Boat, Guide Assisted, or Non-Guided whitewater rafting trips on the popular and scenic Nantahala River. Inflatable Funyak/Ducky rentals. Excellent equipment, friendly staff, and comfortable facilities. Great low prices and group rates available. Combine our rafting with gemstone mining, horseback riding, and scenic train tours.

Appalachian Rivers Raft Co., Inc.

1365 Hwy 19 West
Topton, NC 28781

800-330-1999
828-488-6345

Appalachian Rivers Raft Co Website

Offering exciting and enjoyable whitewater activities for families and groups since 1979. Featuring excellent equipment and a courteous, professional staff and very reasonable rates. We invite you to come and enjoy the river in one of our self-bailing rafts or funyaks. For the inexperienced, we offer guide-assisted or fully guided trips. Contact us soon and join the fun!!

Nantahala Outdoor Center

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6900
800-232-7238

Nantahala Outdoor Center Website

Rated “One of the Best Outfitter’s on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There’s something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Paddle Inn Rafting Company

14611 Highway 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9651
800-711-RAFT
877-265-7253

We offer guided, guide assisted, and be your own boss (Rentals.) We have Funyaks, Pumas, Self Bailers and regular rafts. We want to share our passion for the river with you and we take pride in our customer service. You are our number one concern. Near Bryson City, open April-Nov. Also open by advance reservation Nov. – April.

Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting

14690 Nantahala River, 19W
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-438-7238
828-488-2386

Adventurous Fast Rivers Rafting Website

Experience the beauty and adventure of whitewater on the Nantahala River. We are family owned and located directly on river. Our specialty is giving economical prices with the very best in personal service, equipment, facilities, and staff. No experience necessary. Guided & unguided trips available March through October. Walk-ins are welcome or call to reserve your adventure. We look forward to seeing you on the river with us.

Endless River Adventures

14157 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6199
800-224-RAFT

Endless River Adventures Website

Offers whitewater rafting on the Nantahala, Cheoah, and Ocoee Rivers. Ocoee rafting package includes transportation from our Nantahala Outpost, saving you the extra driving. Kayak instruction from the beginner to advanced level and kayak/mountain bike trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador. Lake touring offered for half-and full-day trips. Also, fly fishing instruction & guide service with drift boat option.

Tuckaseegee Outfitters

4909 Hwy 441/74
Whittier, NC 28789

828-586-5050
888-593-5050

Tuckaseegee Outfitters Website

Raft with kids as yound as age 4. No weight limit. Guide assisted half day rafting trips on class I and II whitewater. A great trip for families with younger kids and for beginners.

Wildwater-Nantahala Gorge Adventure Center

10345 Hwy 19
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-451-9972
828-488-2384

Website

Fully guided and rental inflatable kayak and raft trips available. A family-owned business since 1971, Wildwater runs on the Nantahala, Ocoee, Pigeon, and Chattooga Rivers. A complete adventure destination-Zipline Canopy Tours, half-day Jeep® Tours, full-day Rails & Trails, and Raft & Rail© since 1988. Wildwater offers 100% quality service guarantee. On site lodging in unique Yurt Cabins or economical Group Lodge at our Falling Waters Adventure Resort. WIFI for guests.

Rolling Thunder Rafting Center

10160 Highway 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-2030
800-408-7238

For almost 40 years Rolling Thunder Rafting Center has provided high quality, fun filled rafting experiences, with over 1 million guests choosing t oraft and stay with us. Choose guied, follow a guide or non-guided/ rental trip options. Family owned and operated with a caring staff. Open April – September.

Canopy & Ridge Line Tours

Nantahala Outdoor Center Zip Line Adventure Park

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

888-905-7238
828-488-6900

Nantahala Outdoor Center Zip Line Adventure Park Website

Fly over 550′ through the air on dual zip lines and take on a multi-level rope challenge course as high as 60′ above the forest floor! Negotiate wobbling sky bridges, confusing “spider webs,” nerve-racking tight ropes and 13 additional obstacles on this 2-hour multi-stage course. A family-friendly activity, guests can choose their own challenge level and pace throughout the park thanks to NOC’s state-of-the art auto-belay system.

Kidzip Nantahala

10345 Highway 19 South/74 West
Bryson City, NC 28713

866-699-2402
828-488-8899

Kidzip Nantahala Website

Wildwater was the first company in the US to build multiple zipline courses specifically for kids 4 & older and this is our 2nd one in Western NC! KidZip Nantahala offers ziplines and adventure park elements for kids 4-12 years old in a scenic wooded adventure setting. With a continuous cable and roller system there is no clipping and unclipping for participants, making it safe for any age to use. Featuring ground school training and practice, 3 zipline loops- beginner (4 zips), intermediate (5 zips) & advanced (4 zips), 8 climbing elements for entrances, exits & connections, and tree based platforms, ziplines & challenges. And with a 2-hour time block, you can zip and climb as many times as you want. Maximum weight 225 lbs.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountaintop Zip Line Tour

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-6900
888-905-7238

Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountaintop Zip Line Tour Website

Soar high above the Nantahala River Gorge and the North Carolina mountains on this world-class zip line adventure. NOC guides lead your group through 2 miles of premium mountaintop-to-mountaintop zip lines, getting you out of the forest and into open air. Enjoy panoramic views of our remote 400-acre Townhouse Creek Property, Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The highlight is the heart-stopping half-mile Mega Zip where you experience almost 1-minute of flying, 350′ above the forest floor.

Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours

70 Falling Waters Drive
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-451-9972
828-488-8899
Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours Website

The first Zipline Canopy in the Nantahala Gorge area of western North Carolina through the 20 acres of Falling Waters Adventure Resort. Thirteen zip sections and 8 bridges combine for over 1/2 mile of high flying fun on our newest adventure activity. Experience the excitement and beauty of “flying” through the air among the hemlocks and hardwoods of western North Carolina! Must be 10 years and up and 70 to 250 lbs. WIFI available to guests.

Places to Go

Bryson City – A Real, Small Town

Bordering the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bryson City is a laid-back, non-touristy town of 1,300 with more stop signs than stoplights. It’s an easily stroll-able town with local bookstores, arts and crafts galleries with working artisans, bike shops, a fly fishing shop, a historical museum, a fly fishing museum, a scenic train, a brewery, and a surprising variety of restaurants. Map of downtown shops, eateries, attractions Sit a spell on a bench and look up at a clear blue sky and green mountainsides. People watch, enjoy a sweet treat, visit some shops, enjoy some music, drop a fishing line in the Tuckasegee River as it flows through town or explore it by kayak or paddleboard. Take a literary tour of the Bryson City Cemetery, the Bryson City Tales / Larrimore tour, or a historical stroll through town. Venture just a few minutes from this quiet downtown and you’ll find a vast outdoor playground for water sports, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, zip lines, scenic drives, waterfalls and more. You will love Bryson City, where you can have a big vacation in a small town!

Recent Media Mentions for Bryson City

“Check out vibrant, little downtown Bryson City for dining spots and shops busy with small town commerce.”

— The Charlotte Observer 

“Vacationers seeking small-town atmosphere blended with the beauty of the wilderness will find refuge in Bryson City, NC, a gorgeous mountain town tucked away in the Smoky Mountains. The town features plenty of dining and shopping opportunities, lovely inns, and outdoor activities to choose from.

— VisitSouth.com

“Explore Bryson City’s fun mix of old and new. Without question, the natural playground of forests, rivers, and trails surrounding Bryson City, and even the Tuckasegee River that cuts through the center of town, maintain a strong pull, but the town holds its own charm — all two square miles of it.” 

— WNC magazine

‘For kids, the small mountain town is a picturesque playground with plenty of places to have fun and burn off some energy.

EverydayLife.com

“Here’s the thing about Bryson City. It’s a true getaway. You don’t have to worry about what to wear, how to fix your hair, putting on makeup, checking boxes on your touristy list or having concrete plans. You just go and do whatever and stare at the mountains and breathe easier.

Dana Miller, Housetweaking

“But, most of all, skip the nearby over-developed region that is Gatlinburgand visit Bryson City on the North Carolina side of the park.  It is a beautiful small American town with great road-side inns, shops and family entertainment that takes you back to the America of the past, something you can not get much of these days.

LivePretty.com

The Smokies Offer The Best of The Appalachian Trail

Of the 2,147 miles that comprise the AT, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park accounts for 71 miles, including the highest peak along the trail (Clingmans Dome 6,643’). Of the National Park’s 848 miles of trails, the AT is by far the most popular. The Trail through the Smokies also has the most rainfall and snowfall on the A.T. in the South, and many hikers are caught off-guard by the snow and cold temperatures at high elevations. The temperatures at 5000 feet can be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the valleys around Bryson City.

Seven ‘Walks in the Woods’

There are several segments of the AT in the Bryson City, Swain County area offering the opportunity for walks in the woods. Some of the day hikes are ‘out-and-back’. Others are one-way hikes requiring two vehicles or a shuttle. One is a three to four day, 40-mile backpacking trek. The most popular and accessible AT hike is the 4 mile segment from Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion, a rocky cliff with one of the best views in the Smokies.

DAY HIKES

  • Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion  8 miles miles round trip, out and back Difficulty: moderate Elevation range: Newfound Gap 5049 Highest point 6222’ Charlies Bunion 5565’ Directions to Newfound Gap — From the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, take US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) 16 miles north to the Newfound Gap overlook and parking. Take the trail east.
  • Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome  7.5 miles one way Difficulty: moderate Elevation range: Newfound Gap 5049’ Low point at Collins Gap 5005’ Clingmans Dome 6625’ At 6625 feet elevation, Clingmans Dome is the highest point on the entire Appalachian Trail and the third highest peak east of the Mississippi. Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina are higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top. The trail parallels Clingmans Dome road, but on the other side of the ridge well away from the traffic noise. With parking lots at both ends of this hike, you’ll need two vehicles. And keep in mind that the road to Clingmans Dome is closed each winter, December 1 thru March 31. Directions to Clingmans Dome — Turn off Newfound Gap Road 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap and follow the 7-mile-long Clingmans Dome Road to the large parking area at the end. Take the trail west. Directions to Newfound Gap — From the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, take US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) 16 mile north to the Newfound Gap overlook and parking. Take the trail east
  • Fontana Dam to Shuckstack Tower 7 miles round trip, out and back Difficulty: strenuous Elevation range: Fontana Dam: 1837’ Shuckstack 4020’ Directions to Fontana Dam — take US-74 and NC-28 west of Bryson City for 32.5 miles. There’s a parking lot and welcome center at the dam. Cross Fontana Dam and continue 0.6 mile to the trailhead. Hike the steep trail north towards Birch Spring Gap and Doe Knob. The trail climbs more than 2100 feet, with most of that elevation gain coming in the first 2.4 miles.
  • Yellow Creek Gap to Fontana Dam 7.8 miles one way 6-7 hours Difficulty: strenuous Elevation range: Yellow Creek Gap 2,980’ Highest point 3,786 Fontana Dam 1,837’ Directions to Yellow Creek Gap: The Yellow Creek Gap trailhead is about 26.4 miles from Bryson City. Travel west on US73 to NC28 North. Continue on NC28 passing thru the tiny Stecoah community to Upper Tuskeegee Road. Turn left and watch for the AT trail crossing sign. This is an easy ‘drop off’ point, with a small parking area.
  • Stecoah Gap to Yellow Creek Gap 7.6 miles one way 6-7 hours Difficulty: moderate, with several short steep climbs Elevation range: Stecoah Gap 3,165’ Highest point 3,912’ Yellow Creek Gap 2,980’ Directions to Stecoah Gap — From Bryson City, travel west on US73 to NC28 North. Continue on 28 passing thru the tiny Stecoah community to the intersection with NC 143 (almost 21 miles from Bryson City). Turn left and continue to the top of Stecoah Gap. There’s parking for about seven cars.
  • Wesser to Stecoah Gap 13.6 miles one way 10-11 hours Difficulty: strenuous Elevation range: Wesser 1723’ Highest point 5,062’ Stecoah Gap 3,165’ Very steep eight-mile uphill climb from the Nantahala River (1723’) to Cheoah Bald (5,062’) and then long descent to Stecoah Gap Directions: The AT crosses US19 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Wesser, 14 miles west of Bryson City. Parking is available.

BACKPACKING HIKE

Fontana Dam to Newfound Gap 3-4 days 40.5 miles one way Difficulty: moderate, portions strenuous Elevation range: Fontana Dam 1837’ Clingmans Dome 6625’ Newfound Gap 5049’ Fontana Dam is 32.5 miles west of Bryson City, via US74 and NC28. There’s a parking lot and welcome center at the dam. Cross Fontana Dam and continue 0.6 mile to the trailhead. Hike the steep trail north towards Birch Spring Gap and Doe Knob. The trail climbs more than 2100 feet, with most of that elevation gain coming in the first 2.4 miles. Important: All hikers camping in the backcountry are required to purchase a permit in advance. You will also need reservations at the shelters unless you are thru-hiking (defined by the park as starting your hike more than 50 miles outside the park and ending your hike 50 miles beyond). More information about the special regulations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found on the National Park Service’s permits page.

You Read The Book, You Saw The Movie. We Have The Real Thing.

In the film A Walk in the Woods,Robert Redford & Nick Nolte star as old friends who — ready or not — decide to hike the AT.  Based on Bill Bryson’s bestseller, the movie co-stars Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman & Kristen Schaal. The movie has put a spotlight on the Smokies’ most popular trail — ‘our’ spectacular 71-mile section of the 2,190-mile AT. While most of the film was shot in Georgia, one scene has the intrepid duo walking across Fontana Dam on their way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Shuttle Services

Cherokee Cabs (Cherokee) Smoky Mountain Adventures (Bryson City) Brochure (PDF)

Guidebooks & App

Milestone Press – “Hiking the Carolina Mountains” and “Backpacking Overnights” guidebooks; and the app: “Great Hikes of the Southern Appalachians”

Guided Hikes

PaddleFish Basecamp (Bryson City) Smoky Mountain HIking Tours (Bryson City)

The AT Conservancy and ‘A Walk in the Woods’

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) worked in partnership with the Wildwood Enterprises production team from the film’s planning stages, offering input on locations, advising on script authenticity, and providing signage information, maps, and assuring the accuracy of the movie’s presentation of the hiking experience. Early involvement in “A Walk in the Woods” enabled the AT Conservancy to put a number of proactive measures in place to help manage the expected significant increase in trail usage. When the book was released in 1998, estimated northbound thru-hiker starts rose by 60% over the next 2 years. The Trail has seen an approximate 10% increase in thru-hikers every year since 2010. Use by day-hikers, overnight, and section-hikers have all been increasing. An estimated 3 million people now hike some portion of the Trail each year.

Leave No Trace

To protect the trail, The AT Conservancy urges all hikers to follow these Seven Principles 

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Appalachian National Scenic Trail is managed by the National Park Service

Attractions within a 45-minute to a 1-hour drive

Biltmore House Cataloochee Ski Area Fontana Dam John C. Campbell Folk School North Carolina Arboretum Scottish Tartans Museum WNC Nature Center Wheels Through Time Museum

Attractions within a 1- to 2-hour drive

Cades Cove Chimney Rock Park Cradle of Forestry in America Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge Sliding Rock Biltmore House and Gardens Biltmore House and Gardens Website Interstate 40, Exit 50 Asheville, NC 828-225-1333 or 800-BILTMORE George Vanderbilt’s 250-room mansion (pictured above) is virtually the same as it was at the turn of the 20th century. Sculptures, paintings, furnishing, and household items have been carefully preserved. Tour the gardens and the winery, and enjoy a sumptuous three-course meal or a sandwich in one of several restaurants.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove Website Cades Cove Loop GSMNP / Tennessee 865-436-1200 An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Scattered along the road are about a dozen restored structures. Pick up the self-guiding tour booklet at the entrance. White-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, turkey and other wildlife are often spotted in the valley. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area’s trails. Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round.

Cataloochee Ski & Snowboard Area

Cataloochee Ski & Snowboard Area Website  1080 Ski Lodge Rd. Maggie Valley, NC 828-926-0295 or 800-768-0285 We utilize one the most advanced snow-making systems in the Southeast and offer 100% snow-making on 16 lighted slopes including the Cat Cage Terrain Park. With a variety of terrain for beginners to experts alike and over 4,000 sets of snow sports equipment, the Cataloochee experience offers something for everyone. Snow School lesson programs, night runs, discounts and more.

Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park Website  US 64/74A Chimney Rock, NC 800-277-9611 Spectacular 75-mile views, sheer cliffs and unique rock formations. Trails leading to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls. Famous as the filming site for the climactic scenes of The Last of the Mohicans.

Cradle of Forestry in America

Cradle of Forestry in America Website Off US 276 14 miles NW of Brevard, NC 4 miles South of Blue Ridge Pkwy 828-877-3130 This major visitor attraction was once part of George Vanderbilt’s vast Biltmore Estate. It was here that Dr. Carl Schenck started the first forestry school in the nation and first practiced forest conservation. A visitor center, exhibits, guided tours, historic buildings, and three paved trails lead you back to the era of the first forestry school, established 1898. Open May – October. Near Sliding Rock.

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam Info NC Hwy 28 North of Bryson City 828-498-2234, or 828-498-2251 80 feet high, Fontana is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States. Constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority during the early 1940s to supply electricity to fuel the war effort during World War II. Open for visitors May thru September. Free. History and Guide(pdf)

Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

US 441 on the Tennessee side of the Park These two towns, just five miles apart, serve as the principal Tennessee gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and host most of the Park’s nine million annual visitors. The busy tourist center offers a many attractions including Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, the Ripley’s Aquarium and Dollywood.

John C. Campbell Folk School

John C. Campbell Folk School Website  1 Folk School Road Brasstown, NC 828-837-2775 A school dedicated to the preservation of time-honored crafts, music and dance since 1925. Pottery, basketry, textile arts, blacksmithing, painting, quilting, storytelling, wood-turning, enameling and much more. Multi-day classes, artisan sales and special events.

North Carolina Arboretum

North Carolina Arboretum Website  100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way Asheville, NC 828-665-2492 The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden that offers a wealth of activities for families and kids of all ages. The gardens feature one of the most renowned bonsai collections in the country, as well as a diversity of flower and botanical exhibits all year round.

Scottish Tartans Museum & Heritage Center

Scottish Tartans Museum & Heritage Center Website  86 East Main Street Franklin, NC 828-524-7472 A museum dedicated to the history and heritage of the Scottish Tartan. It focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing, and covers the emigrant experience into North Carolina. It contains the official registry of all publicly known tartans, and is the American extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sliding Rock

Sliding Rock Info Off Hwy 276 7.5 miles NW of Brevard, NC 828-225-1333 or 800-BILTMORE Slide down Mother Nature’s 60-foot smooth rock water slide and plunge into a pool of cool water at the bottom. This is a Forest Service Recreation area with lifeguards and staff on duty from Memorial Day week end through Labor Day. There is a small fee and parking is limited. Near the Cradle of Forestry.

WNC Nature Center

WNC Nature Center Website 75 Gashes Creek Road Asheville, NC 828-298-5600 A living museum of plant and animal wildlife in the Southern Appalachian mountains. The Center is now home to over sixty species of wild and domestic animals and hundreds of species of plants. You’ll find great horned owls, red tailed hawks, screech owls, black bears, bobcats, wolves, foxes, deer, otters and many reptiles like salamanders, snakes and turtles.

Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum

Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum Website 62 Vintage Lane Maggie Valley, NC 828-926-6266 Home to the world’s premier collection of rare American vintage motorcycles, “The Museum That Runs” houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles, including Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Crocker, Henderson, and much more. Enjoy dozens of motorcycle-related exhibits, ranging from board track racers, hill climbing, and original paint machines to American Dirt Track racing, choppers and bobbers, and one-of-a-kind motorcycles. Open Thurs-Monday, late March through November. Check the site for hours and prices.

Cherokee Attractions and Events Are Just Minutes From Bryson City

No visit to the Smoky Mountains would be complete without a trip to Cherokee, where traditional arts and crafts and Native American culture are respected and preserved for coming generations. Much of what is called the Qualla Boundary is within Swain County and we are proud to help you learn more about the original inhabitants of these mountains. Cherokee is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill are located just north of Cherokee on US 441 (Newfound Gap Road). Easy day trips to Clingmans Dome, Gatlinburg, Cades Cove and Pigeon Forge; horseback riding at Smokemont; and great hiking trails are located on US 441. Cherokee is also the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The entrance is on US 441 just north of Cherokee. Enjoy a trip to Waterrock Knob for a beautiful sunset, or just take a scenic drive on this beautiful “back road” of America.

A Beautiful Recreation Area Just 5 Minutes North of Bryson City

Those who think the Great Smoky Mountains are in Tennessee are not even half right. North Carolina encompasses more than half of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and most of that is in Swain County. In fact, one of the most beautiful areas in the National Park is just a few minutes outside Bryson City. Deep Creek – known for waterfalls, trails, swimming and tubing, and fly fishing – has more fun things to do than any other area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So come for a visit and explore the many wonders of Deep Creek! Deep Creek trail was one of the first trails constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the newly legislated National Park in the early 1930s. The current Deep Creek Campground was also the site of the Deep Creek CCC Camp from 1933 to 1936.

Pet Info

Pets are NOT allowed on hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are allowed in Deep Creek campground, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash (no more than 6 feet long) at all times. In the National Park, pets are only allowed on one short walking path — the Oconaluftee River Trail, which begins at the Park Visitor Center in Cherokee. Pets are not allowed on any other park trails, including backcountry areas. Please clean up after your pets, and do not leave them unattended in vehicles or RVs. There are several pet-friendly hiking trails in the Bryson City area. Click or tap to download a printablePDF map of Deep Creek’s trails and waterfalls.

Fontana Lake Has Been Called the Best-kept Secret in the Mountains

The 29-mile long, 11,700-acre Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lake has more than 240 miles of shoreline. And its deep, cold waters provide the ideal habitat for a variety of fish. In fact, record size muskie and walleye have been pulled from its depths. And many believe it’s one of the best smallmouth bass fishing lakes in the country, including the Fisherman’s Bass Tournament Circuit, which held its annual Hall of Fame Classic at Fontana in Fall 2001.   Fontana Lake is unique in many ways. Unlike most lakes in the area, shoreline development has been kept to a minimum. More than 90 percent of the land around the Lake is owned by either the National Park Service or the US Forest Service. Maps of the Lake are available at local fishing stores. Those fortunate enough to go boating on Fontana Lake have a unique perspective of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At places the view is unobstructed from the lake level to the top of towering Clingmans Dome, the Park’s highest peak.]There are a number of private marinas where you can rent a boat, or put your own boat on the lake. You’ll find knowledgeable staff, and plenty of boating and fishing supplies. Shuttle service is offered to Eagle Creek and Hazel Creek – two north shore locations where you can spend time fishing, hiking, exploring and camping in the National Park.

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam itself is an engineering marvel. When completed in November 1944 to produce electricity for the war effort, the 480-foot-high dam became the highest in the Eastern United States and the fourth highest in the nation. The story of its origin is effectively portrayed at the Fontana Dam Visitor Center (Open May to November, 9 am – 7 pm, daily). The 2,147-mile Appalachian Trail crosses Fontana Dam providing a beautiful view of the lake and powerhouse. Annual Drawdown —Fontana is a man-made lake with lake levels controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). From September – November TVA lowers lake levels 60-feet to allow for winter snows and spring rains. Fontana is a very deep lake, so even with lowered lake levels fishing is not compromised and public access ramps are open all year. For more information, visit TVA’s Fontana web page, or read this History PDF. Read a family’s account of a day at Fontana and Cheoah damsa family’s account of a day at Fontana and Cheoah dams.

Fontana’s Finger Lakes Area

In the mountains, most river and lake banks are simply too steep and too rocky to serve as a beach. One exception is the  Finger Lakes Day Use Area of Fontana Lake where you’ll find a small park with picnic tables, public restrooms and a swimming area. Since there are no life guards, you naturally swim at your own risk. Finger Lakes is also a popular access area for canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized boats.

Cheoah’s Dam is Famous But Trout and Muskie Are The Main Attractions

Cheoah Lake was formed in 1919 and is the oldest dam on the Little Tennessee River.Cheoah is 644 acres and 9.5 miles long. At the time it was built, it was the world’s tallest overflow dam at 225 feet and had the largest turbines in the world. Cheoah Dam was made famous in the 1993 movie “The Fugitive” in which Harrison Ford “jumped” from the top of the dam to avoid capture by Tommy Lee Jones. Today the dam is referred to as the “Fugitive Dam”. Cheoah is fed largely by the tailrace of Fontana Dam, which provides a constant flow of clear, cold water that remains at consistent temperatures year around. Rainbow, brown, and brook trout call Cheoah home, with some trout reaching several pounds. Rainbows and muskie are stocked by the state of North Carolina. With plenty of trout to feed upon, the muskie are growing at rapid rates. Bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Forest Service, Cheoah Lake’s shores remain undeveloped and pristine. There is only one boat access ramp – Llewellyn Branch – at the upstream end of the lake, just below Fontana Dam. This ramp and adjacent fishing pier are both handicapped accessible. Because the lake is fairly narrow you won’t see much in the way of pleasure boat or jet ski traffic, only the occasional fisherman in search of trout and muskie.

The upper stretch of the lake fishes much like a tailwater river, and a close eye on generation schedules from Fontana Dam is highly advisable. Both lakes — the 26 mile-long Fontana and the smaller Cheoah — provide exceptional boating for recreation and fishing.

For a Quieter, More Relaxed Smoky Mountains Vacation, Discover the North Carolina Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s half-million acres are equally divided between Tennessee and North Carolina. And with roughly forty percent of the Park in Swain County, Bryson City is the ideal spot for a relaxing Smoky Mountain vacation — away from the more carnival atmosphere of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Even though the GSMNP is the nation’s most-visited national park, most visitors only experience a small portion of the Park. The most popular areas are along US 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee and Cades Cove. But there’s a lot more to see and do, particularly in North Carolina’s half of the Park. Check out the Guide (below) of fun, free things do in the Park on the North Carolina side. Join the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) and enjoy the Hiking 101 program where GSMA members get to explore lesser-used areas of the park with group hikes, while re-enforcing “Leave No Trace” practices and other hiking values designed to ensure safe, satisfying exploration of the GSMNP. GSMA staff and member volunteers will lead and sweep each of the hikes. The GSMA supports the GSMNP with education programs, volunteer work in the Park and financial donations. Smokies Guide – Most visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have picked up a copy of the 16-page quarterly Smokies Guide at a visitors center. And now you can read it online before your visit to the Smokies. Printable guide to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Swain County / Bryson City Chamber of Commerce. Wildflowers in the Smokies (pdf) Dogs are only allowed on one GSMNP trail (on a leash), and there are several pet-friendly hiking trails in the Bryson City area.

Western North Carolina is Famous for its Scenic Mountain Roads and Spectacular Views

Make Swain County your home basefor a mountain vacation, and get ready to enjoy some of the most scenic roads in the country. Whether you drive on four-wheels or two, you’ll love our curvy mountain roads with endless mountain vistas, sparkling rivers and creeks, lush forests and peaceful valleys. Our most well-known drives take you through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala Gorge, to Fontana Dam, on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cherohala Skyway, down The Road to Nowhere, and along the infamous Dragon at Deals Gap. Yet there are plenty of side trips down country roads that take you to that perfect picnic spot or fishing hole – or just a drive for the joy of the journey.

Click to learn more about the “Road to Nowhere.”

Printable pdf of Scenic Drives

3 Roads in WNC Voted Tops for Motorcycles

USA Today readers have picked 3 WNC roads in the 10 best for a motorcycle trip. The Dragon at Deal’s Gap was picked #4, The Blue Ridge Parkway #5, and the Cherohala Skyway was #6. July, 2014. Read more from the article. American Motorcyclist Association also named these 3 C among the top 15 best in America to ride. AMA members ranked The Blue Ridge Parkway # 2, US 129 The Dragon #3, and The Cherohala Skyway #7. Nearly 100 roads in the US were on the ballot. “When it comes to the best places in the country to ride motorcycles, no group of riders is more knowledgeable than AMA members,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. Read more in AMA magazine– April 2011 issue.

The Sight and Sound of Falling Water is Magical, Even When the Falls Are Only a Few Feet High

A walk or drive beside any mountain stream will lead you by hundreds of tumbling cascades as the waters rush down from the peaks of the Smokies. But the high falls are the most spectacular, and Swain County offers some of the best in the Smokies, including Deep Creek’s trio of waterfalls – Juney Whank, Tom Branch and Indian Creek Falls. Download 2-page regional waterfalls booklet.

Dining

Bryson City’s Area Restaurants Offer Something for Every Taste

For a small town, Bryson City has quite a variety of restaurant choices — from southern home cooking, hickory-smoked barbeque, piled-high deli sandwiches, and juicy hamburgers — to gourmet meals, or ethnic foods like Italian or Mexican.

There are Nantahala Gorge restaurants where you can watch whitewater rafting riverside, or have a quick lunch before spending an afternoon on the water.

You’ll find Bryson City restaurants that serve family style, buffet-style, or in an intimate and romantic setting. You can dine indoors by candlelight or at a sidewalk cafe, or just pop into one of our fast food restaurants. We’ve even got an old-fashioned family run drive-in.

Click to View Restaurants

Hot Diggity Dog

828-736-0968

Hot Diggity Dog is the most delicious and nutritious recipe for a 3-bite marinated and grilled hotdog in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Water’s Edge Seafood & Grill

1101 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-7977

Locally owned restaurant specializing in seafood. We bring the coast fresh to you! Also serving steaks, burgers, chicken and southern style cooking. Daily specials offered. Open Monday & Tuesday 4-8pm Thursday thru Saturday 4-9pm and Sunday Noon – 3pm. Seafood Buffet, Friday & Saturday 5-9pm and Country Buffet on Sunday from 12-3pm.

CJ’s Grille

47 Depot St.
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9880

Family friendly restaurant with full bar, pet friendly outdoor covered deck, and pool tables and games conveniently located just across from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in the heart of downtown Bryson City. Daily food and drink specials, weekend live entertainment, and NFL Ticket for those fall football weekends.

Jimmy Mac’s

121 Main St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-4700

Offering both lunch and dinner in a casual and inviting atmosphere on Main Street, Jimmy Mac’s features a full menu including soups, salads, appetizers, burgers, steaks, seafood and more.

Pasqualino’s Italian Restaurant

25 Everett St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9555

Enjoy classic Italian favorites served in a rustic yet refined atmosphere. Full lunch and dinner menus with daily evening specials. Full bar and extensive wine list. Catering available and larger groups are welcome with reservations required.

Great Smoky Mountains Winery

70 Veterans Boulevard
Bryson City, NC 28713
828-788-1346

Great Smoky Mountains Winery Website

While away an afternoon or evening at the Great Smoky Mountains Winery; Bryson City’s newest full service restaurant. Enjoy the ambiance of the fully restored 1911 building, complete with original walls and floors and local reclaimed brick and barn wood accents. Savor a glass or bottle from our extensive wine list, and pair it with fresh salads, tapas, brick oven pizza, or dessert.

Boxcar Cafè & Cones

26 Frye Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-5379

Conveniently located across from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot in Bryson City, Boxcar Cafè & Cones offers a varied menu including burgers, wraps, wings, hummus and more. In the mood for something sweet? We offer 16 flavors of hand dipped ice cream available in cones, cups or shakes.

Everett Street Diner

126 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-0123

A traditional style breakfast and lunch as well as a variety of sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, and desserts that will satisfy the taste of any patron. Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 7 am – 2 pm, Sunday 7:30 – 11:30 am. Some closures in January, call first.

Bar-B-Que Wagon

610 Main St
Bryson City, NC 28173

828-488-9521

Open Tuesday through Saturday 11am-8 pm. April 1 through November 1. Open extra days during July and color season. Hickory smoked pit BBQ made on the premises.

Mountain Perks Espresso Bar & Cafe

9 Depot St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9561

Great Smoky Mountains Winery Website

Custom roasted coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, freezes and master blended teas. Great selection of gourmet wraps, salads, quiche, vegetarian and gluten free dishes and soup. Also handmade bagels and tasty cream cheeses, muffins, baked goods and bagel or croissant sandwiches. Free Wi-Fi. Eat in, on the porch, or carry out. Delivery service available.

Fontana Village Restaurants

300 Woods Rd.
Fontana Dam, NC 28733

828-498-221

Website

Fontana Village offers a number of dining options for resort guests and visiting day trippers. The Mountview Restaurant and Bears Den Lounge located in the Lodge at Fontana offer an ever changing menu for breakfast and dinner. The Wildwood Grill in the Village Center offers tasty casual fare, cocktails and live entertainment.

Cork & Bean Bistro

16 Everett St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-1934

Website

With a charming rustic atmosphere, attentive service and contemporary American cuisine, we offer great food using responsibly sourced ingredients with a focus on organic, local, sustainable and seasonal fare. Our chefs artfully blend this fresh concept with a twist on traditional southern influences. Craft beer, select wines and full bar.

The Iron Skillet

165 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-4766

Featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with fresh salads, wings, burgers, phillies, and homestyle daily specials. Private room available for groups or meetings. Free Wi-Fi

The Filling Station Deli & Sub Shop

145 Everett St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-1919

The Filling Station Deli & Sub Shop Website

Fresh made to order sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts, and outstanding customer service make The Filling Station Deli & Sub Shop your first choice for quality dining in Bryson City. Monday-Wednesday, 11am-4pm, Thursday-Saturday, 11am-7pm, closed on Sundays.

Guayabitos Mexican Restaurant

236 Hwy 19 South
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-1336

Authentic Mexican fare, full bar and lively atmosphere. Private rooms available for all your celebrations. Open daily all year for lunch and dinner. 11am-2:30 pm lunch and 5 pm-10 pm for dinner.

Anthony’s Restaurant and Derailed Bar & Lounge

15 Depot Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-8898

Anthony’s Restaurant and Derailed Bar & Lounge Website

Authentic hand-tossed pizza, burgers, homemade dinners, appetizers, subs, paninis, salads & desserts. Large selection of craft, imported and domestic beers; full bar and wine. Inside and covered outdoor dining; with relaxed lounge seating areas in Derailed Bar. Free wifi. Across from train depot.

Nate and Nick’s

225 Everett Street Suite D
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-0500

Locally owned and operated pizzeria and grill. We offer only the highest quality ingredients and serve hand crafted beers in a unique setting. We take pride in providing our customers with a memorable experience that keeps them coming back time and time again.

The Chocolate Shoppe

134 Everett St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-488-9119

Come inside and smell the chocolate! Hand dipped chocolates and made-in-store fudges, caramel apples, brittles, specialty popcorns, pralines, and a selection of uniques candies. Plus 24 flavors of creamy and delicious premium ice cream made especially for the Chocolate Shoppe including flavors for the diabetic and lactose intolerant.

Soda Pop’s Ice Cream Parlor

125 Everett St
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-788-0013

Soda Pop’s Ice Cream Parlor Website

Soda Pop’s, established in 2000 as a family business, Bryson City’s only ’40’s and ’50’s old fashioned Soda Fountain located in the heart of downtown. Specializing in Coca-Cola memorabilia. Our setting will take you and your kids back in time!

La Dolce Vita Bakery

191 Everett St.
Bryson City, NC 28713

828-538-4109

La Dolce Vita Bakery Website

La Dolce Vita Bakery is a farm to table dessert bakery. We specialize in custom order cakes and cupcakes made from the best local ingredients. We will have a variety of desserts and specialty desserts available daily. Now serving fresh Italian gelato daily!

Nantahala Outdoor Center Restaurants

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713

800-232-7238
828-488-6900

Nantahala Outdoor Center Restaurants Website

When you visit the Nantahala Gorge, be sure to bring your appetite! NOC’s River’s End and Big Wesser BBQ & Brew offer a little something for everyone. Whether you crave a juicy cheeseburger, a light salad, BBQ or mountain trout, you can enjoy with a view of the river or a view of the smoke rising in the mountains. Menus change throughout the season. Free Wi-Fi.

Area Beverage Policies

Restaurants
The town of Bryson City permits the sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits; and a number of Bryson City restaurants offer beer, wine and mixed drinks.

Outside of the city limits, only certain qualifying resort properties are permitted to serve alcohol by the drink as well as beer and wine. Restaurants at the Nantahala Outdoor Center are permitted to serve only beer and wine.

In Cherokee, beer, wine and mixed drinks are served only in the Harrah’s Casino & Hotel restaurants and on the Casino floor. The remainder of the Cherokee Indian Reservation is dry.

Because of differing policies, restaurant patrons are advised to check with the restaurant ahead of time.

Bottle Sales
In Bryson City, liquors are sold at the ABC Store at 254 Veterans Boulevard (next to Arby’s) (9 to 9, Monday through Saturday). 828-488-6682.

Beer, wine and mixers are sold only at grocery stores, convenience stores and package stores within the city limits. Hours vary from store to store, but may be from 6 am to midnight, except on Sunday, when sales are only permitted from noon to 6 pm.

Driving Directions to Bryson City

From Asheville, NC (approximately one hour) Take I-40 west to Exit 27 (the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway). Continue West on US 74 past Waynesville, Sylva and Dillsboro to Bryson City.

From West Atlanta (approximately 3 hours) take I-75 north to I-575 north, which becomes Georgia route 5. At Blue Ridge, GA, turn left (west) on to Route 60 and travel 1.5 miles to Mineral Bluff, GA. Turn right on to Route “60 Spur” and travel approximately 12 miles to the junction with US 19/74. Turn right (east) and proceed on US 19/74 through Murphy, NC, Andrews, NC and the Nantahala Gorge to Bryson City. The drive from Murphy to Bryson City is approximately one hour.

From East Atlanta (approximately 3 hours) take I-85 north to I-985, which becomes US 23, which becomes US 23/441.You’ll pass through Clayton, GA, Franklin, NC and Dillsboro, NC. Just past Dillsboro, take US 74 (the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway) west to Bryson City.

From Charlotte (approximately three hours) Take I-85 west to US 74. Continue west on US 74 to I-26. Go north on I-26 to I-40. Take I-40 west to Exit 27 (US 74, the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway). Continue West on US 74 past Waynesville, Sylva and Dillsboro to Bryson City. Exit 67 is Veterans Boulevard (Downtown Bryson City).

From Spartanburg and Greenville(approximately two to 2-1/2 hours) From Spartanburg, take I-26 north to I-40. Take I-40 west to Exit 27 (US 74, the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway). Continue West on US 74 past Waynesville, Sylva and Dillsboro to Bryson City. Exit 67 is Veterans Boulevard (Downtown Bryson City). The drive from Spartanburg to Bryson City is approximately two hours, or 2-1/2 hours from Greenville.

From Chattanooga (approximately 2-1/2 hours) Take I-75 north to US 64 (near Cleveland, TN). Drive east on US 64 (which becomes US 64/74) through Ducktown, TN and the Ocoee River Gorge into North Carolina. At Murphy, NC take US 19/74 east through Andrews, NC and the Nantahala Gorge to Bryson City.

From Knoxville, you have a choice of four routes. Driving time depends on route and traffic.

1. Via Interstate 40 – Take I-40 east into North Carolina to exit 27 (US 74, the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway). Continue West on US 74 past Waynesville, Sylva and Dillsboro to Bryson City. Exit 67 is Veterans Boulevard (Downtown Bryson City). The drive from Knoxville to Bryson City is approximately two hours.

2. Via US 129 – Take US 129 south through Alcoa and Maryville. After crossing into North Carolina, take US 28 south to US 74 (the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway). Continue east on US 74 approximately 10 miles to Bryson City. Note: the section of US 129 known as “Deals Gap” and “The Tail of The Dragon” is extremely curvy (318 curves in 11 miles). The drive from Knoxville to Bryson City is approximately 2-1/2 to three hours

3. Via Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Take I-40 east to exit 407 and proceed south. At Sevierville, TN, take US 441 south through Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Cherokee, NC. At Cherokee, take US 19 south to Bryson City. Depending on traffic, the drive from Knoxville to Bryson City can be from 2-1/2 to four hours.

4. Via Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Take US 129 south through Alcoa to Maryville. In Maryville, take US 321 east to Townsend, TN. From Townsend, take Little River Road east through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to US 441 (at the Park Visitors Center). Take US 441 south through the park to Cherokee, NC. At Cherokee, take US 19 south to Bryson City. Depending on traffic, the drive from Knoxville to Bryson City is approximately three hours.

Area Weather
Bryson City
51°
scattered clouds
humidity: 93%
wind: 2mph WNW
H 51 • L 51
70°
Fri
80°
Sat
70°
Sun
81°
Mon
77°
Tue
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

A Great Climate For Outdoor Activities Year ‘Round

Few climates anywhere in the world can match the year-round pleasant nature of Swain County’s climate. The lack of seasonal extremes allows for frequent outdoor activities and comfortable living throughout the year. Among the most valued aspects of Swain County’s climate are the cool summer nights which have lured visitors to the area for generations.

In the Bryson City area, July temperatures reflect an average daily high of 84 degrees and an average low of 62.4 degrees. Winter temperatures, while cool, are not uncomfortable. The average daily high in January is 47.5 degrees, while the average low is 26 degrees.

Annual Climate Averages for Bryson City

High
(F)
Low
(F)
Rain  Snow 
Jan 47.5 26.0 3.48 4.6
Feb 50.6 27.6 3.60 2.8
Mar 58.4 34.4 5.13 1.6
Apr 68.6 42.7 3.84 0.9
May  75.6 51.0 4.19 0.0
Jun 81.4 58.2 4.20 0.0
Jul 84.0 62.4 4.43 0.0
Aug 83.5 61.6 4.79 0.0
Sept 77.9 55.8 3.96 0.0
Oct 68.7 43.3 3.29 0.0
Nov 58.6 34.2 3.29 0.0
Dec 50.3 28.2 3.51 0.0

NC Mountains Realty and Cabin Rental would like to thank the
Bryson City and Swain County Chamber of Commerce for use of their content for this travel guide.