North Carolina rafting brings adventure to life, and with three major rivers to explore, paddlers will have plenty of exciting twists and turns along every route. While the general consensus is that the warm summer months are the best time for North Carolina white water rafting, adventurers can visit the at rapids just about any time of the year. With beautiful fall foliage and lush green springs, you never know what you’ll see when traveling along one of the North Carolina rivers, many of which run through scenic sections of the Great Smoky Mountains or the Appalachians.
North Carolina white water rafting can be experienced on any one of the three major rivers situated in the western region of the state, where the mountains rise up from the earth, the New River, the French Broad River, and the Nantahala River. Not so aptly named, the New River is one of the oldest in the world, and its gentle water flows make it popular among families and beginners; trips along this river typically begin around Boone, near the town of Todd and not far from the Tennessee border.
The French Broad River is rougher, promising a thrilling ride from beginning to end. This is the closest option for rafting trips near the town of Asheville, which is due west of Greensboro, and the rafting trips are suited to intermediate rafters, or ate least those who have had a little experience—they’re generally Class III. However, there are both calmer and rougher stretches, ranging from Class II through Class IV, so check with your guide to make sure you pick a trip that suits your party.
Of the three white water rivers in North Carolina, the Nantahala River is the most popular. Not only will paddlers find impossibly spectacular beauty just about everywhere along the river, especially in the Nantahala River Gorge, but they’re also often interested to know that the waters are controlled by a dam, ensuring constant water flow throughout the season. The Nantahala has Class II and Class III rapids, which make it a great place to learn. There are more than twenty named sections of rapids, and the river flows through Nantahala National Forest, meaning the scenery is spectacular as well.
Because snowmelt runoff begins in the spring, lasting throughout summer and into autumn, the busiest season continues to be the summer, when the water is high and the weather is warm. Depending on the amount of snow and rainfall throughout the year, the water levels generally vary, with the highest levels in the spring and the most consistent levels during the course of the summer. The Nantahala River, being managed by a hydroelectric dam, releasing cool water from the Nantahala Lake, offers a reliable rafting water level for an extended period of time, unlike other rivers in the state.
While North Carolina white water rafting, paddlers will encounter tons of breathtaking scenery and a host of wild animals. Hiking and camping are two excellent ways to enjoy the experience of the gorgeous wilderness of North Carolina. The lush greenery is verdantly plentiful in late spring and through the summer, and in the autumn, when the leaves are changing and the air is softly fragrant, the landscaping is especially beautiful.