Nantahala River Rafting: Guided Duck Trip

Paddle your own adventure in an inflatable kayak alongside an NOC professionally trained guide. Great for learning new whitewater techniques and exploring the Nantahala River.

1-5 2-5 Staff teaching guests safety tips on the Nantahala River Rafting: Guided Duck Trip 3-5



A guided ducky adventure is perfect for guests who enjoyed the rafting adventures but want a little more of a challenge. “Duckies” or inflatable kayaks are nimble one or two-person boats that put you right at water level and in control of your river run. Professionally trained guides will paddle alongside sharing techniques and demonstrating the best lines for rapids along the Nantahala River. Explore eight miles of Class II rapids to prepare for the big finish at Class III Nantahala Falls.

NOC provides a pre-trip orientation, professionally maintained boats suitable for any group size, a highly trained guide, and a shuttle to the put-in.


  • Ducky rentals are ideal for guests in good physical condition, that want to take the adventure to the next level, but still have an experienced guide along for the ride.
  • Practice paddling skills along the perfect mix of fun class II-III rapids, waves, and splashes with calmer floating spots, finishing with Nantahala Falls.
  • NOC provides high quality boats and gear to fit inflatable duckies in single or tandem.
  • The Nantahala River is the quintessential mountain river with spectacular scenery and clear water.

What to Expect

A rentals rafting or ducky trip will take approximately 3 hours total with 2 hours spent on the river.

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Please check-in for your trip 30 minutes prior to your reservation on the Adventure Deck at NOC Bryson City.

After a brief orientation and video, you’ll get geared up with pfds and paddles and load onto the big blue bus to shuttle to the river put in. An NOC trained guide will paddle with you, coaching you through bouncy waves, cool mountain water, and fun rapids ending at Nantahala Falls. Duckies may increase your chances of swimming more than a raft would, so prepare to get wet.

Nantahala River Rafting

nantahala river rafting

Nantahala river rafting where you are the captain. Experience the Nantahala on your terms and create an adventure all your own. We provide the gear, transportation, and instruction then set you on your way to fun. Read more…

Ducky Trips

nantahala river rafting

Looking for a bigger Nantahala river rafting adventure, then try our duckies. Our highly maneuverable duckies allow you to be in total control of you adventure. Our duckies come in both single and double models. Read more…

Nantahala River Rafting

Nantahala River Rafting is a family friendly adventure located on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Western North Carolina. The clean, cool, and mellow whitewater of the Nantahala River is a great choice for beginners and families, with kids needing to be only 7 year old or 60lbs.

The Nantahala River flows through the bottom of the Nantahala Gorge in a temperate rain forest that gives way to breathtaking scenery and vegetation, where something is almost always in bloom. For 8 miles you will paddle through class I-II rapids preparing you for the only class III rapid at the very end, Nantahala Falls. There are no worries about water levels because the Nantahala River is dam controlled providing consistent reliable seven day a week water. The Nantahala Rafting season is one of the longest in the southeast going from the beginning of April through October.

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The more adventurist Nantahala River rafter can choose between a Non-Guided trip or Ducky trip. These options allow you to be the captain of your own boat and in control of your own adventure.

– Who We Are –

A top valued outfitter offering highly customizable trips.

“ Funny and professional guide. Had an absolutely amazing time on this trip. The guide my group was stuck with was a very funny man that also knew what he was doing. Something I plan on going back and doing again.”

Rafting on the Nantahala River in the Great Smoky Mountains

rafting the rapids on the Nantahala

Any vacation in the Smoky Mountains region of North Carolina should include rafting down the Nantahala River. Paddlers of all experience levels, including experts, families with children, or older generations, can enjoy unforgettable experiences on the spectacular waters of the Nantahala.

About The Nantahala River

The Nantahala is one of the most famous rivers in the Southeastern United States and a popular spot for rafters, canoeing, and kayaking. Its Hydroelectric dam-controlled flows mean you can always count on a fun trip. The river is part of an eight-mile-long scenic gorge that cuts through the Nantahala National Forest, the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina.

Commercial rafting of the Nantahala began in 1972 with the opening of the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Today, ten different outfitters operate on the Nantahala, bringing in thousands of paddlers annually.

Previously, the Nantahala has hosted the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Canoe Freestyle World Championships. While portions of the river are thrilling enough for expert rafters and the like to take daring trips, other spots are gentle enough for families with young children to enjoy.

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Take A Trip Down River

Paddlers on the Nantahala wave to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad train as it passes by them.

Photo Courtesy Swain County TDA / Chamber of Commerce.

Rafting on the Nantahala is one of the most popular activities at this outdoor recreation destination. As you travel down the crystal clear river, you’ll be treated to incredible views of this beautiful mountain gorge. Plus, rafting isn’t the only way to travel – you can canoe or kayak it as well! Discover for yourself why so many people come back year after year to play in this natural wonderland.

Other Outdoor Adventures In The Area

Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and more can all be a part of your Smoky Mountains adventure vacation! Come where the shopping is unique, the adventures are exciting, and the mountain air is fresh!

Whether you choose to go gem mining, ziplining, explore a trail on horseback, or visit one of the many museums here in the Great Smoky Mountains, there are so many opportunities for fun and excitement, as well as plenty of culture and history!

Plan Your Getaway Today

We can help you find the perfect place to stay, great places to eat and drink, and other spectacular adventures to have on your trip! Start planning your vacation to Western North Carolina today, and remember, your summer trip would be incomplete without planning to raft down the beautiful Nantahala River!




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