Wildwater Nantahala Area Bucket List

Are you looking for things to do this summer?  In continuation of our “Bucket List” blogs, we want to include a list of “must-dos” in the Nantahala Gorge Area.

  1. Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. A unique adventure in itself—this year you can also ride a legit steam engine.  Personal suggestion: Ride either the BBQ and Brews or the Railroad Reserve evening trains.  The evening light on the Smokies is gorgeous, and the train stops on the trestle over Fontana to give ample time for enjoying the view.  Wildwater also offers railroad & activity packages.
  2. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This year the National Park Service celebrates its 100th  Anniversary.  What better time to experience the Smokies?  For an easy, beautiful hike, we suggest viewing the waterfalls at the Deep Creek entrance.
  3. Zip at Wildwater’s Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours. Across Fontana Lake from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this canopy tour takes you through deciduous forests before giving some of the best long range views of the Park.
  4. Walk across Fontana Dam. The ¼ mile long Fontana Dam has several claims to fame.  It is not only part of the Appalachian Trail (yes you can say you walked part of the AT), it is also the tallest dam east of the Mississippi.  Fontana Dam was recently highlighted in the movie, A Walk in the Woods.
  5. Raft the Nantahala River. The Nantahala River gives one of the best pictures of the dichotomy between modern development and natural beauty.  Bordered by Nantahala National Forest on one side and development on the other, the Nantahala highlights the importance of natural preservation!  Wildwater opens for rafting next week!
  6. Visit the “Road to Nowhere”. Upon creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the federal government promised the displaced residents of Swain County a new road that would provide access to the old family cemeteries where generations of ancestors remained behind.  That road, known as the “Road to Nowhere,” was never completed and ends at a tunnel 6 miles into the National Park.
  7. Stay in a unique place! Whether a yurt perched atop the Nantahala Gorge, a tree house beside a river, or a remote mountain resort, this area has some of the most unique lodging possibilities around!

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