Nantahala Outdoor Center: The Great Outpost in Gatlinburg

The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has locations in Tennessee and North Carolina, with a flagship outdoor gear store called the Great Outpost in Gatlinburg, on Parkway at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Known for its whitewater rafting adventures on the Nantahala River, NOC offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including kayaking, zip-lining, mountain biking, hiking, and more.

Image courtesy of Nantahala Outdoor Center

Good Morning America called Nantahala Outdoor Center the “Number One Vacation With a Splash” for its rafting trips. The company runs guided trips along the Upper Pigeon River, with Class II-IV rapids, and also offers slow and easy rafting and tubing along the Lower Pigeon River, for young kids and those who prefer a quiet life.

Nantahala’s Great Outpost retail location is a place to book a trip and also to shop the vast range of outdoor gear in this 18,000 square foot store. Kids won’t be bored at the Outpost: try walking the suspended swinging rope bridge, explore a bear cave, climb up the 25-foot wall or just chill by the enormous fireplace and enjoy the mountain lodge feel of the Outpost.

Nantahala Outdoor Center has been around for over 50 years, and has a national reputation for safe and fun adventures in the mountain waters – and dry land too. Between the two states, NOC offers six different rivers to raft on, with trained guides and fun options for all ages. Trips can be half-day or whole day.

With adventures ranging through Georgia and North Carolina as well as Tennessee, Nantahala Outdoor Center can take you ziplining in the Smoky Mountains and along the Nantahala River, and give the kids a ropes course and treetop adventure park to explore too.

The company offers mountain biking tours in North Carolina (not allowed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park – but see our guide to biking in the area for some other great opportunities close by).

NOC offers kayaking instruction from paddling to whitewater with local and guest experts, as well as swift-water rescue training and wilderness first aid (always a handy thing to know in the Smoky Mountains). The expertise available is high, and you can train all the way up to the level of becoming an instructor yourself if you want.

Nantahala Outdoor Center also offers discounts and group deals for many classes of people, from church groups to families to corporate outings.

Useful Information

Nantahala Outdoor Center – Great Outpost
1138 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (Light #10)
Tel: (865) 277-8209

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