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Best Places for White Water Rafting in North Carolina

Updated on June 11, 2017

North Carolina has endless activities and destinations just waiting for visitors to experience. Amongst them is white water rafting down the state's numerous rivers. Beyond all the sights and excursions across North Carolina, white water rafting is one of the most adventurous activities that you can do in the state. That is, if you're up for it. Below are some of North Carolina's rivers that are popular destinations for white water rafting.

North Carolina Mountains (Nantahala Bridge) Nimur at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
North Carolina Mountains (Nantahala Bridge) Nimur at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Green River

This dam-controlled river features ravines, coves, and a section of the river is calm enough for river tubing also. The river is active, and open for whitewater rafting, for the majority of the year. Even as other rivers in the area are not open to whitewater activities, the Green River is likely to be open.

The Upper Green section of the river is considered moderate in difficulty and is 3.7 miles in total length. The Lower Green section of the river is the least difficult section of the river and is frequented by tubers and beginners. It is around 6 miles in length.

The final section, the Narrows, is the most difficult section of the river and features numerous rapids that of the highest difficulty (class V). It's traveled by experienced whitewater rafters and not recommended for those not experienced in whitewater rafting. The section is around 3 miles in length.

Green River

Pigeon River

Another dam-controlled river and the upper section of the river is accessible from the Tennessee/North Carolina border. It's the upper section that is most popular for white water rafters. As the lower section is a calmer section of the river. The upper section runs through a gorge and features class III and IV whitewater rapids. The name of the river comes from the long-extinct passenger pigeon, as the river was along their migration path.

Pigeon River (North Carolina & Tennessee)

French Broad River

The French Broad River is the 3rd oldest river in the world and features class I to class IV rapids. It also has the warmest waters and is one of the less-frequented rivers in the list. So you're sure to enjoy your visit without as many visitors present on the river. One of the most frequented whitewater rapid sections, featuring Class III-IV rapids, is around Barnard Road in Marshall, North Carolina.

French Broad River

Nantahala River

The most popular whitewater rafting river in the list and also has the coolest water, temperature-wise. The Nantahala River is a dam-controlled river and features numerous class II-III whitewater rapids and many scenic sections. The length of the Lower Run of the river is around 8 miles. The Upper Run is meant for more experienced whitewater rafters with its Class III-V rapids.

The Nantahala River

If you have any recommendations of great places for whitewater rafting in North Carolina then feel free to leave them in the comments.


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