In this 3-part series we are going to explore a few of the best rafting rivers in North Carolina and Tennessee! The rivers that we are featuring are the Nolichucky, French Broad, and Watauga; all of which begin in one state and travel into another. These rivers have a long history of nurturing the Appalachian Mountains while also providing hours of fun to locals and visitors alike. We hope that next time you find yourself south of wild, wonderful WV and have an urge to raft that you check out one of these rivers!
Part 1 of our series is the…… Nolichucky!
While the origins of the name-place have long been debated and remain unclear, it is believed to come from a distortion of the nearby Cherokee village resting in present day Jonesborough, TN called (roughly) Na’na-tlu gun’yi, which has been interpreted “Spruce-Tree Place.”
The Nolichucky River holds an important place in the history and culture of the areas that it runs through. It is believed that the name is derived from a nearby Cherokee village in Jonesborough, TN, where it was called “Na’na-tlu gun’yi” – which means Spruce Tree Place. It runs for over 100 miles and its mouth can be found at the French Broad (PS: we will have a post about that soon too!).
Rafting on the Nolichucky is both expansive and beautiful. The classes of river vary depending on season, but there is sure to be an option to suit rafters of all levels. It generally is considered to be a Class III-IV, but the lower Nolichucky is an inviting option for new rafters. While you are on your trip down the Nolichucky River, be sure to take in the beauty and nature of your surroundings. It is not uncommon to see a variety of different wildlife families, such as deer or bear along the sides of the river. Not sure you want the full whitewater rafting experience just yet? Hop on down to the lower Nolichucky, where tubing and float trips are the norm – and are great family time activities!
After the raft, there are many other outdoor activities to enjoy. Experienced guides can show you how to rappel down the cliffs – or how to climb to the top! If heights aren’t your thing, the area hiking and mountain biking are spectacular, with views to rival any other. So, when you are ready to explore Tennessee and North Carolina – but want a unique way to do so – try the Nolichucky River!