Rafting

Highlands

The town of Highlands was supposed to become a hub of commerce in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, had its founders had their way.  In 1875, two developers in Kansas drew two lines--one between New York and New Orleans, the other from Chicago to Savannah.  Where the lines crossed, they believed would become a crossroads of trade. 

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Hot Springs

People have been visiting Hot Springs, a tiny village in the Blue Ridge Mountains, as a spa destination for more than 200 years. The Native Americans were the first to discover and use the warm mineral waters, followed by early traders and settlers in the latter years of the 18th century.

The Buncombe Turnpike brought more people through what was then known as Warm Springs, drovers herding thousands of cattle, hogs, horses, even turkeys, to Southern markets.  What a treat it must have been to stop in Hot Springs to "take the waters" on that long, dusty hike.

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Marshall

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Marshall

The community of Marshall hugs the banks of the French Broad River in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, a short distance north of Asheville, and is the county seat for Madison County. 

Named for U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, the community has an iconic building in the impressive Madison County Courthouse, designed and built by the famed architect Richard Sharp Smith in 1906.

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Whitewater Fun in the Blue Ridge

Some of the best whitewater in the country is right here in Western North Carolina.

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Nolichucky River

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Nantahala National Forest

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Nolichucky River

The Nolichucky River, near Spruce Pine, North Carolina, is considered one of the most spectacular whitewater rafting destinations in the eastern United States. This isolated river is flanked by one of the steepest and most beautiful gorges in North Carolina. Over 25 named Class III-V rapids test rafters' skills as the river winds through the Pisgah National Forest and Cherokee National Forest.

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Nantahala National Forest

The Nantahala National Forest anchors the far southwestern corner of North Carolina with over 528,000 acres of protected forest and high mountain wilderness. Within the National Forest, the Nantahala River flows through a gorge so lush that it only gets direct sunlight at mid-day. Nantahala is Cherokee for "land of the noonday sun."

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French Broad River

North Carolina's French Broad River is the third oldest river in the world, older than the mountains it passes through.  It is so old, in fact, that it is practically devoid of fossils.

French and Cherokee History

The river was named the French Broad to distinguish it from North Carolina's other Broad River and because the territory into which it drained was held by the French.  The Cherokees had several names for river, including Tah-kee-os-tee or "racing waters," as well as Poe-li-co, Agiqua, and Zillicoah.

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