Planning Your Trip: Airports & Lodging Near The Nantahala Gorge in Western North Carolina

The area has no public transportation. However, due to limited venue parking, event organizers will provide shuttle services into the Nantahala Gorge from Bryson City and surrounding towns during the events.

Rental cars are available at the six major airports serving the area —

Asheville, NC (80 miles)

Chattanooga, TN (117 miles)

Greenville, SC (140 miles)

Knoxville, TN (157 miles)

Atlanta, GA (162 miles)

Charlotte, NC (185 miles)


Private aircraft also have a choice of two small airports nearby — The Western Carolina Regional Airport in Andrews, NC, or the Macon County Airport in Franklin, NC.

Please note: GPS navigation systems do not always provide the most desirable routes through the mountains.


Much of western North Carolina is rural and mountainous, and lodging consists of small hotels and motels, bed and breakfasts, rental cabins and other vacation rentals.

Cherokee County
Clay County
Graham County Travel &
    Graham County Chamber
Haywood County
Jackson County
Macon County
Swain County

Cherokee, Town of


The Nantahala Gorge — site of the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships and the 2012 World Cup — is located in the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, about 80 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina.

The area is best known as home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — the nation's most-visited national park. This 800 square-mile sanctuary straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina border with half of the Park in each state.

The Nantahala Gorge is centrally located in the middle of North Carolina's seven far western counties. Information about the entire region can be found at Smoky Mountain Host.