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 along US 19/74 and from Bryson City. Expect an approximate 20-30 minute shuttle ride to a central location at the event venue. From the drop-off area, it will be an approximate 1–2 minute walk to the viewing areas. More information on shuttles coming soon

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

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.



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. Please visit our lodging partner page to view a variety of lodging options.

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

Cherokee, Town of
Smoky Mountain Host


The Nantahala Gorge is located in the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, about 80 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina; and about 15 minutes south of Bryson City, NC, and about 15 minutes north of Andrews, NC.

The venue is the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), a recreational resort setting, where you will find several restaurants, restroom facilities, outfitter's store, convenience store and plenty of activities to get spectators active and having fun when they are not watching the event.

Spectators can also expect an Appalachian heritage area, highlighting traditional Cherokee and Appalachian folk arts, crafts, dances and music. The festival will also feature an assortment of family activities, paddlesports, fun races, gear demos, facepainting, bouncy house and kids games.

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.