Getting on/off a charter bus; driving 40 miles, approximately 45 minutes to Bryson City. Walking up to 1 mile, standing in line to board trains, high step into and out of train, lugging raft with raft mates to riverside, paddling rafts down the Nantahala River (bring a towel and change of clothes).
In the dining room, we will start our day with a hearty breakfast buffet featuring eggs, meat option, bread, biscuits or pancakes, grits, and cold cereal, with coffee, tea, water, juice included.
We’ll depart by charter bus for the quaint town of Bryson City and its historic train depot. All aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad! We will enjoy the scenic beauty of the area as the train journeys across fertile valleys, river gorges, and a trestle bridge spanning Lake Fontana in a spectacular region called the Great Smoky Mountains. At the crest of the river gorge, we will stop briefly as the engine uncouples and moves to the opposite end of the train to take us down the river gorge to our endpoint at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
We will enjoy some local fare at a nearby restaurant.
After lunch, we'll raft down the Nantahala River, one of America's most popular rafting runs. We will begin our adventure with a paddling orientation and then depart for our 8-mile rafting journey. Each raft will be staffed with an expert rafter from the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Bring a change of clothing, we might get wet!
Near the Nantahala Outdoor Center, we’ll enjoy a meal including entrees of southern favorites and non-alcoholic beverages.
We’ll head to the Road to Nowhere outside of Bryson City for some nighttime fun and games. The Road to Nowhere was meant to be Lakeshore Drive, a replacement for Highway 288, which was flooded in the 1940s after the Little Tennessee River was dammed to make Lake Fontana. The road would have led from Bryson City to Deals Gap, allowing displaced residents to access ancestral cemeteries. However, environmental issues caused construction to be halted in the 1970s, leaving 8 miles of road abruptly ending after a 1,200-foot tunnel. Even after the concerns were settled, the federal government never resumed construction, leading to heightened resentment among locals. The government and Swain County finally settled in 2010 to the tune of $52 million! Though the Road to Nowhere was never finished, it still serves as a popular attraction for hikers. Afterwards, we’ll board the charter bus for the return trip to Lake Junaluska.