Things to Do
Road Cycling and Off-road Mountain Biking – In the Western North Carolina Mountains, the word "flat" is seldom used to describe our landscape. So, needless to say, biking these hills can be a challenge for road bikers and off-road bikers alike. Tsali Recreation Area Trail System, 15 miles west of Bryson City. Pronounced "SAH-lee" and named after the 19th century Cherokee Indian martyr, the 42-mile network of multi-use trails is consistently rated one of the top ten riding destinations in the United States.
Elevate Your Golf Game at two 18-hole mountain courses – Smoky Mountain Country Club and Sequoyah National. The spectacular landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains has been luring vacationers for generations. And now, it’s attracting golfers who enjoy the unique challenges that a true mountain golf course can deliver.
Fishing is big in Swain County. So big, in fact, that it has its own website – GreatSmokiesFishing.com. This comprehensive guide to fishing in the NC Smokies features a map and descriptions of twenty-six fishing destinations — mountain trout streams, creeks, rivers and two large lakes. These waters offer more than 17 sporting species from trout to bass to Muskie. A 2.2-mile stretch of Delayed Harvest Waters rund through downtown Bryson City.
Scenic Drives – Enjoy the Newfound Gap Road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; take the side trip to the Clingmans Dome Tower (April -Nov) for a "top of the Smokies" view. Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as the Cherohala Skyway for incomparable mountain views.
Motorcycling – The Deals Gap Dragon, with 318 curves in 11 miles, is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. Also known as “US 129,” the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
The Cherokee Indian Reservation is just short drive from Bryson City near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Native American cultural attractions include a museum, an 16th century Indian village and the outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills."
The Nantahala River is one of the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in the Southeast luring more than 200,000 paddlers to its waters every year. A perfect combination of exciting whitewater and placid pools, the Nantahala is a great introduction to the sport of whitewater paddling.
In the mood for something more sedate? Try the Tuckasegee River. With its Class I and II rapids, Tuckasegee rafting trips provide great outdoor entertainment for the entire family.
For experienced paddlers, the Cheoah River offers a nine-mile stretch of Class IV - V rapids between Santeetlah and Calderwood lakes west of Bryson City. Dropping 150-feet per mile, the Cheoah is three times as steep as the Gauley – and equally challenging. Unfortunately, the Cheoah is a controlled-release river with a very limited number of release dates. Check with an outfitter for times.
The Ocoee has been rated one of the ten best whitewater rivers in the country by Canoe Magazine. A number of local outfitters take trips down the Ocoee, about 1-1/2 hours southwest of Bryson City. It has been chosen as the site of national whitewater championships on several occasions as well as home of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater competition. Fully guided due to the challenging water.More information.