Things to Do!
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
With 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will take you on a memorable journey through a remote and beautiful corner of North Carolina. Ride with us into river gorges, across valleys and through tunnels carved out of majestic mountains.
The Railroad offers a variety of scenic, round-trip excursions
departing from Bryson City. Trips range from 3 ½ hours to a full day of fun and adventure.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Take a whitewater raft or ducky trip down the Nantahala River. Fly above the canopy with NOC’s Mountaintop Zip Line Tour, and test your skills at the Zip Line Adventure Park – a challenge course with 16 aerial obstacles. Kids of all ages will have a blast at NOC’s Treetop Adventure Nets – the country’s first 100% net-based aerial playground.
There’s also mountain biking on nine miles of private trails, shopping at NOC’s flagship Outfitter’s Store, onsite cabin and bunkhouse lodging, plus dining and relaxing at NOC’s famous riverfront restaurants – River’s End Restaurant and Big Wesser.
Casino & Resort
Harrah's Cherokee is tucked away in the Smoky Mountains and is home to an exciting 150,000 square foot casino, refreshing amenities, delicious dining options and world-class entertainment.
The Deep Creek area is celebrated for its streams and waterfalls. Hikers can choose from several loop hikes leading to the waterfalls. Mountain bikers can take advantage of one of the few park trails where bicycles are permitted.
Biking, whitewater tubing, picnicking, hiking, and fishing!
Fontana Lake is the largest lake in Western North Carolina. The 480-ft. tall Fontana Dam is the highest dam east of the Rockies (the equivalent of a 50-story skyscraper). Walk or drive across the dam and learn about the construction during the 1940s in the Tennessee Valley Authority Visitor Center. The Appalachian Trail, which extends from Georgia to Maine, crosses Fontana Dam.
Tail of the Dragon
Beginning at Deals Gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line is the Tail of the Dragon. It is considered by many as one of the world's foremost motorcycling and sports car touring roads. Anyone looking for an exciting highway will enjoy this 11-mile stretch of US 129. There’s no other road even
close to matching the challenge of 318 curves in 11 miles of desolate Smoky Mountain asphalt.
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top.
On clear days views expand over a 100 miles. Unfortunately, air pollution often limits viewing distances to under 20 miles.
Swain County Heritage Museum
Located in the 1908 historic courthouse in downtown Bryson City, North Carolina, the Swain County Heritage Museum tells the story of Swain County and its people. Through photos, exhibits and video you will learn about the life of early settlers; and how the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Dam rewrote the landscape and changed lives.
Bryson City Outdoors
This well-equipped outdoor store in downtown Bryson City has everything for your adventure. Services include kayak, paddleboard and gear rentals, a hiker shuttle, and guided tours! Their craft beer taproom & bottle shop has 10 rotating brews on tap with an additional 200+ bottles and cans to go.
Check out their new store "BCO Market on the Square" for fresh fried pies, baked goods, coffee, and plenty of gifts to take home!