Nantahala, NC ….. Nature’s Paradise

By Linda Harbuck

Nantahala is a small community located on the western boundary of Macon County, North Carolina. The main attraction here is Nantahala Lake. At 3,035 feet, Nantahala has the second highest lake surface elevation east of the Mississippi River. The Lake covers 1,600 acres with over 30 miles of shoreline, much of which is the Nantahala National Forest. Nestled on the mountainsides and in the coves around the lake are beautiful homes, many of which are available for vacation rentals. Extraordinary accommodations are available both on the lake and in the surrounding mountains ranging from large, elaborate, modern homes overlooking the lake to beautiful, rustic log cabins on a stream in the mountains. No place can surpass this area for a relaxing, quiet vacation in this wilderness paradise in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Numerous mountain amenities are available for those who visit Nantahala. Hiking, fishing, camping, boating, tubing, jet skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip line canopy tours, scenic drives, horseback riding, and exploring historic sites … all abound in this area. The Nantahala River, to the north of the lake, is one of the country’s prime white water rafting rivers and consists of eight miles of waves and swift currents. The trip down the river takes a little over three hours and is almost continuous Class l and Class ll rapids, with an optional Class lll at the end, over a three foot high waterfall. The Nantahala River, both to the south north of the lake, is also a mecca for fly-fishing and spin casting.
To the Cherokee people, Nantahala is known as the “Land of the Noonday Sun.” Noon is the only time of the day when the sun’s rays cast an even light over the shadowed landscape. The ever changing beauty of light and shadow are beyond description making Nantahala a perfect destination for artists and photographers. Awe inspiring to the lovers of nature and adventurers, peaceful and tranquil to those visiting this land of natural wonders.
It’s hard to envision what the area looked like before Nantahala Lake was created in 1942 by Nantahala Power & Light Company to provide electricity for the war efforts. Much less tens of thousands of years earlier when Cherokee (or perhaps another people prior to the Cherokee) made their home here. Much broken pottery, broken spearheads, arrowheads and other artifacts have been found in all areas of the Nantahala Community providing evidence of Native American villages on flat ground near streams and in many small high mountain valleys.
If you love the outdoors and are in search of a tranquil, beautiful location just under 3 hours away from Athens, then look no further than Nantahala, NC. The lake itself will steal your heart and the scenery will capture your heart in ways you never imagined.
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