By: Dwayne Parton

An Outdoor Mecca

Bryson City is a small town in Western North Carolina nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Nestled is a good word for Bryson as it sits in a valley divided by the Tuckaseegee and surrounded by mountains. This quaint pedestrian friendly town is filled with ice cream shops, coffee houses, restaurants, and cute little stores. It’s the kind of town where people develop habits like playing chess at a coffee shop in morning, walking laps around town in the afternoon, or grabbing a beer at the local brewery at night.

Lately the town has started to come alive. People are wanting to go outside and who could blame them. Winter is all but gone. I’ve noticed the number of roof racked bikes and kayaks have started to increase as people come from everywhere to enjoy this little gem. It’s time to get outside and what better place to be outside than Bryson City. The town is an outdoor mecca in the southeast and it’s just minutes away from almost any level of outdoor adventure you could ask for.

Bryson City is the perfect place to go fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, recreational boating, train riding, zip lining, sight seeing, tubing, rafting, hiking and much more. There is no way I could describe everything in just one post so I will try to give you a few ideas and then expound on individual activities in other posts so stay tuned. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Kayaking & Whitewater

Whether you are just learning to kayak, are an avid playboater, or are an experienced creeker some of the best white water in the Southeast is only a short drive away. Rivers like the Tuckaseegee, Little Tennessee, and Nantahala are excellent starting points for the beginner. While others like the Cascades, Cheoah, and Upper Raven’s Fork(Pro’s Only) are available when the waters rise. If you are looking for a place to go play you can always jump in the NOC Wave, the site of the 2013 Freestyle World Championships.

Mountain Biking

Just 15-20 minutes west of Bryson City is Tsali. Tsali was designed for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. It is a 4 loop single track trail system with loops ranging from 7-14 miles. Much of the trail follows the lake travels through mixed pine and hard wood forests. It’s very well marked, clean, and easily accessible.


There are all kinds of trails in the Smokies. You could go for a day hike up deep creek or keep hiking 12+ miles and reach Clingman’s Dome. You could jump on the Appalachian Trail, Bartram Trail, or hike up Noland’s Creek. Your hike is sure to be a rewarding time. Each trail offers something special maybe a waterfall, overlook, creek, or swimming hole.

There is no shortage of things to do you just have to be willing to go outside and experience something new. This town is the perfect place to do that. If you’ve never been, come and visit. Bryson City is an amazing place to enjoy the outdoors.

The featured photograph is Bryson City Sun by Aaron Morgan.
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