The High Country isn’t all mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway — a complex network of rivers, streams and small bodies of water creates a web that can be traversed throughout the area. These waterways range from slow-moving with scenic views to whitewater rafting requiring technique and skill.

According to Zaloo’s Canoes Business Manager Gentry Jones, the New River gives visitors a nice opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery.

“It’s not a rough river, it only flows at about two-to-three miles per hour and doesn’t get too deep,” Jones said. “There’s a couple of spots where it can get rough, but even then they’re not really deep enough to do anything. Most of our customers are families, church groups and tourists who want to relax and go down the river in a calm fashion.”

Zaloo’s is just one of the many companies in the High Country outfitting visitors with the many different ways to enjoy the waters. Canoes, Kayaks, floats and fishing gear are all used to interact with the area’s aquatics, letting anyone find their favorite way to do so. The fall doesn’t allow for much time to enjoy the potential of the waterways, but there is still enough time to get a few more adventures in before the temperature drops.

Among the region’s river outfitters are Wahoo’s Adventures, Edge of the World, High Mountain Expeditions, River and Earth Adventures, Watauga Kayak, New River Outfitters, RiverCamp USA and Zaloo’s Canoes, all of which offer opportunities for those who wish to travel the rivers in the cooling months of fall.

For those who want to do some fishing, Watauga Lake, which is located just over the state line in Tennessee, has boat rentals including Bayview Cove Ridge, Fish Springs, Lakeshore, Mallard Cove and Pioneer Landing.

Below are 10 different ways to get involved in High Country water activities.

Edge of the World

394 Shawneehaw Ave.

Banner Elk

(800) 789-3343

High Mountain Expeditions

3149 Tynecastle Highway

Banner Elk

(828) 898-9786, (828) 266-RAFT

Pioneer Landing

at Cherokee Overlook

105 Cowan Town Road

Butler, Tenn.

(423) 768-3164

Price Lake at Julian Price

Memorial Park

milepost 297, Blue Ridge Parkway

(828) 963-5911, park campground


River and Earth Adventures

1655 Highway 105 South


(828) 355-9797, (866) 411-7238

RiverCamp USA

2221 Kings Creek Road

Piney Creek

(336) 359-2267

Wahoo’s Adventures

3385 U.S. 321


(828) 262-5774, (800) 444-RAFT

Watauga Kayak

1409 Broad St.

Elizabethton, Tenn.

(423) 542-6777

Zaloo’s Canoes

3874 N.C. 16 South


(336) 246-3066, (800) 535-4027

New River Outfitters

10725 U.S. Hwy 221 N


(336) 982-9192

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