The NOC is a major adventure hub, site of the 2013 world championships for freestyle kayaking, and the largest white water rafting operation (# of guests per year) in the world. The Appalachian trail crosses right here as well. Truth be told, this place has always been a bit comical in terms of how many people come through here to #hike, paddle, #raft, etc. but it's amazing to see how successful it's become, lifting everyone from Olympic athletes to Western North Carolina gear manufacturers in the process. I first paddled this river some 30 years ago at the age of 11 and two things haven't changed: The gorge is still beautiful, and all paddlers from the south start off here at some point.