The Oconaluftee River

Best known for its abundance of mountain trout, in a pristine setting.

Best known for its abundance of mountain trout, in a pristine setting.

Oconaluftee River

An Abundance of Mountain Trout

The Oconaluftee River’s headwaters are in the south-central Oconaluftee valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The river flows through the Park and into Cherokee, before it empties into the Tuckasegee River and eventually Fontana Lake. The term "Oconaluftee" comes from the Cherokee village name Egwanulti, which means "by the river". it was recorded by naturalist John Bartram in his journals of 1775.

Wading, tubing, fishing, and canoeing are all popular here. The Oconaluftee is most famous for its abundant healthy rainbow, brook and brown trout. It holds the North Carolina record for brown trout weighing in at 15.9 pounds.

This pristine river is one of the best for catching North Carolina mountain trout. The Oconaluftee River is heavily stocked, 300,000 per year, by the Cherokee Fisheries & Wildlife Management. A special fishing permit is required from the Cherokee Reservation.  Check for fishing regulations specific to this river at and

The River is easily accessible in the National Park, along the Oconaluftee River Trail,and the Oconaluftee Islands Park,

Tubing is available in the summer months from Smoky Mountain Tubing and Cherokee Rapids.

Tubing on the Oconaluftee River

Cherokee Rapids Tube Rentals

Nestled near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, our tubing and kayak center offers guests a relaxing setting to unwind and have some fun. We’re known for providing sturdy river tubes and kayaks so folks can comfortably make their way down…

Smoky Mountain Tubing

Since 1999 Smoky Mountain Tubing has been the highlight of family vacations offered here in Cherokee! We promise to provide fun, safe, and scenic adventure unlike any other!

Fishing Guides on the Oconaluftee River

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