Swain County

Swain County has a population of 13,000 people and lies within a large portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The County has four scenic rivers, the Nantahala, the Tuckaseigee, the Oconaluftee, and the Little Tennessee. These four rivers flow through Swain County and come together to form Lake Fontana. The Nantahala is one of the most popular whitewater rafting rivers in the nation. This year, it will host the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships where 300 paddlers from around the world will compete.

Bryson City, the County seat, is home to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. It features 53 miles of a memorable journey into river gorges, across valleys, and through majestic mountain tunnels. The railroad offers a variety of scenic, round-trip excursions departing from Bryson City.

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Swain Active Living

Natural Amenities

deepcreekBryson City Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails include: Deep Creek Loop, Martin’s Gap Look, Deep Creek Trail, Noland Divide Trail, Goldmine Loop Trail, Lakeshore Trail, Appalachian Trail, Smokemont, Oconaluftee River Trail.

the-great-smoky-mountain-national-parkGreat Smoky Mountains National Park

The Park’s half-million acres are equally divided between Tennessee and North Carolina, with roughly forty percent of the Park in Swain County.


nantahala national forestNantahala National Forest

The largest of North Carolina’s four National Forests, the Nantahala encompasses 531,148 acres.


Park & Recreational Facilities

gazebo-park-300x151Riverfront Park Gazebo

The park is open to the public and the gazebo is available for private functions.


swainrec-300x176Swain County Recreation Center

The Recreation Center provides year ’round programs. Resources include: basketball, soccer, football, tennis, free weights, playground, swimming, skateboarding and baseball.

30 Rec Park Drive
Bryson City, NC 28713


Private Facilities

brysonhealth-300x225Bryson City Health & Fitness

Bryson City Health & Fitness is a full service fitness center with workout equipment, fitness classes and personal training.

35 Rector St.
Bryson City, NC 28713

cherokeelifecenter-300x225Cherokee Life Fitness Center

The Facility includes: Olympic Size Pool, Racquetball Court, Gymnasium, Cardio Room, Aerobic Room, Women’s Workout Room, Kid’s Workout Room, Weight Room and Walking Track.

Swain Healthy Eating

Farmers Markets

cherokee-market1Cherokee Open Air Market

Local farmers and gardeners provide fresh, local produce. Market is open daily during daylight hours.


Hwy 19 and Hwy 441
Cherokee, NC 28719

sleepy-hollow-300x225Sleepy Hollow Farm

This organic farm sells produce and eggs to locals in Bryson City and surrounding areas.


164 Sleepy Hollow Road,
Bryson City, North Carolina 28713

swainfarmersmarketSwain County Farmers Market

The market features local food and crafts. The market is open every Friday from May 3 to October 25 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.


darnell-farms-sign-448wide-300x190Darnell Farms

Darnell Farms offers pick-your-own seasonal produce, especially strawberries in the summer months.

2300 Governors Island Road
Bryson City, NC 28789


Community Gardens

cherokeegarden-300x223Cherokee Youth Garden

The Cherokee Youth Gardeners sell their produce every Thursday from 11am – 1pm in the back parking lot of the Cherokee Indian Hospital.


Local Food Providers

brysoncorkbean1-300x250Bryson City Cork & Bean

Founded by local residents, the Cork & Bean offers great food prepared with the finest ingredients, including locally grown, and organic produce, cheeses and baked goods.
16 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

balltownPizza Love: a project of Balltown Bee Farm

A mobile wood fired pizza oven operated by farmers with a focus on locally grown, seasonal ingredients.

Swain Tobacco-Free Living

Success Story

Swain County High School

Throughout the 2012-13 school year, MountainWise and HiTop ASSIST worked with the Swain County High School HOSA to spread the word about the negative effects of tobacco. In April of 2013, Swain County Health Department hosted a Health Awareness Symposium at Swain County High School. MountainWise and HiTop ASSIST attended to spread information and gathered thoughts on tobacco free parks. Information was shared with overr 400 students were seen, 150+ surveys were completed, and information was prepared to be shared with the Swain County Parks and Recreation Director and/or the Board of Commissioners at a later date.