Bonas Defeat Gorge


6-12-15 - Bonas Defeat Gorge is a very beautiful but very dangerous section of the Tuckasegee River near Panthertown Valley that few people ever get to experience. Even though the Nantahala Forest Trail map shows a trail through the gorge, there is not one and will never be one. I used to have information posted here on how to get to the gorge, but have decided to take it down. If you know how to read topo maps, you won't have a problem finding the area on the map. Finding a safe way in over public lands is a different story. Once in, you are still not out of danger. The first and most unpredictable danger is the fact that there is a flood control dam and lake at the upper end of the gorge. I wouldn't count this info as 100% reliable, but you can go to this site and check lake levels in that area and if any special notices have been posted - Duke Energy - Nantahala Lake Levels. You need the info for Tanasee Creek Lake.

If you are in the gorge and the flood gates open, the water will rise faster than you can get out of the way and you will probably die. Then there is the difficulty factor. A lot of the gorge is littered with huge boulders and fallen trees that have to be maneuvered around or over or under. One wrong move and you could be severely injured - or worse. And then other people have to risk their lives to come in and get you out. If it rains while you are in the gorge, you probably won't get out any time soon. Most if not all of the trip is over rock which will become extremely slippery when wet and continuing the trip in either direction would be suicide.

If you found this page, you probably have done a search so you already know the area exists. But, a trip through the gorge should only be attempted if you are very experienced in this type of foot travel. One email I received suggested only going with someone who has already been through the gorge. If you go, good luck and don't take unnecessary chances. If you get to a point where you don't think you can proceed safely, do the smart thing - turn around and go back! More pictures from my trips into Bonas Defeat can be found here. I also have some recent video from Bonas on my YouTube channel here.


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