Ghost, I fish and camp that area fairly often with NC friends, here is my opinion, beautiful country and nice change of pace for new waters. The part below the powerhouse is of course ground zero for rafters, the flow comes early and drains late at night. The only time we get in there is early at campsite before the flow gets there and the raft parade begins. Normally the road above the powerhouse is the main area we work. Tons of pulloffs usually with the crowd to go with it, but sometimes I have fished the area by myself and have the run of it, depends on luck of the draw. Plenty of water, 10ft from the road in that area, lot of traffic, so if you did have a problem can crawl to road and try to avoid being run over.
This stretch of water sees everything under the sun from worms to flys, so pressure is pretty intense in summer, fall is beautiful. As you go up the road after a mile or two you will see Old River Rd (dirt) come in on the right. A lot of river guides and locals live down this road, the farther you go the tighter the access.
If you stay on main road you eventually hit the lake, beautiful water, has the only population of konakee salmon (think lake trout size) in the south east from what I understand. We have fished that for a couple of years from canoes with trolling motors(trolling speed recomended is 1 1/2 mph is why canoe/ small boat can be used), they are deep in the thermals can be 50-75 ft deep depending on temps. Good luck with that we have bought the required lures and tried the required methods and still looking. That is a seperate cult that few have perfected there are a couple of guides that specialize in that.
If you just want to have fun, fish new water, stick to the road above the powerhouse, have fun, and at the end of the day stop in at the Nantahala center area, follow the crowd to burgers, beer and crowdwatching. Think Bonaroo, meets Columbia Outfitters with Grateful Dead music.
Hope this helps, good luck report back with pics!
P.S there is a flyfishing Expo this weekend at Western Carolina college Ramsey Center I think, I went last year supposed to be bigger this year.