Pigeon River Whitewater Rafting
When you think about it, whitewater rafting is an excellent outdoor activity for the entire family. It's an opportunity to experience the wild side of nature, see the Smokies from a new perspective, and a great way to fill one of your vacation days with fun and adventure.
Rafting season in the Smokies generally runs from spring into early fall, although the most popular visitation times are between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s when the water flow—often controlled by dams, depending on the river—is both its steadiest and its warmest. Earlier in spring and later in September, you may find an East Tennessee river to be a breathtakingly chillier experience.
In Gatlinburg, you’ll find several outfitters that operate white water rafting trips and river floats. However, there actually isn't any rafting that takes place in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. All rafting takes place just outside of Gatlinburg on the Upper Pigeon River, Lower Pigeon River, the Nantahala or the Ocoee Rivers.
These waterways are 45 minutes to 2 hours from Gatlinburg, but you can make all your trip arrangements right in town with over 15 rafting companies to choose from. Each offers trips that everyone can enjoy, including toddlers as young as 3 years old. White water rafting for ages 8 and up includes everything from Class I (the tamest) to Class IV (some of the wildest) whitewater rapids.
Rafting companies have all the equipment you’ll need to enjoy a half-day or day on the water—rafts and oars, safety helmets, life jackets and more. They also give you plenty of instruction on how to paddle, when to paddle and how to flip your raft, if you want to!
And you’re not on your own when you raft either. Each raft is led by an experienced guide who knows the rivers and knows how to safely get his or her passengers through the different rapid runs. They also shuttle you from the outpost to the put-in point for departure, and then shuttle you from the take-out point back to the office.
In addition to the thrills of plowing through sections of rapids, these trips also offer times that your group can float merrily down the stream, giving you a chance to take a dip in the water, snap a few photos or do some nature spotting.
When booking your Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg vacation with Heartland Rentals, you will receive one free whitewater rafting ticket with USA Raft with each night of your paid reservations. USA Raft offers "Mild to Wild" guided whitewater rafting trips for ages four and up. Advance reservations required, no experience necessary. Visit USA Raft for more information about how you can enjoy a Smoky mountain adventure like no other!