Whitewater Rafting Smoky Mountains

Wet & Wild or Mild River Rafting and Float Trip

Why go Whitewater Rafting in the Smoky Mountains? It’s a fun & thrilling outdoor adventure! There are nine white water rafting companies offering both Upper & Lower Pigeon River rafting and float trips originating at beautiful Hartford TN outposts.

In general, the white water rafting trips season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Since all river rafting and float trips in the Smoky Mountains take place on the dam-controlled Pigeon River, the river recreation dates follow the Duke Energy scheduled water releases. The dates and times will vary, which also means the water levels – and intensity – will vary. For the 2023 season, water releases are scheduled Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, and some Sundays.

Note: Scheduled flow releases are subject to variability based on natural conditions and/or unexpected changes in hydro project operation. Duke Energy may, at any time and without prior warning, modify the scheduled flow releases which may affect water levels, water availability and arrival or recession times.

Most rafting companies will offer trips earlier in the spring and later into the fall because while the water levels can change on a daily basis, being on a river in the Smokies is a great way to spend any day! According to Raft Outdoor Adventures, “We run rafting trips in winter depending on the conditions! Families love to join us for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years! Even though temps here hover between 50-60° in February and March, we can’t keep people out of the water!”

Are you considering booking a rafting trip? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. No experience necessary! You will get wet, you will have an adventure, and you will have an experienced guide to teach you ropes.
  2. Every person age 18 and older will have to sign a liability waiver. Parents of minor children will sign for them.
  3. Minimum age for white water rafting on the Upper Pigeon River is 8 years old, and minimum age for float trips on the Lower Pigeon River is 3 years old.
  4. Your adventure will take place rain or shine. There are no refunds given because it’s raining.
  5. Your trip may be cancelled or rescheduled due to water levels.   Consider booking your trip with a company, Rafting in the Smokies for one, which offers other onsite activities so that you can still enjoy a day of fun even if water levels aren’t cooperating.

While you have nine different companies available to take you down five miles of Class II and III+ rapids or four miles of calm waters, know that each of them makes your safety and adrenaline rush a priority!

Book your vacation rental and then Happy paddling!

Gatlinburg Offices:

Nantahala Outdoor Center
1138 Parkway | (866) 336-1037
Facebook: @NOC

Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting
103 Silverbell Lane | (865) 430-3838
Facebook:   @smokymountainrafting

Rafting in the Smokies
813 East Parkway | (800-776-7238)
Facebook:   @raftinginthesmokies

Hartford Tennessee Outpost Offices:

Big Bear Rafting
3165 Big Creek Road | (423) 487-4188
Facebook:   @BigBearExpeditions

Big Creek Expeditions
3671 Hartford Road | (877) 642-7238
Facebook:   @BigCreekExpeditions

Raft Ober
3555 Hartford Road | (865) 436-5423 or (800) 251-9202
Facebook: @obermountain

Raft Outdoor Adventures
3635 Trail Hollow Road | (866) 333-7238
Facebook:   @raftoutdooradventures

Rip Roaring Adventures
3555 Wheat Way | (800) 449-7238
Facebook:   @Pigeonriverrafting

Smoky Mountain River Rat
3630 Hartford Road | (865) 448-8888
Facebook:   @riverratwhitewater