Top 7 White Water Rafting Trips in the Smoky Mountains

Summertime in Tennessee can be scorcher and everyone likes to spend their day in a pool, on the lake, or by sticking their heads in the freezer just to cool off. No really! Along with those creative ways to keep your body temp below 1000 degrees, people love spending their day with a trip down the Pigeon River! Stay cool in the water while enjoying the thrill of rafting down class  III and IV rapids to add a bit of excitement to your summer! So get your friends and head up to the Smoky Mountains, I’ll be your personal guide for some of the best places to go white water rafting!

1. Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Location: 3299 Hartford Road, Hartford, TN 37753

If you’re looking for an exciting whitewater rafting adventure, Smoky Mountain Outdoors is the perfect place! Located in Hartford, Tennessee, Smoky Mountain Outdoors offers a variety of rafting trips for visitors. They pride themselves  to be the leader in safety and attention to detail and fun since 1933. The experienced guides accompany guests on each rafting trip to guarantee complete safety. For a thrilling trip down the river, go on the Upper River trip for a 6.5 mile trip on class III and IV rapids. If you want even more of a thrill, they offer Extreme Upper River Rafting where you’ll ride in a smaller boat that hits more rapids for more excitement! SMO also offers a Lower River Rafting trip that is great for families and those who want a relaxing ride down the river. Not only will you see beautiful scenery, but kids love it.

2. Rafting in the Smokies

Location: 3595 Hartford Rd, Hartford, TN 37753

Offering two different rafting trips and an adventure on the Zipline and Ropes Challenge Course, Rafting in The Smokies is your best stop for all day fun! They will make this the highlight of the memories you will make while enjoying the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Certified and trained guides will accompany you to ensure a safe and comfortable trip. They all have a love of the outdoors and are eager to share their knowledge! The Upper White Water Section is a 5 mile trip featuring 12 Class III and 3 Class IV rapids. No experience is necessary for ages 8 and above. The Lower Family Float Section is a 6 mile trip featuring Class I and Class II rapids. This trip is great for ages 3 and above.

White Water Rafting at RITS

3. River Rat

Location: 3630 Hartford Road, Hartford , TN 37865

Smoky Mountain River Rat is your East Tennessee destination for a cool escape in the heart of the Smokies. From top-notch tubing to heart-pumping whitewater rafting, they specialize in making lasting memories. Sit back, relax, and float down the upper or lower portion of the river with their Tubing Outpost in Townsend. The lower section of the Little River is their family friendly float and features relaxing rapids, scenic views, and even a rock jump! Suitable for adventure seekers 2 years and older. The upper section includes a scenic float with adrenaline-pumping rapids and refreshing swimming holes. This adventure is suitable for 6 years and older.

4. Big Creek Expeditions

Location: 3541 Hartford Road, Hartford , TN 37753

Within minutes of the put-in, guests find themselves paddling into their first Class III rapid of the day, the Powerhouse. With the help of an experienced guide, your group will continue through a total of 10 Class III rapids and 3 Class IV rapids! With rapid names like Lost Guide, Double-Reactionary, and Snapdragon, guests can expect plenty of excitement on this trip. But don’t worry, there will still be time between rapids to take in the views, soak up some sun and have a swim! This is the ideal trip for those wanting to enhance the beauty of the Smokies with the thrill of whitewater rafting.

5. Wildwater LTD

Location: 3555 Hartford Road, Hartford , TN 37753

No trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is complete without a rafting trip on the Pigeon River. Wildwater offers trips on both the Upper and Lower Pigeon River from their location in Hartford, TN. Their Pigeon River Adventure Center offers whitewater rafting, zipline/canopy tours, scenic Jeep tours and restaurant all at one convenient location on the banks of the Pigeon River.

6. Rip- Roaring Whitewater Adventures

Location: 3114 Big Creek Rd , Hartford , TN 37753

As a small, family owned business you can find the owner Joe Novotny driving your bus or guiding you down the river. A guide for over 18 years, Joe always appreciates all his guests and treats everyone like family! He firmly believes he has the greatest job on earth because he is always on everyone’s vacation! From Exciting class 3 & 4 Rapids on The Upper Pigeon Trip to the calm and serene beauty of the Scenic Float trip, they have a Whitewater experience for all ages and abilities from ages 3 years old and up!

7. NOC

Location: 1138 Parkway , Gatlinburg , TN 37738

Between Memorial and Labor Day, don’t forget to ask about whitewater rafting trips on the local Pigeon River with Nantahala Outdoor Center (booking in our store can save you up to 20%)! NOC also offers whitewater rafting available on multiple Southeastern Rivers; so come out and visit one of their renowned Outposts located across the Southeast! We welcome you to experience the Leaders In Outdoor Adventure since 1972. 

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