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Three Ways to Get Wet and Wild During Your White Water Rafting Excursion in Gatlinburg!

One of the coolest things you can do in Gatlinburg TN is a white water rafting excursion. Especially on warm summer days! You can select a thrilling ride down the Upper part of the Big Pigeon River's Class III and Class IV rapids, or a much calmer float on the Lower. Additionally, there are other rivers in the area.

But, you're going to first need a guide.  Here are the top three white water rafting guides in Gatlinburg...

Smoky Mountain Outdoors Whitewater Rafting

Opened March 1, 2016 Smoky Mountain Outdoors is back with your favorite mountain water sport - white water rafting! They are located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, a short drive from Gatlinburg and provide exciting whitewater rafting thrills on the Pigeon River.  You'll slice your way through Class III and Class IV rapids. The Upper Pigeon route is 6.5 miles of big waves and big drops covering 70 rapids! Have up to 7 people in one boat (plus the guide) for your 2-hour tour. You must be at least 8 years old or weight at least 70 pounds to ride the Upper, and 3 years old on the Lower.

The Upper Pigeon River Extreme takes you down the same route, but in a small boat (maximum of 3 rafters plus the guide). You'll hit the meat of the big waves, pushing the limits. This fast rafting experience is for thrill-seekers only.

The Lower Pigeon River route takes you through calmer waters  It's generally for the kids (and Mom and Dad) and covers 5 1/2 miles, starts at the Outpost and ends at the Denton Bridge, where a bus will take you back to the Outpost. It features about 50 Class I and II rapids, and one Class III.

Also offers inflatable kayaking and guided hiking trips.

Admission: When booked online regular rates are:

Upper Pigeon - $30 from March 5 - May 27, $35 from May 28 - September 4. Otherwise, $47.

Upper Pigeon River Extreme - $62.

Lower Pigeon River - $25 from April 10 - May 27th, $29 from May 28 - September 4.

Hours: Generally 11am, but times are fluid, no pun intended, depending on the water level (river is dam controlled).

Smoky Mountain Outdoors (Office)
453 Brookside Village Way
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Rafting along the Big Pigeon River, Nantahala Outdoor Center offers a couple rafting trips: The Class III Upper Pigeon and the Lower Pigeon float trip. It's America's largest outdoor recreation company, leading their 5 millionth guest on a white water trip in 2016.

Hold onto your paddle! The Upper is a 5-mile Intermediate white water rafting adventure that will take about 2 1/2 hours to complete.  Bounce and splash your way through rapids with such names as the Accelerator and Lost Guide. You must be age 8 or older and weight at least 70 pounds.

The Lower is a 4-mile float trip, perfect for the little ones. It takes about 3 hours to complete. Ages 3 and older. Parents will enjoy a ride with their children through tame rapids. You'll stop at some awesome swimming holes and play areas so the kids can unwind a bit. It's a relaxing event that will leave you with special memories of your time in Gatlinburg.

For both trips you'll take their shuttle bus to the entrance point. All gear is provided.


Upper Pigeon - $39.99

Lower Pigeon River - $24.99 - $29.99

Hours: Generally 11am, but times are fluid, no pun intended, depending on the water level (river is dam controlled).

Nantahala Outdoor Center
1138 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Rafting in the Smokies

Pioneering Pigeon River and White Water Rafting in Tennessee since 1978, Rafting in the Smokies offers Pigeon River white water rafting and river float trips, as well as a wonderful Family Adventure Island excursion. 2014 Winner of Trip Advisor award.

With their certified and trained guides, you'll immediately understand that this rafting company is family friendly and safety focused. Combine your rafting experience with a zip line outing or ropes challenge course.


Upper Pigeon - $34

Lower Pigeon River - $27

Offers group discounts and season passes.

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday are guaranteed water days. Other days are determined on the release from the dam.

Whitewater - 1pm trips meet up at 12:15.  5 miles require about 1 1/2 hours.

Float Trip - 1:20pm trips meet up at 12:35. 6 miles require 2 hours to complete.

Rafting in the Smokies
813 East Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

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No experience in the Smoky Mountains should be without a few nights stay in a cabin. And, Gatlinburg has plenty of them. Select from a variety of sizes, amenities and locations. Find a cozy, rustic, or luxury cabin rental in Gatlinburg here.

Cabin Rentals...


There are thousands of hotel and motel rooms in Gatlinburg. Problem is they all fill up fast. Book early for the best rooms and locations. From in-town and off the street to budget and semi luxury. Select a room with a fireplace or creek-side balcony.



Finding food is as simple as walking down town.  Plenty of restaurants line Gatlinburg's main strip. Eat BBQ, steak, Italian, Mexican, and more. Check out the coffee shops, deli's and breweries. Family dining in our Southern restaurants.


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A walk around the main strip in town will probably be your first introduction to this unique mountain village. After that, the sky is the limit. Gatlinburg offers so many things to do. Hike the Smokies, visit a brewery, shop the galleries and malls... dining, arts and crafts, picnics...

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From Ripley's museums, a mountain coaster, and hillbilly golf to Ober Gatlinburg, the space needle, and zip lines. Gatlinburg has it all! If playing is your thing, you won't be disappointed. So, grab your family, grab your plastic, and get ready to have some fun, fun, fun!



Looking for that romantic wedding in an enchanted forest? You've come to the right place. Gatlinburg has several wedding chapels, and a number of honeymoon cabins. Sky lift, Chapel at the Park, Space Needle, Creek Bridge, and Gazebo are all Gatlinburg wedding options.