Frequently Asked Questions

Whitewater Rafting Tennessee, Rafting in the Smokies

Lets Go Shoot Some Rapids

Q: Is there a guide in every raft?
A: Yes, although some exceptions may be made on the Lower Float Trip. Of course, for our Duckies on the Lower Section, you will be accompanied by a professional guide, but you get to paddle your own inflatable kayak.

Q: Do I have to know how to swim?
A: No, you will be wearing a PFD (personal flotation device) and we don’t recommend that you swim in whitewater. During your pre-trip Safety Talk, your guide will teach you what to do IF you are in the river… just remember lie on your back and keep your toes in the air! Your PFD is designed to provide you all the buoyancy you need.

Q: How do I get back to my car?
A: For the Upper Section Trip you will take your gear and hop aboard our bus to the Put-In at the Powerhouse, then raft back down the river to the Outpost. For the Lower Section Trip you will begin your trip from our River Outpost and our bus will be there waiting for you at the Take-Out to transport you back to the Outpost. Don’t forget Rafting in the Smokies is the only outfitter on the river with a wheelchair shuttle bus for our guests with disabilities.

Q: Is there nearby lodging?
A: We offer nearby lodging through our sister company Wildwood Acres Cabin Rentals. You can also visit the Area Links page for additional local lodging information.

Q: How far are you from Gatlinburg?
A: Our River Outpost is located in Hartford (exit 447 off I-40) about a 30-40 minute scenic drive from Gatlinburg. Our Reservations Office is located approx. 1 mile from downtown Gatlinburg on Hwy. 321 North /East Parkway next door to the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce. The Pigeon River offers the closest whitewater rafting to the Great Smoky MountainsClick here for our location map.

Q: Can I go if I am a bit overweight?
A: Our largest PFD’s can accommodate a chest measurement up to approximately 56″. If you are not sure, we have a PFD at our Reservations Office in Gatlinburg that you can try on prior to your trip.

Q: If I am pregnant can I go?
A: No.

Q: Do you have a minimum age for children?
A: For Rafting on the Upper Section children must be 8 years old or weigh at least 70 lbs.  Children must be at least 3 years old for the Lower Float Trip.  For Ziplines and Ropes Course, children must be 5 years old and must weigh at least 45 lbs.

Q: Do you have a group rate?
A: We make group outings the highlight of the memories made while enjoying the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Groups rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Advance reservations are required. Click on our Group Specials page for more information.

Q: What are the times of your trips?
A: The water level on the Pigeon River is dependent on a hydroelectric power plant. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the water level is consistent so we raft Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 11AM and 5PM. Earlier in the spring and later in the fall, trip availability is based on rainfall and power generation needs. Please call for up to date information during this time period.

Q: What do I wear?
A: The best thing to wear is shorts and a t-shirt made of quick-dry, synthetic material. Cotton jeans are not the most comfortable clothing for a rafting trip – you will get wet! You must also raft in shoes that will stay on your feet: No flip-flops, Crocs, or bare feet, please. We recommend sneakers, river sandals, or water shoes. During the cooler times of spring and fall, we offer nylon spray jackets and pants for your comfort. Wet suits are also available for an additional charge. Your sunglasses will need to be secure – if you don’t already have a sunglasses strap we have them for purchase in our gift shop. Don’t forget to bring a dry change of clothes and a towel!  We have changing facilities complete with hot showers.

Q: Can I bring a camera on the rafting trip?
A: Please do not bring along your camera. It will get wet and could possibly be lost! Our professional photographer takes several photos of your raft trip. You can view these and purchase a disk after your trip.

Q: Do I need to bring anything on the trip with me?
A: No. We provide you with all the top-notch equipment you need for a safe and fun rafting trip. We recommend that you lock your valuables in your vehicle. We have a safe place for you to store your keys. If you are wearing glasses or sunglasses, make sure you have a strap on them for security.

Q: What about inclement weather?
A: We raft rain or shine – getting wet is half the fun! If there is lightning in the area, our river managers or trip leaders may delay the trip until the storm has passed. We love liquid sunshine!

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: We have a 48-hour cancellation policy. As long as you give us at least a two-day notice of your cancellation, there will be no charge to you.  If you are making your reservation within the 48-hour period prior to your trip date you waive your right to cancel.

Q: Is there more to do than rafting?
A: There are lots to enjoy in the great outdoors with us! We offer vacation packages that include zip lines, a ropes challenge course, and horseback riding (off-site). And while you’re visiting us take time to enjoy the picnic tables with BBQ grill, bean bag toss games, playground, water’s edge play area, and nature trail all on our Family Adventure Island accessed by a 150-ft. suspension bridge.

Q: I’m looking for that perfect gift for someone special, can you help?
A: Giving the gift of an outdoor adventure is the perfect way to say, “I care and I think you’re cool!”  We offer gift certificates for all of our outdoor adventures: whitewater rafting, leisurely float trips, inflatable kayaks, ziplines, ropes course, and horseback riding. See our vacation packages for more information.