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Rafting in the Smokies


What to Expect

First and foremost, EXPECT TO GET WET!  ~ You will.  Rafting in the Smokes is located about 45 minutes to the East of Gatlinburg on the Pigeon River.  The road to get there is quite scenic and offers several photo opportunities along the way.  You'll want to leave your cameras and cellphones in the car.  You really don't want to carry anything, because you will be busy paddling.  While this may not be the Colorado river, there are a few pretty intense rapids, and there are people who get tossed out!   Expect to have a really good time, and expect to want to go back again and again!

A Wet, Wild Experience

When you arrive at Rafting in the Smokies, they will break you into raft crews and get ready to load everyone up on a bus.  They have regular launch times, so you should look into buying your tickets ahead of time.  They have an office right on 321 in Gatlinburg.  After you are broken into crews, you are assigned to a guide who will go over the safety details, rules, etc.  The right guide totally makes this experience I think.  Our guide went by the name "Hobbit" and he as fantastic and entertaining.  After you've geared up, and gone over the safety instructions, you'll all load on the bus for the 20-30 minute bus ride up to Tennessee/North Carolina Boarder.  That is where you'll launch, and ride the rapids all the way back to the rafting office on Interstate 40.   The raft trip takes about 1 hour, and there are places you can jump in and swim if the mood suites you.  (They teach your crew how to get you back in the boat before you leave, because people to get tossed out by the rapids sometimes)   The views are nice, but honestly you spend most of your time looking at the next big rapid, which your guide will gladly steer you right into.  You will get completely soaked, so dress accordingly.  We recommend some sort of water shoe, not sandals.  The whole thing is a wet, wild experience you'll want to do again and again.


A More Relaxed Option

For families with small children (There is an age/wieght requirement for the whitewater rafting) Rafting in the Smokes offers a much more relaxed "Float Trip" starts at the raft office on the Pigeon River and heads downstream for about 2 hours.  There are some minor rapids, but it is much more tame and suitable for younger kids.  Surely a good time will be had by all.  We've not tried the float trip yet, because we went without the kids, but I expect we'll get back sometime this summer to give it a try.

Zip Line Adventure

Also available at the same location is a zip line adventure.  They have platforms built high up in the trees and you can zip back and forth across the Pigeon River, from platform to platform.  We have not tried the Zipline adventure, but it did look like a lot of fun!  There is also a rope course, but we did not get a good look at that attraction while we were there.

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Have you stayed at Bear Cub Lodge and been whitewater rafting?  If so, would you like to share your experience with our other guests? We're looking for reviews from guests who have experienced this attraction through Rafting in the Smokies or any of the other companies that provide similar services along the Pigeon River.  If you'd like to share your experience, we'd love to add it to the website.  Please complete the short form here, and we'll get your information posted to the site!

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