One of the best outdoor experiences I’ve had in the Smoky Mountains is white water rafting. The thrill of being on the river, plunging into rapids and enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors was a highlight of my vacation and is something I highly recommend to all visitors. One of the best outfitters on the river is Smoky Mountain Outdoors. Reliable and trusted, this rafting company has over 15 years of experience guiding trips on the Pigeon River.
There are two rafting trips available. The Upper Pigeon River trip features Class III and IV rapids, while a more leisurely trip is available on the Lower Pigeon with Class I and II rapids. For my first Gatlinburg white water rafting trip, I decided to do the Upper Pigeon River raft trip. I arrived about 45 minutes prior to my trip time, changed into my swim gear and water shoes at the on-site changing facilities and quickly met with my raft guide and other members of my party to go over rafting safety, get a paddle and get fitted for a lifejacket and helmet. With the excitement starting to build, I boarded one of the Smoky Mountain Outdoors buses and soon arrived at the put-in location, located about 10 minutes from the outpost.
After unloading the rafts, my group met with guide Suzy.
She assigned seating arrangements and before I knew it we were on the river.
The trip starts off with a Class IV rapid – Power House – so you are put in the midst of the action right out the gate.
It’s a great way to start the raft trip and really got me amped for the rest of the excursion.
During the 6 ½ mile trip, there are 70 rapids total ranging from Class I to IV.
Big waves, big water and plenty of drops make the two hour trip fly by.
One of my favorite rapids was dubbed the roller coaster.
Our guide, Suzy, took us in sideways, creating an even bigger splash for us to enjoy.
Other rapids like Big Rock, Vegematic, Accelerator and Lost Guide added to the exhilaration of the trip. We also made our raft surf, which is when you try to go up a rapid and surf your raft.
Suzy put everyone at ease too, telling jokes and ensuring everyone knew what to do, when to do it and how to do it safely.
A trip with Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting is an incredible way to experience the Smoky Mountains in an all-new way. No experience is necessary either. All you need to do is bring your sense of adventure for a great experience on the river!