Of all the whitewater rafting outfitters in the Smoky Mountains, Wildwater Rafting stands out with their years of experience and professionalism. In fact, this established company with rafting operations all over the Southeast has operated in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains since 1971.
With over 45 years of whitewater experience, this raft trip outfitter is an excellent option for exploring the wild waters of the Smoky Mountains. Rafting the exciting rivers of the Smokies is bound to be a unique outdoor experience you won't soon forget!
Rafting the Pigeon River with Wildwater Rafting
Wildwater Rafting offers rafting trips on four whitewater destinations in the Southeast, but the closest one to the Smoky Mountains is the Pigeon River that's located just outside of the national park boundary.
Every rafter is provided with safety equipment and an orientation to ensure you have a great day on the water. Additionally, each raft is manned a knowledgeable guide who will help you safely navigate the river.
There are two trips you can take on the Pigeon River with Wildwater Rating:
The Upper Pigeon River
The upper Pigeon River is the destination for adventure rafting in the Smokies. This 5 miles of action-packed river has 12 total class III and class IV rapids with names like Powerhouse, Rollercoaster, Double Reactionary, and Rock & Roll. The Upper Pigeon River has nearly 70 rapids in total, so it's perfect for thrill-seekers.
The Lower Pigeon River
This peaceful section of the Pigeon River is ideal for a relaxing day on the water. Great for children or multi-generational families, the easy-going lower Pigeon River offers some fun smaller rapids. Overall, this section of river offers 5 miles of Class I and Class II rapids to enjoy.
At their whitewater facility in Hartford, you can enjoy their clean shower house and the Pigeon River Dog House, the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. There's also a volleyball court and corn hole to enjoy after your trip.
Other Activities With Wildwater
Ziplines & Canopy Tours
Wildwater offers a full zip line course and several treetop sky bridges that provide you the perfect opportunity to explore the forest canopy. The finale of this tour is their longest zip line that crosses the Pigeon River. At over 1300 in length and 120 ft. above the river, this is a zip lining experience you won't soon forget.
Tour the rugged terrain of the Smokies by Jeep with a knowledgeable local guide who can tell you about the culture and natural history of the Smoky Mountains. This 2-hour tour takes you through the wild backwoods of the Smokies and it features historic settlements and buildings on the outskirts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
They offer packages to combine these activities with rafting trips, so you can truly explore the beautiful outdoors of the Smoky Mountains.
Pigeon River Rafting Season
From Memorial Day to Labor Day the Pigeon River can be rafted on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday when there are regularly scheduled dam releases.
Occasionally, river levels are high enough during the spring and fall, but these days happen irregularly. If you are interested in planning a fall or spring raft trip, please contact the Wildwater Reservations office at (800) 451-9972.
Other Adventure Destinations with Wildwater
Wildwater has rafting operations throughout the Southeast United States, so you can also experience these thrilling rivers with Wildwater:
- The Chattanooga River near Long Creek, SC
- Ocoee River near Ducktown, TN
- Nantahala River near Bryson City, NC
This outfitter also offers canopy tours, zip lines, and Jeep tours at these destinations as well!
Wildwater Pigeon River
3555 Hartford, Rd
Hartford, TN 37753
Written by Hayden Brown