The Pigeon River gorge cuts East to West across the Smoky Mountains from North Carolina and into Tennessee. As one of the most popular rafting trips in America, the Upper Section of the Pigeon River offers guests the best introduction to a classic Southeast whitewater trip.
Trips on this section launch at the TN/NC state line, with surrounding views of the mountains and the historic hydroelectric powerhouse feeding water into the river. Within minutes of launching from the put-in, guests will find themselves paddling into their first Class III rapid of the day; the aptly named Powerhouse Rapid. An experienced, professional guide will navigate your group down the river where you will experience a total of 10 Class III rapids and 3 Class IV rapids. With rapid names like Lost Guide, Double-Reactionary, and Snapdragon, guests can expect plenty of excitement on this trip. There will still be time between the rapids to take in the views, soak up some sun and have a swim before finishing the trip back at our outpost.
Never rafted before? Don't worry. Guests are not required to have any previous experience.
The Pigeon River is dam controlled. Scheduled water release days for the 2019 season are from April 30th-September 7th. Pre-Season and Fall rafting schedules are subject to seasonal rainfall. For more info, check out our water level and rafting schedule information page or call us toll free at 877-642-7238.
The time slot that you and your group reserve is your check-in time. No need to arrive any sooner. Shortly after the check-in time, you and your group will receive a brief orientation talk that covers some of the basics of rafting and safety guidelines. Guests will then meet their personal guide and receive the necessary equipment, including a PFD (aka life jacket), helmet and paddle. After your guide double-checks to make sure all equipment is fitted properly, guests then hop on our bus for a short 10-minute ride to the launching point for your trip.
Each trip on the Upper Section finishes back at our outpost, where guests can quickly take a warm shower and change into dry clothes. Don't forget about the pictures! Each group has a series of photos taken of them paddling through an exciting Class III rapid. You and your group can check out your pictures in our outpost after your trip.