Experience the best White Water Rafting in Tennessee

Open Now For Our 2021 Rafting Season

Best White Water Rafting in Tennessee on the Pigeon River

The Upper Pigeon River White Water Rafting trip is the most remarkable rafting experience in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville areas. A short 45 minute drive will land you at Big Creek Expeditions, where you and your group will make memories to last a lifetime while experiencing the Great Smoky Mountains the way they were intended to be enjoyed—in the great outdoors.

The Pigeon River gorge cuts East to West across the Smoky Mountains from North Carolina and into Tennessee, offering paddlers panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains while cooling off from the summer heat. As one of the most popular rafting trips in America, the Upper Pigeon White Water Rafting Trip will give you an introduction to a classic Southeast white water experience with Class III and IV rapids. Walk away feeling accomplished having quenched your thirst for a thrilling outdoor adventure in the Smokies.

What To Expect

After traveling to our outpost, you will check in through our retail office. After all guests are checked in, your trip will be announced and one of our guides will give you an orientation speech. Each group will be assigned their very own customer-friendly guide, who will gear you up with the proper safety equipment (PFD and Helmet) and ensure that everything is properly fitted. Feel free to ask them any of your burning questions - they love what they do and are always stoked to help! All guests will then get a paddle and hop on our adventure bus for a short ten-minute drive up Interstate 40 Eastbound to the Tennessee/North Carolina Line. After you get off the bus, your guide will provide you with additional instructions (how to sit in the boat, how to properly paddle, paddle commands, how to lock your feet in) and you'll be on your way downstream for a thrilling, wet and wonderful trip down the Pigeon River. Within minutes of launching, you will find yourselves paddling into your first Class III rapid of the day; the aptly named Powerhouse Rapid. Your 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 names like Lost Guide, Double Reactionary, and Snapdragon, you 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. Showers and changing rooms will be available to you to refresh and get dry. Come check out your pictures in the retail office before departing.


What To Wear & Bring

Any shoes with a heel strap, like:

  • Sneakers
  • Chaco Sandals
  • Water Shoes

Anything you're comfortable getting wet in, like:

  • Bathing suit
  • Active wear
  • Quick-dry clothing
  • Polyester/synthetic blends

Optional:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Shower supplies
  • Dry clothes/shoes for after the trip

Restrictions

Age: Participants must be 8 years of age or weigh at least 70 pounds to go on a full day adventure.

Weight: Guests must be able to wear a Type V PFD, fitting chest measurements of 58".

All participants must wear a helmet and shoes with a heel strap.

Directions

We strongly recommend that you avoid relying too heavily on your GPS to reach our outpost. Experience has taught us that GPS will often suggest routes that we do not recommend. Here in the mountains, we refer to GPS as Gets People Stuck. Check below for the recommended directions to get to our outpost. These directions will also be available in your confirmation email.

Please note: Total Drive Time for each route is an approximate drive time and is subject to change depending on your exact departure point, traffic, and personal driving preferences.

From Gatlinburg: From downtown Gatlinburg, you can find US-321 North at traffic light #3. Continue on US-321 for approximately 18 miles until you come to the first stop sign in Cosby, TN. At the stop sign, you will turn left and follow for 1.8 miles. After 1.8 miles you will see the brown National Park sign for the Foothills Parkway. Turn right onto Foothills Parkway. You will be on the Foothills Parkway for about 6 miles until merging onto I-40 East. Continue on I-40 East to exit # 447 Hartford (the first exit after merging onto I-40 East). At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left at the stop sign. Once you arrive at the intersection, continue straight for 0.3 miles and lookout for the sign for Big Creek Expeditions. Turn left down the drive directly before the bridge. You have arrived at our outpost (the check-in office is to your right). Please follow the parking signs and then head to the office to check-in for your trip! .Total Drive Time »» 45 minutes

Note: The Foothills Parkway offers beautiful views of the mountains and several pull-offs to stop and bask in the glory of these ancient mountains. A great opportunity for photographs!

From Pigeon Forge: Take US-411 North for approximately 20 miles to I-40 East toward Asheville. You will be on I-40 for approximately 20 minutes until getting off at exit #447 Hartford. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left at the stop sign. Once you arrive at the intersection, continue straight for 0.3 miles and lookout for the sign for Big Creek Expeditions. Turn left down the drive directly before the bridge. You have arrived at our outpost (the check-in office is to your right). Please follow the parking signs and then head to the office to check-in for your trip! Total Drive Time »» 1 hour

From Sevierville: Take US-411 North for approximately 20 miles to I-40 East. You will be on I-40 for approximately 20 minutes until getting off at exit #447 Hartford. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left at the stop sign. Once you arrive at the intersection, continue straight for 0.3 miles and lookout for the sign for Big Creek Expeditions. Turn left down the drive directly before the bridge. You have arrived at our outpost (the check-in office is to your right). Please follow the parking signs and then head to the office to check-in for your trip! Total Drive Time »» 45 minutes

From Asheville, NC: Take I-40 West for approximately 50 miles, just across the NC/TN State Line, to exit #447 Hartford. At the bottom of the exit ramp, please turn left at stop sign. Go under the interstate, to the next stop sign (approximately 0.2 miles) , and turn left. Go 0.3 miles and be on the lookout for the sign for Big Creek Expeditions. Turn left down the drive directly before the bridge. You have arrived at our outpost (the check in office is to your right). Please follow the parking signs and then head to the office to check-in for your trip! Total Drive Time »» 1 hour

From Knoxville, TN: Take I-40 East toward Asheville for approximately 60 miles until getting off at exit #447 Hartford. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left at the stop sign. Once you arrive at the intersection, continue straight for 0.3 miles and lookout for the sign for Big Creek Expeditions. Turn left down the drive directly before the bridge. You have arrived at our outpost (the check-in office is to your right). Please follow the parking signs and then head to the office to check-in for your trip! Total Drive Time »» 1 hour 15 minutes


Checking In

The time slot that you reserve is your check-in time. No need to arrive any sooner. The orientation talk will begin as soon as all guests are checked in and ready to raft. Anything you do not want to get wet or lose on your trip should remain locked in your vehicle, which will act as your locker for the day. You can leave your keys with our office staff to be kept in a secure location until you return from your trip.

We offer trips every half hour on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday starting at 10:30 AM and lasting until 4:30 PM from May 4, 2021 through September 5, 2021. Early Spring and Fall trips are dependent of seasonal rainfall. Check out our rafting schedule to learn more.

Never rafted before? Don't worry. You are not required to have any previous experience. Your safety and satisfaction are of the utmost importance to us, and that's why we maintain a staff of highly experienced and professional guides. Minimum age/weight for this trip is 8 years old OR 70 pounds. Guests must meet on or the other.

Upper Pigeon White Water Rafting

  • 6 miles of river lasting
  • Approx. 1.5 hours on the water
  • Panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains
  • Class III-IV Rapids
  • Thrilling adventure
Guests 8 and older
$46.95*


*Use Promo Code BCE$10 at checkout
Big Creek Expedition brochure

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