Water Levels and Rafting Schedule

What you need to know to plan your adventure.

When planning a rafting trip, the first question that many ask is "When are rafting trips available"? Here in the Smoky Mountains that question is not always easy to answer.

The Pigeon River is dam controlled. What does this mean for you and your group? Well, when water is released from the dam, rafting trips are just what you expect in a whitewater adventure – crashing waves and exciting rapids. When water is not released and the river is at "natural flow" the river changes significantly. Rapids decrease in size, and there will be more rocks then you can shake a stick at. Understandably, these low water conditions are not what many guests expect when signing up for a rafting adventure. For this reason, Big Creek Expeditions only runs trips when the water is releasing to ensure our guests get the quality trip they are paying for.


Memorial Day through Labor Day

Fortunately, we have scheduled water release days. For the 2019 rafting season, scheduled water release days begins Tuesday, April 30th* and extends until Saturday, August 30. Water releases are guaranteed every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday* during this date range. (Saturday guaranteed releases start on Memorial Day and run through Labor Day)


March through April/September through October

If you are planning to visit the Great Smoky Mountains in the early spring or fall (outside of the scheduled water release days) we still have options available thanks to seasonal rainfall. We want to provide the best rafting experience possible. To do that, we avoid running low-water/natural flow trips. That does not mean we are not open for business, though. We have developed a few strategies to keep things running smoothly. If you're planning to schedule a rafting trip during the fall or early spring, please keep in mind the following:

  • Each trip will have a Call-In Time 3 hours before your scheduled check-in time. When you call, we will provide an update on the projected water levels for that day, before you depart for our outpost.
  • Trips are subject to rescheduling and cancellation based on water levels
  • No fee will be charged for any trips that we have to cancel

Trips are available for reservation both online and by phone (toll free at 877-642-7238). If you have any questions, we are always happy to help!

"One of our families greatest adventures ever!!! Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and made us all feel like pros. We were nervous, but the guides explained everything very thoroughly. And with all the safety features we knew we were in good hands! The views were absolutely stunning! We highly highly recommend it to anyone!!"

– Tara, Wisconson

Big Creek Expeditions on Trip Advisor

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