White Water Raft Class III and IV Rapids on Pigeon River in the Smoky Mountains

white water rafting smoky mountains
White water rafting on Pigeon River in the Smoky Mountains

White water rafting Smoky Mountains style is the heart and soul of Big Creek Expeditions, the rafting outfitter founded by architect John Felderman in 2004. Trips are conducted on the Pigeon River that flows from east to west from North Carolina and into Tennessee through the Smoky Mountains and can be divided into two sections, an upper section, and a lower section.

White Water Rafting Smoky Mountains on the Upper Pigeon River

The Pigeon River is a dam-controlled river. Water releases from the dam are scheduled April 30th through August 30. Smoky Mountain White Water Rafting outside of the dam release days are variable depending on seasonal rainfall. You should contact the outfitter to find out when rafting is available. The upper section of the river begins at the powerhouse for the Pigeon River dam. Almost immediately after put-in paddlers experience Powerhouse rapids, the first Class III rapid of the day. During the course of the trip, you will plunge through 10 class III rapids and three Class IV rapids. Rapids have colorful names like Lost Guide, Double-Reactionary, and Snapdragon. There are breaks between some of the rapids for paddlers to rest, swim or snap photographs.

Family Friendly Float Trips on Tennessee’s Pigeon River

A calmer, more family-friendly float trip begins at the outfitter’s outpost. This lower section of the Pigeon River is about five-and-a-half miles long and the raft trip last about one-and-a-half hours. These are relatively mild Class I and Class II rapids for paddlers who would like to begin their white water rafting Smoky Mountains experience with a starter-kit version before jumping into the extreme whitewater of the upper section. This is also a perfect section of the river for families with small children.

Zipline in Sevierville Tennessee in the Smoky Mountains

Big Creek Expeditions is affiliated with Legacy Mountain Ziplines in Sevierville, Tennessee, about a 35-minute drive from the outfitter’s outpost in Hartford. Legacy Mountain Ziplines is just a few minutes from Gatlinburg. The Legacy Mountain Zipline encompasses a total of 7 ziplines that covers a total of 4.5 miles and goes as high as 300 feet.

Package White Water Rafting with Ziplining in the Smokies

The outfitter will work with you to package your white water rafting Smoky Mountains experience with ziplining Smoky Mountains. Other experiences that may be a part of the package include horseback riding and camping.

Read more about Big Creek Expeditions

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Brown’s Guides is a website about the top outdoor experiences in America and about the professional outfitters and guides who know them best. BG selects guides and outfitters located in or in close proximity to the Natural Areas they provide activities in. These outfitters know the areas and care about protecting and preserving them in a way that outfitters based in other states never can. Hiking, biking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor activities are indexed on the site. BG has been doing this type of thing since 1972 in books, magazines, maps and on the Internet.

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