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Generations of Experience: Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting

August 3, 2021
SMO family

It is no exaggeration to say the Jennette family has a lifetime of experience on the river.

SMO family grownDaniel Jennette started rafting in 1984, when he was 15 years old. He was mentored by Andy McKinnon, owner of PRO Rafting and a pioneer of commercial rafting on the Pigeon River. He became a professional raft guide taking guests down the Nantahala, Pigeon, and Ocoee Rivers.

In 1993, Daniel started his own rafting company specializing in trips down the Pigeon
River near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Maggie Valley. He named it Smoky Mountain Outdoors Whitewater Rafting (SMO Rafting). He built, lived in and operated his company out of a log home located on the bank of the Pigeon River in Hartford, Tennessee. Starting on a shoestring budget, every time he made a little money, he reinvested it in his company.

Shortly thereafter, Daniel met Denise Tweddle, who became his wife in 1997. Denise and Daniel took turns answering the phones and booking trips. Denise eventually established and still operates a Reservations Call Center, located in Gatlinburg, TN.

SMO father and sonAs their company began to grow, so did their family. Their daughter, Lindsey, was born in 2000 followed by son Aidan in 2005. The log home was soon part of an expanding riverside outpost, equipped to handle more and more visitors as rafting took hold of America’s imagination. Today, the SMO Outpost is over 12 acres and can host as many as 1600 rafting guests in a single day.

The Jennette family moved to a larger home in the Pigeon River vicinity. The children grew up in the rafting lifestyle. They have hosted family, friends, and visitors for rafting adventures their entire lives.

Daniel remains hands-on at the outpost. He can be found building outpost structures in the off-season, driving shuttle busses, mowing grass, and coaching the raft guides during the on-season. In very busy times, he guides trips alongside them.

SMO raftingSMO Guide training is rigorous and thorough. Lindsey became a certified raft guide last year, and this year, at age 16, Aidan is the youngest certified guide on the Pigeon River. They may seem young, but Lindsey and Aidan have 37 years of Pigeon River experience between them!

Many SMO visitors are families visiting the Great Smoky Mountains area. When SMO says “family owned and operated,” they mean it literally. Let a lifetime of experience show you the experience of a lifetime on the Pigeon River in the Smoky Mountains.

About Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting

Lindsey rafting guideWhen you come white water rafting with SMO, you’ll be rafting with the most trusted outfitter on the Pigeon River. We’ve been offering visitors an unforgettable experience in Tennessee since 1993 when SMO first opened. Enjoy everything from an exciting 6.5 mile trip down the Upper River to a scenic float on the Lower River. Family members of all ages can enjoy some fun on the Pigeon River!

Take a look at all of our Smoky Mountain white water rafting trips and bring your family to join our SMO family on the river for an adventure you’ll never forget!