Thinking about going white water rafting in Gatlinburg? Here are 4 things to keep in mind as you make your plans:
1. Choose when you want to take your rafting trip.
Smoky Mountain Outdoors is currently closed for the season and will reopen around March. However, it’s never too early to start planning your trip for next year. Do you want to feel the invigorating fun of white water rafting in the early spring? Or would you rather wait for the warmer summer months when the kids are on vacation? The earlier you make your Gatlinburg white water rafting reservations, the more likely it is you will get the exact day and time you want.
2. Understand the “class system” used by the International Scale of River Difficulty.
As you may have noticed, our website refers to Class I, II, III, and IV rapids. What do all of these “classes” mean anyway? These numbers refer to a system developed by the International Scale of River Difficulty to help quantify how hard it is to raft various areas around the world. Here is a brief rundown of the terminology:
Class I rapids are small and easy to raft with few obstacles to get around.
Class II rapids are of medium difficulty and are typically straight forward and wide open.
Class III rapids are difficult, featuring irregular waves, tight passages, and eddies.
Class IV rapids are very difficult with large waves, but they are usually predictable.
The guides at Smoky Mountain Outdoors have received expert training and are comfortable navigating anything from Class I – IV rapids. For more information on this topic, check out our blog How Difficult is White Water Rafting in the Smoky Mountains?
3. Decide which of our rafting trips is right for you.
Smoky Mountain Outdoors offers a number of great trips along the Pigeon River and none of them require any prior rafting experience. Here is a quick summary of what you can expect on each adventure:
The Upper Pigeon River Rafting Trip features Class III and IV rapids, providing a very exciting ride! You’ll spend two hours on the river conquering 70 rapids with plenty of slashing and surfing.
The Lower Pigeon River Rafting Trip is more relaxing, with mostly Class I and 2 rapids. This trip is perfect for young kids!
The Pigeon Forge Float and Raft Combo gives you the best of both worlds, with trips down both the Upper and Lower Pigeon River.
When you choose the Hike and Paddle Package, you will start the day with a two hour hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After enjoying a picnic lunch by the river, you’ll hit the water for an afternoon full of Class III and IV white water rafting.
To get the best value from your rafting trip, consider combining it with a zipline tour! Smoky Mountain Outdoors has partnered with CLIMB Works to give guests a $20 discount when they book a Zip + Raft Combo Package. When you zipline at CLIMB Works, your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 and ½ hours as you enjoy 9 different courses, 3 sky bridges, and a special surprise ending.
For more information about white water rafting in Gatlinburg, check out our White Water FAQ page!