FacebookSkip to main content
May 1st, 2024
pigeon river

4 Little Known Facts About the Pigeon River

April 19, 2024 May 1st, 2024

The Pigeon River is one of the best places for white water rafting in Tennessee. With everything from class 1 to class 4 rapids, this beautiful river can accommodate rafters of all ages and abilities. Did you know that the Pigeon River spans two states? Read on to learn more about one of the South East’s most popular rivers.

1. The Pigeon River Starts in North Carolina and ends in East Tennessee.

A boy smiling while river rafting in Gatlinburg TN.It can be easy to forget how long this river is! The Pigeon River begins in Haywood County in North Carolina and flows mostly northwest, with a few exceptions. In East Tennessee, the river runs through Hartford to Newport and eventually merges into the French Broad River. It stretches 70 miles! Our Pigeon River rafting outpost is located in Hartford, TN.

2. The river was named after the passenger pigeon.

The Pigeon River takes its name from these birds because their migration pattern used to include the river valley in North Carolina. Unfortunately you won’t see any passenger pigeons flying along the river because the birds have been extinct since around 1914.

3. The Pigeon River is home to diverse wildlife.

bear eating berriesWhen you explore the Pigeon River, you’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife! The water and surrounding forests provide the perfect habitat for so many species of fish, birds, and mammals. As you’re rafting down the Pigeon River, keep your eyes peeled for otters, turtles, and maybe even a bald eagle!

4. The river has two distinct sections: the Upper and the Lower.

Did you know that the Pigeon River has two distinct sections? Smoky Mountain Outdoors offers exciting trips down both the Upper and the Lower Pigeon River. The Upper section offers a wild ride featuring class 3 – 4 rapids with plenty of big waves, big drops and surfing. This trip is perfect for those who want an exciting and unpredictable ride down the river. In contrast, the Lower Pigeon River is gentle and scenic, with mostly class 1 and class 2 rapids. This is our most popular trip for families with kids, and you’ll even have the opportunity to get out and splash in the river!

5. It’s a popular spot for fishing.

fishing in the riverDo you love to go fishing? Plan a visit to the Pigeon River! Many anglers flock to the area because of its abundance of trout and smallmouth bass. Not only do you have the opportunity to catch fish, but the environment is perfect for a relaxing afternoon casting a line! We recommend booking a stay at Pigeon River Campground to stay right along the banks of the river.

Plan a Visit to the Pigeon River

Now that you know more about the Pigeon River, we bet you can’t wait to come experience it for yourselves! The best way to do so is by visiting us at Smoky Mountain Outdoors. You simply cannot beat the Pigeon River for white water rafting in Tennessee! Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing trip down the lower part of the river or a thrilling ride down the upper portion, you’re sure to have a great time. Or, you can do both! Visit our Combo Trip page to learn how you can raft both the Upper and Lower Pigeon River.