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Frequently Asked Questions


We want to help answer any questions you have about white water rafting in the Smoky Mountains! Below, we’ve responded to the most common questions we get from people interested in rafting with us. If your question isn’t answered below, feel free to contact us!

Will I have a guide?

Yes, all of our trips are fully guided.

How far are you from Gatlinburg and other Attractions in Gatlinburg TN?

Our Pigeon River Outpost is located about 45 minutes north of Gatlinburg. It is the closest whitewater rafting to the Smoky Mountain area. Click here for a map of the area and directions to our outpost.

Do you have info on the GSMNP parking tag requirement?

Do I need a parking tag?

Yes. A valid parking tag must be displayed when parked for more than 15 minutes anywhere in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Three tag durations will be available for purchase for all vehicle sizes and types:

  • Daily: $5
  • Weekly: $15
  • Annual: $40

Interagency passes (Senior Pass, Access Pass, etc.) are not accepted in lieu of parking tags. Parking tags are not replaceable, refundable, transferable, or upgradeable. Each tag is valid for a single vehicle and must include a license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed. Backcountry campers, picnic pavilion reservation holders, and concession customers are not exempt from the parking tag requirement. Registered frontcountry campers do not need a parking tag to park at their campsite. Visitors with a handicap plate or placard do not need a parking tag.

Where can I get a parking tag?

You can purchase all tag types online ahead of your visit or you can purchase tags in-person and on demand/onsite.

Annual Tags (Online Purchase) can be purchased through Great Smoky Mountains Association at SmokiesInformation.org. The tag will be mailed to you, so leave at least 14 days for it to arrive before your planned visit. The annual parking tag is in the form of a cling that will be adhered to the vehicle’s windshield in the front, lower, passenger side.

Daily and Weekly Tags (Online Purchase) can be purchased at recreation.gov. You will receive your tag via email. You must print your tag and display it in your vehicle; park staff will not print it for you, and digital representations will not be accepted. You must know the license plate number of the vehicle(s) you will be visiting in. The daily and weekly tags will be paper and should be displayed in the front, lower, passenger side of the dashboard.

Automated Fee Machines (Daily and Weekly Tags – Purchased In-Person/Onsite) Year-round, 24 hours/day. Credit card only. Year-round, 24 hours/day. Credit card only.

  • Cades Cove Entrance Parking Area
  • Deep Creek Parking Area
  • Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center
  • Sugarlands Visitor Center
  • Newfound Gap Overlook

Visitor Centers (Daily, Weekly, and Annual Tags – Purchased In-Person/Onsite) Be sure to check hours of operation.

  • Sugarlands Visitor Center
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center
  • Cades Cove Visitor Center
  • Clingmans Dome Visitor Center
  • Gatlinburg Welcome Center
  • Swain County Visitor Center
  • Townsend Visitor Center

Do I have to know how to swim?

No, every guest is issued a type 5, Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. This lifejacket is designed to give you all of the flotation needed on the river.

Is there a place to stay nearby?

There are thousands of lodging options and Attractions in Gatlinburg TN located nearby for your and your family to enjoy after your whitewater adventure.

Can I go if I am a bit overweight?

There are no upper limit weight requirements. Our lifejackets can accommodate a chest girth of 54″. You can try on one of our PFD’s at our Gatlinburg Office prior to making a reservation.

Is there a minimum age?

The minimum age/weight for the Upper Pigeon trip is 8 years old or 70 pounds. Children must be at least 3 years old to go on the Lower Pigeon trip.

Do you have a group rate?

Yes, We provide a discounted per person rate. For school, church, and girl/boy scout troops, click on our Group Specials page for additional information.

What are the times of your trips?

The spring and fall trip availability will be based on local rainfall. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the flow is consistent and we can schedule accordingly. During the summer months, we raft Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Please call or check our website for up to date trip times.

If I am pregnant, can I go?

We do not recommend rafting if you are more than two months pregnant.

What do I wear?

Cooler Months: For optimum comfort – synthetic, quick-drying layers. We don’t recommend cotton – it holds water and wicks away body heat. Secure shoes with a heel strap are required. (tennis shoes, water shoes, sports sandals with a heel strap). Wool or fleece socks will help keep you warmer.

Summer: Shorts / No Jeans / No denim / Bathing suit or t-shirt / Secure fitting shoes. No flip-flops or bare feet allowed. Bring a dry towel, dry clothes and dry shoes for after the trip.

Can I bring a camera on the trip?

Anything that you bring on the river will get wet and could possibly get lost during the trip. We have lockers available on site where you can store your camera while you raft. Keep in mind we capture pictures during your adventure you can purchase from our office.

Do you raft in the rain?

We do raft in the rain. Rafting is one of the best rainy day activities because getting wet is part of the fun! We may delay the trip for a few minutes to allow a strong storm to pass.

What if I have to cancel?

Cancellation Policy:
For Groups Greater than 10:  Full refund with notice 7 days or more prior to trip date.  We’ll reschedule or offer vouchers for cancellations within the 7 day window.
For Groups Less than 10:  Full refund with notice 48 hours prior to trip date.  We’ll reschedule or offer vouchers for cancellations within the 48-hour window.

Is parking free?

Yes, parking is always included in your rafting trip.

Need Directions?

Plug us into your GPS.
Smoky Mountain Outdoors
3299 Hartford Rd,
Hartford, TN 37753