A Thrill Seekers Guide to White Water Rafting in The Smoky Mountains

Are you ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure in the heart of the Smokies? There’s a reason why people come from all over to experience white water rafting in the Smoky Mountains.

This area offers some seriously awesome rafting experiences with rushing rapids, amazing scenery, and opportunities to make memories you’ll never forget.

Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or never even considered rafting before, Smoky Mountain white water rafting offers something perfect for everyone.

Upper White Water River Rafting The Smoky Mountains

You’ll want to check out the Upper Pigeon River for an unforgettable white water rafting experience designed for the thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie.

Here you’ll find a 6.5-mile stretch of water with 70 rapids. This makes it one of the longest and most exciting trips in the area. Take on big waves and rocky areas, and even catch a little air on some drops—all under the expert guidance of your certified guide.

Don't let the intensity intimidate you, though. The Upper River Trip is suitable for both experienced paddlers and adventurous newbies.

If you're at least 8 years old or weigh 70 pounds, you can join the fun. And with a trip time of 1.5 to 2 hours (depending on water levels), you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch your breath between the heart-pumping rapids.

Lower White Water Rafting Smoky Mountains

If you're looking for a more laid-back rafting experience that's perfect for families, the Lower River Rafting trip is just the ticket you want.

This 5-mile journey begins at the outpost and takes you downstream through milder rapids. It's a great way to soak in the stunning scenery of the Smokies while still getting a taste of the excitement.

One of the best parts? You'll have a professional guide by your side the entire time. They'll not only keep you safe but also share their knowledge of the area, crack jokes, and make sure everyone has a blast.

Plus, transportation is provided back to the outpost after your trip, so all you have to worry about is having fun.

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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Smoky Mountain White Water Rafting

To ensure you have the best possible experience on the river, keep these tips in mind:

Wear the Provided Helmet

Safety comes first! Always wear the helmet provided by your rafting company. It's there to protect you from any bumps or knocks along the way.

Even if you're a confident swimmer, accidents can happen in the unpredictable waters of the Smoky Mountains. So, strap on that helmet and enjoy your adventure with peace of mind.

Gear Up Properly

Wear quick-drying, synthetic clothing that won't weigh you down when wet. Avoid cotton and opt for secure, closed-toe shoes. If the weather is chilly, wetsuits may be provided. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, even on cloudy days.

The sun's rays can be deceptively strong when you're out on the water. And if you wear glasses, consider investing in a strap to keep them securely in place.

Don't Take Anything You Can't Afford to Lose

Leave your valuables back at the cabin. Bring only the essentials, like sunscreen and a waterproof camera.

If you need to bring keys or a small amount of cash, ask your guide about secure storage options on the raft. And while it might be tempting to bring your phone along to capture the moment, remember that even waterproof cases can fail in the rough waters.

Know What to Do If You Fall Out

Listen closely to your guide's instructions. If you do take an unexpected swim, stay calm, float on your back with your feet pointing downstream, and wait for assistance. Don't try to stand up in the fast-moving water, as you could get caught on rocks or debris.

Just remember, you have a guide no matter what. They are trained to handle the situation and they’ll be there to get you back up onto the raft as soon as possible. The likelihood of actually falling out is slim too.

Learn the T-Grip

Master the proper way to hold your paddle using the T-grip technique. This will give you more control and prevent injuries. Your guide will demonstrate the correct hand placement at the beginning of your trip.

Keep one hand firmly grasping the T-grip at the top of the paddle, while the other hand holds the shaft closer to the blade. This technique will allow you to navigate the rapids with confidence and avoid accidentally hitting your fellow rafters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best month to go white water rafting?

The rafting season in the Smoky Mountains typically runs from spring through fall, with the peak season being June through August. However, each month offers a unique experience, from the lush greenery of spring to the vibrant colors of autumn.

How much does it cost to go white water rafting in Gatlinburg?

Prices vary depending on the rafting company and trip you choose. But if youbook a cabin with Bear Camp Cabins, you'll receive a complimentary white water rafting ticket—so you have no excuse not to get on the raft and experience something new.

It’s not all about relaxing and unwinding with the beautiful mountain backdrop. Throw a curveball of excitement in your life and give white water rafting in the Smoky Mountains a try! 

Final Thoughts

White water rafting in the Smoky Mountains is an experience you and your family won’t ever forget. Whether you decide to take on the Upper River and its intense rapids or the Lower River and its more leisurely experience - you know you’ll come away with some great memories.

Tack on the complimentary rafting ticket when you book with Bear Camp Cabins and you have no excuse not to take the plunge. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your paddle and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the stunning Smoky Mountains!

Book Your White Water Rafting Adventure in the Smokies Today!

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