Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions in Hartford, TN

3541 Hartford RoadHartford, TN 37753
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Come enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by rafting the Pigeon River in beautiful Hartford, TN! This half day whitewater rafting expedition will be the talk of your vacation! It offers two different rafting trips appropriate for any age and skill level; the Upper Section rides through class III and IV rapids for ages 8 and up (or 70+ pounds), while the Lower is a scenic float trip for ages 3 and up.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Hartford Travel Experts
  • 45 minute drive from Gatlinburg.
  • Bring a change of clothes and towel.
  • Closed toed shoes required.
  • Raft rain or shine.
  • All guides are certified.
  • Pregnant women cannot raft.
  • Children ages 3 and up can raft lower section.
  • Age requirement is 8+ for upper section.
  • Raft Upper or Lower Pigeon River.
  • Upper section features Class III & IV rapids.
  • Lower section features Class I and II rapids.
  • 60+ rapids on Upper section tour.


from Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions
Experience the best whitewater rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Big Creek Expeditions, Inc. is a whitewater rafting company located on the Pigeon River in beautiful Hartford, Tennessee. We are one of the premier attractions in Eastern TN. No matter the size of your group, Big Creek Expeditions, Inc. will give you the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Smokies on a professionally guided whitewater rafting adventure.

We offer two different rafting trips appropriate for any age and skill level:

Upper Pigeon River
The Upper Section of the Pigeon River offers a classic whitewater trip for ages 8 and up (or 70+ lbs). Perfect for groups, families, couples or individuals with a thirst for adventure, regardless of skill levels. No experience necessary--each boat is guided by a professional, experienced guide navigating you through class III-IV rapids. Enjoy the best the Smoky Mountains has to offer while getting soaking wet and making lifelong memories.

Lower Pigeon River
The Scenic Float trip is a beautiful Class I-II trip through the gorge as the Pigeon River cuts its way through the mountains. Offering trips for ages 3 and up, the Scenic Float trip allows guests to bask in the splendor of the Smoky Mountains while cooling off from the summer heat. Perfect for those wanting to spend a day enjoying the mountains and being on the water, but not quite ready for the adrenaline packed Upper Section. An experienced, professional guide in each boat, no experience necessary.

Tripster Customer Reviews

22 Reviews
Mary Lawrence-Kirk
Hinckley, OH
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"An adventure!"
August 2020 NEW
Steve was a great guide. With his experience we felt safe and comfortable. The whole experience was enjoyable. We would like to go in the spring to experience bigger rapids. We would definetly use Big Creek again. Very organized.
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Lash George
1 Review
"Ask for Stoney!"
July 2019
I loved The rafting, I’m scared of the water and can not really swim. Stoney made me feel comfortable, showed me how to tuck my feet in the boat and enjoy! I smiled And laughed the whole ride! Great please
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Tip: They care about ur safety and u enjoying yourself!!!

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Michele Ensminger
Hummelstown, PA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"What a great ride!"
June 2019
We choose Big Creek after watching some you tube videos about their rafting expeditions. We were planning a road trip with the grandkids ages 9 and 14. We wanted to give them a rafting experience, but the 9 yr old was a bit nervous about the rapids. He sW the young kids going, but was still a little reluctant, so we only scheduled the float trip on the lower Pigeon River. At check in, the young woman at the counter talked our grandson into rafting the upper Part of the River where there were class 3 & 4 rapids. He had seen the videos of the rapids so he knew what she was talking about and agreed he’d go. We were ALL glad he did. From the first rapid, he was hooked. Our guide Shane, was terrific. He explained everything to our grandson, so there were no surprises except for how much fun he had. Shane was a wealth of knowledge about rafting, and about the River. We really appreciated his patience and handling of our grandson. At the end of our road trip he declared the raft trip as the number one adventure. We also took clean clothes, dry shoes and towels so we could shower when we got off the river. There are very nice shower houses on site. Being dry and clean on the ride back to our cabin, was a real comfort. Thank you Big Creek, and especially Shane.
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Tip: Wear water shoes, and don’t worry if it’s raining. You will be wet anyway.

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Eli Blanchard
1 Review
"Family Vacation Fun & Excitement"
July 2018
My family of 12 did this and it worked out great, 2 rafts of 6. Everyone highlighted this as the most fun had during our weeklong vacation this year. The water was up, so was the excitement. You will have great pictures available to purchase afterwards and great memories too! ENJOY.
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Tip: If you don't do this, you're missing out on great fun and adventure.

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Chad Shoemake
1 Review
"Awesome Family Fun"
June 2018
Great time for the whole family. We had four skeptical first timers with us but by the end of the trip they wanted to go again immediately. Thanks to our river guide Elton. Highly recommend Big Creek Expeditions
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Amy Mescher
1 Review
"This was awesome family fun!"
June 2018
My family loved! My 3 kids ages 20, 18, & 15 are very active & adventurous & this did NOT disappoint! Our guide was helpful...could have spoken a little louder. Difficult for front rafters to hear directions. Best part was letting us jump out of raft; swimming & flowing down the river! My youngest immediately after finishing was asking when we could white water raft again! Great time. The company was well run & organized. Definitely recommend the Upper Pigeon for an adventure!
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Tip: Wear shoes with heel straps or tennis shoes...no flip flops ; bring dry change of clothes & dhoes

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Carrie Scarbrough
Deltona, FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Big Creek Expeditions was AWESOME!"
August 2016
We went on an Upper Pigeon river rafting trip, and it was amazing. Our guide was very knowledgeable, and really accommodating to my son with autism. There were SOOOO many rafts in the water, and it was obvious that so many of the other guides were too young and inexperienced. I was really thankful we chose Big Creek, based on the experience level of the guides alone. The office was really accommodating as well, and the photos turned out really great.
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Tip: Need to print your tickets!

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Jerry Pennington
Shreveport, LA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Big Creek Rafting"
August 2016
It was so much fun and the guides were very funny, helpful and were able to speak the history of the area.
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Tip: Make sure you wear old shoes, bring extra cloths as they have showers and changing rooms for after the trip.

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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Denham Springs, Louisiana
"Awesome experience"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 30, 2020 NEW
We went on our first rafting trip with Big Creek and were not disappointed. Everyone from the check in office to our guide Ryan were all helpful and kind. Ryan our guide was especially helpful with our 9 year old. He kept her safe in the back of the raft and talked her through the whole trip. Thanks everyone for making this first experience a memorable one.
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Orlando, Florida
"Awesome ride!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 18, 2020 NEW
We just finished an amazing experience on the white water w guide Wesley. He was an excellent guide, made the ride very smooth, had different tricks for us rafters to really enjoy the experience and get involved. Would ride w this company again. Everything was very easy, all equipment and protective gear provided for the tour. Awesome experience overall!
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TripAdvisor user image
"Thanks big Creek!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 09, 2020
Had a great trip today! Been dying to do this for a while. Josh brought us down the lower pigeon, he was great! Funny, made us feel comfortable. Then we did the upper pigeon with Teddy, awesome time, good laughs, very knowledgeable men. Can't wait to do it again. I would highly recommend you get out their and visit big Creek and these fellas! The ladies inside were great too! Photos were awesome😁😁
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TripAdvisor user image
Convoy, Ohio
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 03, 2020
We had a large party and the folks at Big Creek were so helpful and accommodating. Great to work with from start to finish. It was our first rafting experience, but we went on the upper river for the faster ride. I highly suggest it. it was awesome. Shane C. was our guide, and he made it a personal experience. Great stories and knowledge as well as making sure he made it fun for the teens in our raft. He was GREAT! The kids were still talking about him on our way home. It was the highlight of our Smoky Mountain vacation. Thanks to BigCreek Expeditions for an amazing experience.
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TripAdvisor user image
"Amazing Day!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 29, 2020
This was my groups first time WWR and it was amazing! Our guide was Phish and we could not have asked for a better guide. He was funny and kind and he definitely knew what he was doing! We will definitely be back!!
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Frequently Asked Questions about Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions

What is the minimum age required at Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions?
The minimum age/weight for the Upper Pigeon is 8 yrs old or 70 lbs.
The minimum age for the Lower Pigeon Float trip is 3 yrs old.

What do I need to wear / bring?
Foot protection is required. You will need old shoes or sandals that go around your ankle. Flip flops are not allowed on the river. You will get wet! Bring a change of clothes, shoes and a towel for after the trip. Mountain weather is unpredictable, so come prepared for anything. In the summer, we recommend shorts, a T-shirt, a hat, and sunscreen. In the spring, when it is cold, wool and Polypropylene, or other synthetic materials are recommended. Cotton is not recommended because it will rob the body of heat and restricts movement when it is wet.

Can I take a camera?
We do not recommend taking anything on the river that you do not want to lose or get wet. We have disposable waterproof cameras available for purchase in our outpost store, or you can purchase one of our professional photos after your trip.

What if I can't swim?
No experience necessary! We take first - timers down all the time. You will be provided a personal floatation device and instructions on what to do if you come out of the raft. We do not recommend swimming in whitewater.

How far are you from Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge?
Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions is located in Hartford, Tennessee – about an hour from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

What if the weather is bad?
Big Creek Expeditions runs trips rain or shine. Only if there is danger from lightning would we delay trips leaving the outpost.

How will I get back to my car?
You will be provided shuttle service to the put-in at no additional charge. Your trip will end at the outpost where you park your car. Please lock your valuables in your vehicle. We have a secure location in the outpost to keep your car keys.

Do I need to be physically fit?
Participation is required on all of Big Creek Expeditions trips. You will need to be in good physical condition. You may be asked to help with moving of equipment and rafts both at the put-in and the take out. Please consult with your family physician before taking part in strenuous activity. If you are pregnant please understand that you will not be allowed to participate.