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
Looking for an exciting family expedition or memorable outdoor adventure?

Come enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by rafting the Pigeon River! This half day whitewater rafting expedition will be the talk of your vacation. The Pigeon River is the closest whitewater rafting adventure to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

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; the Upper Section is a thrilling ride 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.

Upper Pigeon River
View the scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee National Forest while enjoying a fully-guided 6 mile stretch of whitewater. Raft over exciting drops and through exhilarating white capped waves. The Upper Pigeon River Trip offers 60 plus rapids that include 12 Class III rapids and 4 Class IV rapids. This provides your group the perfect outdoor adventure. Names of rapids on this section include Powerhouse, Lost Guide, Double Reactionary, and Accelerator. Absolutely no rafting experience is required for this Appalachian expedition. (Minimum age limit: 8 years or 70 pounds)

Lower Pigeon River
The Lower Pigeon River Trip is more relaxing & better suited for those who seek a more leisurely trip, or have children that do not meet the requirements for the Upper Pigeon River Trip. The Lower Section consists of fully guided Class I & II whitewater. Your group can expect plenty of time for swimming and playing in the river on this trip! This is the premier float trip for those looking for scenic views of the Smoky Mountains. No experience necessary. (Minimum Age: 3 years)

Tripster Customer Reviews

21 Reviews
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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Sarah Y.
mount washington , KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
July 2016
The experience was amazing. Me or my son had never even been in a boat and so we were a little nervous. But the young girl that took us was awesome. Sweet, funny and made the experience great. Already planning on going again next month!
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Tip: Wear sunscreen on your knees. Sounds crazy but both my son and boyfriends knees were the only thing burnt when we were finished lol

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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Danville, Indiana
"Anniversary "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 18, 2019 NEW
Great time! Good equipment and great staff. Had a blast on the river! Brett was an awesome guide on the river. Knowledge of the history and cool facts along the way made for a wonderful day on the river! Thank you
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TripAdvisor user image
"Great time"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 13, 2019 NEW
Well organized, friendly guides and the river is absolutely beautiful. Our guide Stoney was very informative and fun and he made the trip even more enjoyable. Our party of 5 did the calm trip, was 6 beautiful miles. Do it! That’s my recommendation.
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Ursula P
"White water rafting"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 06, 2019 NEW
Level 3/4 was perfect for a family of beginners, safe but still exciting! Good equipment, knowledgeable friendly staff, on schedule... Thanks to Joey for a great afternoon!
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Koree R
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 02, 2019 NEW
Excellent experience. Family oriented company. The guide was thorough, friendly, and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend Big Creek Expeditions for both first time rafters and all others! A wonderful experience.
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Steve C
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
"First Timer White Water Experiance"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed July 26, 2019 NEW
First i want to say that once we were able to get rafting, it was a blast! Our guide, Dudley, was knowledgeable, funny and completed the whole white water experience. The rapids along the upper Pigeon River are great for first timers. We had 14 in our group and I was the only one to ever do any white water rafting. The Class III & IV rapids were pretty mild for me but perfect for the rest of the group. We chose to raft on a Saturday because that is when the Dam releases the most water and the river is fastest. Any rain the night before or prior to our departure would have made the rapids much better. Overall, we all enjoyed our trip with one exception: We had to travel more than an hour from Maggie Valley for a 1:30 reservation. We were told to be onsite by 1:00. Our disappointment came when we had to wait more than 1 1/2 hours after we arrived. Also, don't bother going to buy water shoes at Walmart, they sell a better water shoe on-site for the same price as Walmart!
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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.