Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions in Hartford, TN

3541 Hartford RoadHartford, TN 37753
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Overview

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.

Description

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

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
"Awesome!!"
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
Matt M
"A Splash of Fun"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 27, 2019
My wife and I have taken two trips with Big Creek and both times they have provided a load of fun. The guides have been knowledgeable and made the trip down the river very fun.
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KnJVaca
Grand Rapids, Michigan
"So fun!!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 17, 2019
Our family loved our adventure! We did the upper rapids (the "wilder" one,) and even with our 9-year old with us, but we easily could have certainly handled a little rougher rapids. All-in-all it was a great time! Our guide was great :)
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Steve C
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
"Group River Rafting Trip"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed October 10, 2019
We scheduled our group of 15 adult kids for an afternoon rafting trip with these guys. With the size of our party, we split up into two groups with two guides. Each rafting trip entails getting on a bus and traveling up the highway for about 20 minutes to an up stream destination. Each fully loaded bus carries around 8-10 rafts to the river launch site. We were hoping to see Class IV rapids but the most we saw was Class III. Best time to go is after a heavy rain if you want to get into some good Class IV rapids. Only one in our group had been WWR previously so the Class III water worked out for our inexperienced group. In Summary, we all had a great time when the actual rafting activity started. The only negative thing about the trip was that they told us to be at Big Creek check-in by 11:00 am for a 12:00 rafting trip which didn't really start till almost 2:00. Not very happy about sitting around for 2 hour with nothing to do!
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gaking89
Danville, Indiana
"Anniversary "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 18, 2019
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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311eileens
"Great time"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 13, 2019
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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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.