Rafting in the Smokies Hartford, TN

Rafting in the Smokies3595 Hartford Rd.Hartford, TN 37753
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Total Price: $44.25 (USD)
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TripAdvisor user rating 5.00 out of 5 Based on 2782 reviews


Rafting in the Smokies is a white water rafting and adventure-filled family attraction that has been entertaining families, groups and couples alike since 1978. Their outdoor area includes a variety of fun outdoor activities. Guests can opt for exciting whitewater rafting, canopy ziplining, ropes course and rock climbing, kid friendly float trip, swimming and more.

up to 2 hrs

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Hartford Travel Experts
  • Take time to enjoy their picnic tables with BBQ grill, swings, bean bag toss game, swimming beach, and nature trail all on their Family Adventure Island accessed by a 150-ft. swinging bridge.
  • River Outpost located in Hartford (exit 447 off I-40), about a 30-40 minute scenic drive from Gatlinburg.
  • Changing facilities with hot showers available.
  • Best to wear shorts and a t-shirt made of quick-dry, synthetic material - you will get wet.
  • Sneakers, river sandals, or water shoes recommended; No flip-flops, Crocs, or bare feet allowed.
  • Combos available in season with zip lines, and ropes challenge course.


from Rafting in the Smokies
Need an adventure? Rafting in the Smokies has a white water rafting outdoor adventure for you. Bring your family, friends or both and experience a trip you will never forget. It will be the highlight of your vacation!

UPPER SECTION (Pigeon River)
The Big Pigeon River boasts twelve class III and three class IV thrilling whitewater rapids! Accompanied by one of Rafting in the Smokies professional river guides, you'll be escorted down five miles of lively whitewater, rafting through class III & IV rapids such as "Too Late, Vegamatic, Razor Blade, After Shave, and Lost Guide."

The scenery surrounding the Pigeon River is just as breath-taking as the rapids. Skirted by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cherokee National Forest, Martha Sundquist State Forest and the Appalachian Trail, the Pigeon has carved its rocky riverbed through some of the most dramatic country in East Tennessee.

No Experience Necessary - Minimum age: 8 years old or 70 lbs. - Features 1 ½ hours of spectacular whitewater. Must be able to fit into 56? personal flotation devices.

LOWER SECTION (Pigeon River)
Looking for a way to really relax and enjoy nature's beauty? Do you have children who weigh less than 70 lbs? If you answered yes to either, then check out the Lower Section of the Pigeon River! The Class I and II rapids and one Class III at the end of the trip, make this very casual and laid-back section of the Pigeon River perfect for everyone 3 years old and up! Rafting in the Smokies will assist you, your family, and your friends down approximately six miles of relaxing waves and rippling mountain water. You'll gaze at the beautiful Smoky Mountain surroundings as you casually float this section of the Pigeon River. If someone in your group needs a little more adventure, guests can plan coinciding trips on the Upper and Lower Pigeon. The portion of the group rafting the Lower Pigeon Float Trip can be scheduled to coincide with the other portion of the group's Upper Pigeon Trip.

No Experience Necessary - Minimum age: 3 years old and up - Features 2 hours of introductory whitewater - Length of rafting trip is 6 miles. Must be able to fit into 56? personal flotation devices.

Rafting in the Smokies Reviews

17 Reviews
Esther Alicea  Tripster User Profile Image
Esther Alicea
Naples , FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
August 2021
What a great trip, zip lining & rafting. We’ll definitely be back. Thanks
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Tip: Have close sandals for rafting & towel/dry clothes

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Deanna Snow Tripster User Profile Image
Deanna Snow
Palm Harbor, FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
July 2019
Rafting was on my bucket list. We hadNoah as our guide! He was water savy, knowlegeable and FUN. We had such an amazing time. I will always remember this experience. We laughed hard, we paddled hard and we splashed hard! I would recommend Rafting in the Skokie to EVERYNE
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Gary Bebber Tripster User Profile Image
Gary Bebber
Avington, VA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great rafting trip"
September 2018
We loved every minute of the trip rafting and the guide we had was wonderful she explained everything and told us about everything going down the river . I would suggest it to anyone and everyone. I plan on doing it again.Price was great !Enjoyed everything
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Tip: You are going to have a great time

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Timothy Roberson Tripster User Profile Image
Timothy Roberson
Raleigh, NC
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
August 2018
My teenage cousins had the best time ever. Zip-lining and white water rafting was something outside the norm of amusement parks. The staff was awesome and made sure we were safe. Simple love the adventure. We definitely will be back.
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Krista Murphy Tripster User Profile Image
Krista Murphy
Waldorf, MD
1 Review
Verified Traveler
August 2018
amazing experience. My family had a great time. The guides were very knowledgeable and fun. Great family friendly trip and we were very pleased.
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Bridgett Hart Tripster User Profile Image
Bridgett Hart
Wylie, TX
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Loved it!"
August 2018
I took my family here and we had so much fun. There was so much to do and to choose from. White water rafting was awesome. We can't wait to go back.
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Tip: Wonder works was awesome. Dolly Parton Stampede was so much fun. Bible museum. It was awesome.

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Phil Hoffmeyer Tripster User Profile Image
Phil Hoffmeyer
1 Review
"Amazing Adventure for Parents and Kids"
August 2018
We had an awesome experience ziplining and white water rafting! The staff was so kind and fun! My wife and I loved every minute of it! Our kids (6 & 7 years old) loved it just as much! What a great way to experience nature by soaring through the treetops and riding the river in the heart of the smokies! Excellent way to show and teach the kids a deep appreciation for the outdoors in our amazing country! Our guide, Josh, made it a truly AWESOME ADVENTURE for us! Thanks Josh!
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Tip: Wear aqua shoes. Bring good floating strapes for your shades. If you get out of the raft to swim, float on your back and look up into the sky-TOTAL RELAXATION!

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Balu Krishna Tripster User Profile Image
Balu Krishna
Dunwoody, GA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome Trip"
August 2016
This is the first time we tried rafting. We do have a kid who is 3 years old. The lower river rafting that we did was very nice with our kid. The guide was friendly and knowledgeable.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Rafting in the Smokies

Is there a guide in every raft?

Yes, there is a guide in every raft.

Do I have to know how to swim?

No, you will be wearing a life jacket and we don't recommend that you swim in whitewater.

How do I get back to my car?

The Upper Pigeon trip: you will drive to our outpost in Hartford and we will shuttle you upstream to the put-in point at the dam where the trip starts and will raft back down to our outpost where your car is and where we have changing facilities, restrooms and showers. The Lower Pigeon trip will start at our outpost and you will be bussed back after your trip.

How far are you from Gatlinburg?

The reservation office is located 1 mile from downtown Gatlinburg on Hwy 321 N (813 E. Parkway). The Pigeon River Outpost is located approximately 30 minutes from our Gatlinburg office off of I-40 exit 447.

Can I go if I am a bit overweight?

There are some very large life jackets available; the chest measurement is up to approximately 56 inches. If you are not sure, we have a jacket in our reservation office in Gatlinburg. You are welcome to come by and try it on. We recommend that you make a reservation and if you do not fit in the life jacket, we will cancel the reservation without any charges. But, it would be best to come by two days prior to your trip.

If I am pregnant can I go?

Sorry, anyone pregnant cannot raft, float or zipline.

Do you have a minimum age for children?

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

What are the times of your trips?

The water level on the Pigeon River is dependent on a hydroelectric power plant. From Memorial Day to Labor Day we raft Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 11 AM and 5 PM. Earlier in the spring (March-April) and later in the fall (September-October) trip availability is based on rainfall as we raft the natural flow of the river. This means no guaranteed water release from the dam. Natural flow water is great fun for team building, nature sightseeing, and playing on the water. Our guides are well trained for natural flow trips and are great at making your adventure on the Big Pigeon memorable. Ziplines operate from 9 AM to 8 PM every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day and it is in your best interest to schedule all activities on the same day in order to eliminate unnecessarily travel time. The trip time selected is your rafting trip time. Please call the number on your e-ticket to schedule your zipline time.

What do I wear?

The best thing to wear is shorts and a t-shirt. You must also raft in shoes that will stay on your feet. No flip-flops, loose crocs or bare feet please. If you are rafting during the colder months, wear clothing that will not absorb much water like wool, fleece, polypro, etc. - no jeans, sweats or anything with cotton please. We provide nylon jackets and pants to wear over your clothing at no extra charge and also offer wetsuit rentals.

Can I bring a camera or do you take our picture?

Please do not bring along your camera unless it's waterproof. It will get wet! We do have a professional photographer who will take a photo of your raft trip. You can view and purchase your photos after trip. We usually burn them to a CD and you can print as many as you’d like.

Do I need to bring anything on the trip with me?

No. Our trips range from 1-3 hours so there is no need to bring anything. We recommend that you lock your valuables in your vehicle. We have a safe place for you to store your keys.

What about inclement weather?

We raft rain or shine because you will get wet anyway. If there is lightning in the area our river managers or trip leaders may choose to delay the trip but the trip will not be cancelled.

If I purchase a combo ticket, do I raft and zip on the same day?

Yes, it is best to schedule all the activities on the same day in order to eliminate unnecessary travel time. Usually, we can accommodate your preferred activity schedule. Please note, the time selected in the combos is your Rafting Time. Please call Rafting in the Smokies' number on your e-ticket to schedule zipline times.