Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors in Hartford, TN

3299 Hartford RdHartford, TN 37753
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Conveniently located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains on the Pigeon River, White Water Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors (SMO) offers an exciting adventure for everyone to enjoy. Guests can choose between the family friendly lower Pigeon River rafting trip (with class 1 and 2 rapids), an upper Pigeon River white water rafting adventure (with class 3 and 4 rapids) or an upper Pigeon Extreme white water rafting trip for experienced riders only.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Hartford Travel Experts
  • 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.
  • 45-minute drive from Gatlinburg.
  • Bring a change of clothes & towel.
  • Closed toed shoes required.
  • Raft rain or shine
  • Cameras allowed at own risk.
  • Souvenir photos available.


from Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors
Enjoy an exciting whitewater rafting trip with SMO Rafting, recipient of TripAdvisor's prestigious Certificate of Excellence year after year and winner of the 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Award.

The Pigeon River, located about 45 minutes from Gatlinburg, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, offers breathtaking scenery and white water rafting thrills! Experience the Class III and IV Upper Pigeon River section for ages 8+, or the milder Class I and II Lower Pigeon River section for ages 3+.

No prior experience is necessary. All of our Tennessee rafting trips include a professional river guide to keep your adventure safe and enjoyable. White water rafting is something the whole family can enjoy.

Bring a change of clothes and a towel. We have changing rooms, showers, and an on-site casual eatery.

Everyone must wear secure fitting shoes. No Flip-flops or bare feet.

Please note: Rafting is not available in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. Please check in at our riverside outpost in Hartford, TN one hour prior to your trip time.

Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors Reviews

58 Reviews
Lynn Hoffmann Tripster User Profile Image
Lynn Hoffmann
Saint Louis , MO
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Water rafting"
September 2021
Was a great experience. The people that work there are very good at explaining the rules and the details of the rafting. Had so much fun!
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AILEEN CREECH Tripster User Profile Image
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Lower rafting"
July 2021
It was first time for my 7 year old son. Although he got scared during the trip, the experience he will share will last a lifetime. Shannon, our guide was funny and amazing. Thank you for the memories.
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Holly Bodish Tripster User Profile Image
Holly Bodish
Waukesha, WI
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Family fun"
June 2021
Great time for the whole family ages 8-76!
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timothy burns Tripster User Profile Image
timothy burns
elyria, OH
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Beautiful scenery"
August 2019
Good for the family
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Tip: Be ready to get wet

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Mihaela Onis Tripster User Profile Image
Mihaela Onis
Morton Grove, IL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Combo Rafting Experience!"
July 2019
Although I was interested in white water rafting, I can't deny that I was a bit afraid. Sean was an amazing guide and put everyone at ease. We had such a great time with him. This was definitely one of the highlights of our vacation in Tennessee. We hope to return again.
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Tip: book online; you will get wet

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Yvette Gordon Tripster User Profile Image
Yvette Gordon
Redondo Beach, CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Rafting in the Smokies"
July 2019
Excellent safe time! They have a well-organized system over there!
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danielle bossom Tripster User Profile Image
danielle bossom
Denham Springs, LA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Wonderful staff and fun time!"
July 2019
Booked online before the trip. arrived and was greeted by 2 nice young men who directed us to parking. checked in and then was assigned our river guides. Aeron was AWESOME to say the least! SHe was fantastic and would love to raft with her again! We had a wonderful time
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Donald Weber Tripster User Profile Image
Donald Weber
Oak Ridge, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
July 2019
This company was very organized and our guide MacKenzie was a gem. She made the trip a lot of fun. We wanted to add her to our family. We had a great time.
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Tip: MacKenzie is awesome!

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Frequently Asked Questions about Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Are all Smoky Mountain Outdoors rafting trips guided?
Yes, all trips are fully guided.

How far is Smoky Mountain Outdoors from Gatlinburg?
The Smoky Mountain Outdoors Pigeon River Outpost is located about 45 minutes north of Gatlinburg. It is the closest whitewater rafting to the Smoky Mountain area.

Do I have to know how to swim?
No, every guest is issued a type 5, Coast Guard approved personal floatation device. The "PFD" is designed to give you all of the floatation needed on the river.

However, guests who reserve the Raft and Kayak River Combo must know how to swim.

Can I go if I am a bit overweight?
There are no upper limit weight requirements for rafting. Our "PFD's" can accommodate a chest girth of 54". Kayaks have a weight limit of 250 lbs.

Is there a minimum age requirement?
The minimum age/weight for the Upper Pigeon trip is 8 years old or 70 pounds. You have to be at least 3 years old to go on the Lower Pigeon trip. For kayaking trips, guests must be a minimum of 12 years of age.

When are raft trips scheduled?
The Pigeon River is not a free flowing river. About ten miles upstream from our launch area there is a dam that regulates the amount of water flowing down the river. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the flow is consistent and we can schedule accordingly. During the summer months we raft Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday starting 11AM and trips depart every half hour until 5PM. The spring and fall trip availability will be based on local rainfall.

If I am pregnant can I go?
We do not recommend rafting if you are more than two months pregnant.

What do I wear for a rafting trip with Smoky Mountain Outdoors?
Shorts, t-shirt and secure fitting shoes. No flip-flops or bare feet allowed. During the Spring and Fall avoid cotton clothing, it really absorbs water and will make you cold. Wear clothing that will not absorb much water like wool. Good synthetic fabrics are fleece and polypropylene. Do not wear jeans.. We also provide nylon jackets and pants to wear over your clothing at no extra charge. Also, bring a dry change of clothes and a towel for after the trip. If for some reason you forget secure shoes, they are for sale at the outpost. 

Can I bring a camera on the rafting trip?
We recommend that you lock all personal items in you vehicle. Anything that you bring on the river will get wet and could possibly get lost during the trip. We will take pictures of your boat during the trip that can be seen and purchased after your trip.

Do you raft in the rain?
We raft rain or shine. Rafting is one of the best rainy day activities because getting wet is part of the fun! We may delay the trip for a few minutes to allow a strong storm to pass.