White Water Rafting near Gatlinburg

River rafting is a great activity to try during the warmer months and Gatlinburg sits near several excellent spots. The Pigeon River is the closest to the city but others such as the Nantahala, Ocoee and French Broad rivers all offer some great rafting experiences. Along with a fun trip on the river, rafters can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Smoky Mountains. Come enjoy some top-notch white water rafting when you book a stay at Country Town N' Suites.

White Water Rafting Tips and
Companies near Gatlinburg

There are three companies in and around Gatlinburg that offer rafting trips to nearby rivers. Those companies include SMO Rafting, Nantahala Outdoor Center and Rafting in the Smokies. Each company offers a unique experience and trips to various nearby rivers. Many of the trips are either half-day or full-day excursions with some offering lunch for a full-day experience.

All trips come with a professional guide to better help you enjoy your trip on the water. Check each outdoor adventure center for specific details on the surrounding rivers.

Pigeon River Rafting

Pigeon River is the most accessible river for those visiting Gatlinburg. All three of the above companies offer trips to the river. The river is split into upper and lower sections with each differing in difficulty and intensity. The upper section features more intense rapids, typically up to Class III or IV rapids. This portion is ideal for those wanting an adrenaline-pumping experience.

The lower section is calmer, featuring Class I and II rapids. This portion is ideal for families wanting a more relaxing float. The Pigeon River cuts through some gorgeous sections of the Smoky Mountains wilderness as it sidles up to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cherokee National Forest and Martha Sundquist State Forest.

Nantahala River Rafting

Those looking to venture farther from Gatlinburg can head south to Bryson City, North Carolina for a floating trip down the Nantahala River. Bryson City sits on the other side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Fontana Lake. Nantahala Outdoor Center offers rafting trips out of Bryson City that are perfect for the entire family.

The river is considered easy and ideal for families of all skill levels. Rapids range from Class II to Class III as the river runs through Nantahala Gorge. Rafters will get a full taste of mountain scenery, enjoying the North Carolina scenery.
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Ocoee River Rafting

Another great Tennessee rafting experience is on the Ocoee River. Nantahala Outdoor Center offers trips out of Benton, Tennessee. Guests can either ride on Middle Ocoee for a more moderate experience or spend a full day on the Ocoee River which is more challenging. Middle Ocoee is considered a half-day venture.

The full-day section, which adds about five miles of rapids to the Middle Ocoee section, includes a stretch that was part of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The scenery along the Ocoee River is pristine and provides excellent views of the Smoky Mountains.

French Broad River Rafting

Another great North Carolina river to spend some time rafting on is the French Broad River. While the river does run just north of Sevierville, the best section for rafting is near Marshall, North Carolina. This is a great place to spend a day rafting as the rapids are moderate, ranging from Class II to III.

Nantahala Outdoor Center offers both half-day and full-day trips perfect for those of any skill level. There is a stretch of whitewater rapids that includes Class IV rapids for those seeking adrenaline. Nantahala Outdoor Center's outpost is near Asheville so this rafting trip is ideal for a day trip.