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Big Bear Rafting

Rafting in the Smokies Gatlinburg, TN Outdoor Attraction Discounts

Family Adventure outdoor attraction packages including rafting and ziplining, Ropes Courses, Whitewater Rafting and Horseback Riding. Near Gatlinburg at Hartford, TN on the Upper Pigeon River in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Rafting in the Smokies
813 E Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Upper Section Whitewater Adventure

Trips on this section launch at the TN/NC state line, surrounded by views of the mountains as well as the hydroelectric powerhouse feeding water into the river. And it doesn't take long to get into the whitewater. Within minutes of the put-in, guests find themselves paddling into their first Class III rapid of the day; the aptly named Powerhouse. With the help of an experienced guide, your group will continue through a total of 10 Class III rapids and 3 Class IV rapids, before finishing the trip back at our outpost. With rapid names like Lost Guide, Double-Reactionary, and Snapdragon, guests can expect plenty of excitement on this trip. But don't worry, there will still be time between the rapids to take in the views, soak up some sun and have a swim. This is the ideal trip for those wanting to enhance the beauty of the Smokies with the thrill of whitewater rafting.

Rafting the Big Pigeon River at 8,500 CFS

A pair of high water commercial runs on the Upper Pigeon River. I guided both trips at 8,500 CFS and 8,350 CFS. Sumer of 2018 at the Tennessee, North Carolina State line.

Big Creek Expeditions Upper Pigeon River, Hartford, TN 2MAY2013

Whitewater/camping trip with my son who recently returned from overseas deployment. Great times!

Pigeon River Kayaking Hartford Tennessee

In this video we spend the morning on a kayaking adventure on the Pigeon River in Hartford Tennessee! Man did we have a great time too! Some nice faster water with some calm pools in between. A great place for new someone new to kayaking to hone their skills!

2019 White Water Rafting - Tennessee

Family White Water Rafting on the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN w/ Big Creek Adventures

White Water Rafting (my trip to Gatlinburg Tennessee part 2)

The white water rafting was a blast. The tour was 80 bucks, which I think was the cheapest quote we got on it. Most of them run about 100 dollars. I'd highly recommend doing this if you go to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, but do keep in mind it's a physical activity.

In a larger party it would of been easier, but with just me and my wife paddling and carrying the boat we were pretty wore out by the time it was over.

If you do this also do not trust google maps as they will lead you to the office instead of where the tour is actually at so when looking on gps the tour will actually be 45 minutes away from Gatlinburg and not in the city itself.

Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting (GoPro)

Me and my girlfriend went white water rafting with the family. Had a great time, definately something that you have to do!
We hooked up with Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting in Tn. They have awesome guides and very friendly. I highly recommend them!

I DO NOT OWN THIS MUSIC. just using it as a soundtrack.

Team Canada at World Cup #2, Hartford, Tennessee.

Treemont Creek TN

Types of gear I use:
Go Pro Session
Dagger Kayak
Sweet Rocker Helmet
Astral Vest
Astral Hiyak
IR Dry Top
IR Skirt
AT2 Paddle
Werner Odachi
Salamander Throw Rope
Garmin Vivosmart Hr Plus
DJI Drone

White water rafting in Tennessee & Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains. Music by Arrested Development.

GoPro footage amd edit of Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains and white water rafting..

Middle Prong Little Pigeon Kayaking - Ramsey to Greenbrier - Sevierville, TN

Ramsey Creek, which flows into Greenbrier, is a good Class IV-V, rocky creek. The difficulty wasn't quite Class V at this flow, but the pin potential and tight lines made it somewhat difficult, as you can see in some of my lines.

It was our group's first time down (Diane had done the run a long time ago at a different flow), and while low, the run was surprisingly clean, requiring only two portages, one for wood and one for an unclean line with an easy walk.

I'd run this section again for sure, but with higher flows - at this level it was just a bit too rocky.

American Whitewater Writeup:

Music: Hans Zimmer - Time (Pen Perry Remix)

Big Bend Part 17 - Going Home

In which we find out the mechanics on the C46 are taking it back to NC... we see hundreds of T. Boone Pickens windmills,... we cross the Mississippi... we photograph an Aston Martin... and come across the results of a bad tire fire on an 18 wheeler.

2016 Summer Vacation- Smoky mountains

Our 2016 summer vacation to Tennessee. We visited Smoky Mountain national park and stayed in a cabin on top of the mountains. The view was beautiful from every perspective, but it's important to me to reflect back on our vacation afterwards and to keep these memories close. We explored many parts of Tennessee including Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, Wears Valley, Hartford,and Sevierville. Lots of good memories and a great vacation!

Backseat view of whitewater rafting the Upper Pigeon River

Clips from the upper Pigeon and double reactionary.

Gooning around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee -- Discount Coasters Episode 15

Truman, Zarek, Jared, J-Wass, Dorf, Travis, Zach, and Sophie goon around Pigeon Forge for a few minutes and ride two coasters in the third video for the fourth day of the Mid-States Tour.

Follow us on Instagram:

Mid-States continues at Dollywood...

Kayaking the Hatchet Creek in Rockford Al at low water from US Hwy 231 to County Rd 29

This was a fun and hot paddle. I would definitely like the water up more. The CFS was 371at 7:30 am. We put our boats in at US Hwy 231 and paddled 16.25 miles in 07:24:56 and took our boats out at County rd 29. At 12.5 miles there was a big rapid. It almost looked like a class three. The water was a little muddy from the afternoon summer rains. I felt lucky to have the water level the way it was. The fishermen thought the water was to high. I almost forgot, The wasp nest in the tree is river right about 11 to 11.5 miles, so be careful. Hope to see you on the river.

Greenbrier trail creek in the smokey mountains

This video was uploaded from an Android phone.

Mother Bear Charges at Man After He Gets Too Close to Cubs in Tennessee

To use this video in a commercial player or broadcast, contact [email protected]

Credit: Paige Marple via Storyful
Original video:

Summer 2016 Tennessee white water rafting


bigbearGrowth occurs outside of our comfort zone.

As much as I love being near water or even on the water, I do not always like being in the water. I really don’t like my face and water touching. Like never.

Whitewater Rafting has been high on my families bucket list and even higher on The Todd’s list. It is non-existent on my list but that did not stop me from agreeing to a whitewater rafting trip during our vacation to Tennessee.

We traveled from Townsend, TN to Hartford, TN. In our one and half hour journey we passed through Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and we even stumbled onto the home office of Bush’s Baked Beans in Chestnut Hill.

Our Aunt Adela, who lives in Ashville, NC found us Groupons through Big Bear Expeditions. The float was on the Pigeon River, a damned and controlled river. There was a minimum age of 8 years old, which was perfect for us as we had two short chics that are 8! The check-in process was easy. Everyone signed waivers, changed clothing,  assigned a guide,  and then we received our gear (helmets, lifejackets, and paddles). After a safety meeting, we bordered a bus that took us on a short ride to the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

 The Walters Hydroelectric Plant sits on the North Carolina side and releases water down the Pigeon River every day. When we arrived the Pigeon River was a stream until the buzzer rang and the plant began releasing water and we watched that stream transform into a full river. Our whitewater adventure down the Upper Pigeon saw Class I, II, III, and IV rapids.

Big Bear is not the only outfitter in this area and since we were the first float of the day, we got to see all the outfitters in the same place at the same time and that sight was nothing short of overwhelming. Our group was too large for one raft, so we had to be split in half. Despite unbelievable levels of anxiety, I got in the raft and before I knew it we were on our way down the river. The water was everywhere. We were bumping rocks. My face did get wet. Towards the end, I think we might have gotten a little caught up on a rock, which caused The Short Chic to get jolted out of her position. I was so proud of her, she controlled herself to fall inside the raft and not out of the raft.

Our guide, Billy, and The Todd’s guide, Molly, were both amazing! They were entertaining, knowledgeable, and they kept us safe. If you are in the area and looking for some fun, please give this company a shout out!

Before I knew it the adventure was over; in reality it lasted an hour. Whitewater rafting may not have been on my bucket list before but given the opportunity, I might do it again. That my friends is personal growth.


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Big Bear Rafting

Call today for rafting trip specials!

General Info
White Water Rafting on the Pigeon River in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, and Asheville, NC
Regular Hours
Tue - Thu:
Recreation, whitewater rafting
Other Link

Recreation Centers
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Big Bear Rafting - Hartford, TN
RAFTING IN THE SMOKIES - Whitewater Rafting the Upper Pigeon River - Hartford, Tennessee

big bear rafting

  • loreec560

    My son and I had a wonderful ride on the Upper Pigeon River. I was ready to go back to the start and ride the rapids again. Bekka was a great guide!

  • 匿名

    My guide, Franz really made my trip awesome, making cheesy jokes and making sure all of us had a fun time, and survived the rapids on pigeon river. I was scared but I had a blast! Thank you Franz.

  • TomandCarrie

    This was a great adventure for newbies or somewhat experienced rafters. Very knowledgeable guides who really do most of the work. Well controlled and lots of fun. Well worth the money.

  • whiteminibus

    My friends and I had a great time rafting the upper Pigeon River with Big Bear! As a first time white water rafter, they took care of me and I was never scared - only thrilled. My friends who were more experienced rafter also had a great time.

  • 966nickz

    Awesome time. Staff was great. Water was refreshing. They took plenty of pics and sold them for a cheap price at the end (no pressure). Would go back there every time.

  • CaelinA_13

    Family trip over labor day weekend. Great price for the fun. They are a professional and a fun bunch of guides. We had Eddie as our guide, he was the best. He kept us all laughing the whole trip, the kids were wanting "one more time!" down the river. Eddie was able to get the boat to 'surf' a couple times at this one spot of the river which the kids really loved. They were quick to get us onto the river and just as quick getting us back. Their facilities are really nice too! They had showers available to use after the trip and great merchandise that was reasonably priced as well. They also took our pictures with the guides before the trip and upon getting back to big bear photos from our trip down the river were ready for purchase. Definitely plan on making more visits to Big Bear!

  • Bubblesushi

    Best vacation ever! Big Bear went out of their way to show me a good time. My guides, Gabby and Franz are the real deal. I had so much fun I will def go back!

  • andid672

    Gatlingburg/Pigeon Forge have so many rafting options. When we started planning for Labor Day we knew we were spending the weekend in TN, and we knew we wanted to go white water rafting. Only a few of us in our party of 7 had been white water rafting before. The price was good, $55 per person for a 2 hour trip. The staff was friendly when we got to the post, and talkative. Our tour guide was Rich, a 20 something male from Utah who was a rafting guru and adventurist. We LOVED our guide. He was strong enough to get us in and out of the boat by himself (after we went swimming), and was sociable. Our party had a WONDERFUL time and would recommend everyone try rafting if you are going to be in the area.

  • katieh146

    My 8 year old son and I just went here to go white water rafting. We live in NC, so we drove over for the day. We had an exceptionally good time. This is a relatively new company, but they did a great job! The price was reasonable and the people were phenomenal! The guides were very knowledgeable and fun. Can't say enough good things about this company--try them out!

  • Heyjude59

    My husband and I were " first timers" and we had a great time!! Our guide was the best and took our time down the river. We even one section a few times so we could "surf". We would so this again!!

  • 680ashleighb

    Best time!!! Great people to be around!!! Guides make u feel very comfortable. They take pics of u rafting u can buy at end. Great price.

  • MarkW938

    Big Bear Expeditions was excellent. Our guide, Rich, was probably the best guide we’ve ever had for anything. Fun, informative - there was no question this guy loves what he does. An excellent value for what we paid. Our family was treated as if we were the only ones there that day. The river itself is a bit tame, but our guide knew how to make the best of it – and did. When we come back here, there is no question that we will be riding with Big Bear Expeditions again!

  • 73ruthiew

    We had so much fun on this white water adventure!! Our guide knew how to hit the rapids just right. This was not our first trip, but it was by far the best! We actually took two trips while there. We went on the lower with our 3 year old grandson who had the time of his life. he LOVED it. then we went on the big one and it was amazing!! Plan on doing it again in September. Big Bear is the Best.

  • Yveluv

    What a great company. If you're an advocate of putting dollars in the pockets of locals vs big corporate, this is the tour for you. We had such a great adventure. Our guide, Samantha was knowledgeable and we'll trained. River and view of the Smokies was just what we had hoped for.

  • 240michellea

    My husband and I had a fantastic time on our white water rafting tour of the Pigeon River! Our tour guide knew a lot of the history of the land and knew all the answers to our questions. You could definitely tell that she absolutely loved her job! We would definitely go back!

  • Sours:

    Pigeon rafting big forge bear

    What to Bring

    We hope you’re excited about your outdoor adventure(s). We’re sure looking forward to welcoming you to the Great Smoky Mountains. The following instructions will help you prepare for your trip. Please read through them carefully.

    How to Prepare for Your Trip

    We provide instructions that will tell you everything you need to know about taking a trip with Rafting in the Smokies.

    Download these Instructions

    Whether your rafting, ziplining, or ropes course every guest must fill out and sign a waiver.

    Fill out and Sign Waiver

    When you receive your E-mail Ticket, please:

    Verify the date and time of your trip. If they are incorrect, notify us immediately. Print your ticket and bring it with you to the river on the day of your trip.  Please note that the time on your ticket is Eastern time.

    Print your map. Read the directions on your map ahead of time. Travel times are listed. You must be at our river outpost in Hartford,TN at least 45 minutes before your scheduled trip time. Failing to show on time will forfeit your deposit. If you must cancel, 48 hours notice is required. No refunds the day of or the day before the trip. Please do not use a GPS as they are not mountain friendly and will get you lost!!!

    Every person 18 years and older must fill out and sign their own release form. All children under 18 years of age must have a parent/legal guardian fill out and sign the appropriate part of the form. Bring your signed release forms and your ticket to the river outpost on the day of your trip.

    We Raft Rain or Shine

    Whatever the weather, you need to be at the river outpost 45 minutes before your reserved trip time.  If it is cool or rainy we provide nylon jackets and pants free of charge. You may also rent a wetsuit for $10 each.  Rain is usually welcome during the hot summer days and makes a fun trip.  During summer, we recommend wearing waterproof sunscreen. (Available at our store)

    What to Wear

    Be prepared to get wet. We recommend wearing quick-dry synthetic material shorts, t-shirt or a bathing suit, something you’re comfortable getting wet in, tennis shoes, deck shoes or river sandals. NO CROCS, FLIP-FLOPS OR BAREFEET ALLOWED. Wearing secure footwear is required by the County River Officer! Failure to wear proper footwear will result in forfeiting your trip without a refund. If needed, we have proper footwear for sale in our store. For all zipline/ropes course participants, closed-toed shoes that are secure around the ankles and knee-length shorts are required.

    Bring a towel and change of dry clothes and shoes. We have changing facilities, restrooms and hot showers but we do not have lockers. Never wear jeans or sweats, especially when it’s rainy or cool, as they absorb water and keep you wet the entire trip. If you feel you need extra clothing, we recommend nylon, fleece, polypropylene or wool (we recommend wool socks in the spring and fall).

    Glasses and Valuables

    If you wear glasses, we suggest you use an eyeglass retainer (available at our store). If you wear contact lenses and are used to playing in the water with them, wear them. If not, wear glasses with a retainer strap.

    Cold water makes even snug jewelry loose. Don’t wear any jewelry (earrings, necklaces, rings) that you are not prepared to lose to the river.

    Please do not bring a camera! Our professional photographer will take a series of digital photos of each raft. These photos will be available for viewing in our store after your trip. You can purchase a single photo or all photos(8-12 photos) on a non-copyrighted digital disc. Be sure to remember your guide’s name.  Rafting In The Smokies assumes no responsibility for the loss of any valuables.

    Your Car and Your Keys

    Be sure to lock all your valuables in your vehicle before you head down the river.  We provide a safe place for your keys during your trip.

    Just A Reminder

    For your safety, no drinks, alcoholic beverages or food are allowed on the trip. Rafting In The Smokies reserves the right to refuse anyone. Trip fees include everything you will need for your trip: all river equipment, transportation from the river outpost to the river, taxes and user fees.

    If there is anything else you’d like to know or have explained before your trip, call us. We’re looking forward to meeting you and helping you create memories that will last a lifetime!

    Big Bear Rafting 2017 Hartford TN

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