The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has been rafting rivers in the Southeast since 1972. Known as the leader in whitewater adventure, they offer white water rafting and float trips on 7 different rivers. With almost 40 years of experience and guides that have been recognized as some the best in the industry, you can feel confident that your trip will be relaxing and safe!
Learn more about the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
In addition to great shopping and advice, there are some cool attractions at this store! The children’s department has a bear cave and upstairs there is a swinging rope bridge! There is also an indoor climbing wall!
Visit our friends and neighbors! Just 1.5 miles down the road from ERA in the Smokies, the Great Outpost is the last building on the left before you enter the National Park!
Visit the Great Outpost’s Activity Basecamp to plan your next rafting adventure! Choose from 3 different rafting trips close to Gatlinburg.
The Pigeon River is Gatlinburg’s closest rafting destination. Located at the eastern edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this river has class III-IV rapids along the eastern most border of Great Smoky Mountains . I rafted this river last summer and had a blast! Raft this river Tuesday through Thursday or Saturdays in the summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Upper Pigeon Adventure – Splash through big, bouncy wave trains and nearly-continuous Class II-IV rapids.
Lower Pigeon Float – family float trip available for kids as young as 3. Splashing and swimming encouraged!
These trips depart from the Pigeon Outpost in Hartford, TN – 30 miles east of Gatlinburg.
Travel 60 miles through the National Park and into the Nantahala National Forest and you will find the Nantahala River and the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s main campus. In addition to family friendly rafting, you will find several restaurants, a pub, and a fully-stocked outfitter’s store.
Nantahala Splash – 8 miles of practice on easy Class II rapids, ending with an exciting Class III!
All of these rivers are great, but they are farther away from Gatlinburg. That’s why we recommend the Pigeon River first, followed by the Nantahala, if you are staying in Gatlinburg!
What to wear:
- Expect to get wet! Wear a bathing suit or other clothing that you don’t mind getting wet. Avoid heavy fabrics that hold water and don’t dry quickly (avoid cotton).
- No flip-flops! Shoes that fasten securely to your feet are required at all times!
- Wear Sunscreen – waterproof is best!
- Sunglasses with a strap
- Bring a change of clothing and a towel for after your trip!
Check out NOC’s Frequently Asked Questions about White Water Rafting Trips. I found these very useful in planning my trip!
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.