The Smoky Mountains

There’s a reason the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country. The sprawling landscapes, the scenic views, the diverse wildlife — nothing beats the sheer natural beauty of the Smokies. We’re proud to call this place our home, and we never take that for granted. Our Favorite Places In the […]

Read More
Other Parks Raise Prices, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will remain FREE!

The National Park Service is considering a plan that may double or even triple the entrance fee to some of America’s finest national parks. Visitors to the Grand Canyon, for example, will have to pay $70 for a single vehicle permit, up from an already substantial $30. We’re pleased to report that Tennessee’s national parks […]

Read More
Here’s what we’re thankful for this year!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays — not only because of the food, friends, and football, but also because it allows us to reflect on the year we’ve had. It’s been a crazy year here in East Tennessee, and we have a lot of people to thank. The wonderful people of Gatlinburg We’ve never been […]

Read More
Do's and Don'ts of White Water Rafting

If you’ve never white water rafted before, you probably have a few questions about the experience. Here are a few simple dos and don’ts for your trip with Raft Outdoor Adventures: DON’T dress inappropriately Your clothing needs will vary based on the weather, but you should always be ready to get wet! We require secure […]

Read More
Favorite TripAdvisor reviews from 2017 season

Another Summer in the Smoky Mountains has come and gone, and while we’re still offering white water rafting trips throughout the Fall, we’d like to reflect on some of our favorite customer reviews from the 2017 rafting season. Because the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, we […]

Read More
The many health benefits of spending time outdoors

Americans spend a lot of time indoors; in fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contends that we spend a whopping 93% of our lives inside (87% in buildings and 6% in cars). This is alarming on two levels: first, it’s a shame that so many of us are missing out on wonderful experiences like hiking, […]

Read More
Now is the perfect time to visit the Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, and in our opinion the Fall is the best time to visit them. The changing colors, the wildlife — nothing compares to the sheer natural beauty of the Smokies. Here are a few ideas for your trip to the area […]

Read More
We’re moving to our Fall Schedule!

The water flow on the Pigeon River is controlled by Walters Dam, a hydroelectric dam located in Haywood County just a few miles upstream of our launch area. During the Summer (Mid-May through Mid-September), water is released from the dam on we call “guaranteed rafting days,” that is, every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It’s […]

Read More
Rafting Equipment 101

If you’ve never gone white water rafting before, you might be a little intimidated by all of the equipment. Don’t sweat it! Our friendly and well-trained guides will walk you through every step of the process. Here’s a brief rundown of everything you’ll need to get on the river. Helmet One of the most basic […]

Read More
Headed to Gatlinburg? Try our white water rafting adventure

Since the wildfires in Gatlinburg last year, we’re often asked by out-of-town guests, “How’s Gatlinburg doing? Is it safe to visit?” We’re happy to say that, yes, Gatlinburg is absolutely back in business! The town is hopping with life and excitement, and we’re thrilled, now more than ever, to be a part of this resilient […]

Read More
Let us help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountains vacation this summer!

Planning a vacation to Gatlinburg or the Smoky Mountains this summer? We’d love to help you map out the perfect trip. At Raft Outdoor Adventures, we have relationships with some of the best attractions in East Tennessee — and a lot of them offer exclusive discounts to our white water rafters. Before you book anything else, […]

Read More
Raft Outdoor Adventures earns 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor!

We’re proud to announce that Outdoor Rafting Adventures has received a 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor! Congratulations to all of our staff who’ve worked hard to earn this award. More importantly, thank you to all of our guests who’ve left reviews, pictures, and stories about their white water rafting adventures (you can read all […]

Read More
Wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains

While much can be said about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s diverse wildlife, the Smokies are also home to over 1,500 kinds of flowering plants and wildflowers. For this reason the park is sometimes called the “Wildflower National Park.” What can you expect to see this season? Each summer, we’re thrilled to see such […]

Read More
‘Midnight Hole’ in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Located just 1.4 miles into nearby Big Creek Trail (just a quick, 15 minute drive from Outdoor Rafting Adventures) is a deep, beautiful swimming hole known as Midnight Hole. An increasingly popular destination for both adults and families, Midnight Hole is definitely one of our more asked about spots in the Smoky Mountains. We definitely […]

Read More
Things are heating up — stay cool this summer with a white water rafting adventure!

With average summer temperatures of just below 90°, it gets pretty hot in East Tennessee this time of year. Don’t let that stop you! We’ve compiled a few ways you and your family can stay cool this summer when visiting the Smoky Mountains: Wear the right clothes Breathability is key — in other words, steer […]

Read More
Here’s what our first-time rafters are saying about Outdoor Rafting Adventures

At Raft Outdoor Adventures, we get to meet thousands of people each and every year. There is no typical white water rafter — they come from all backgrounds, age groups, and areas of the world. It’s especially nice when we get to introduce first-timers to white water rafting. Here are some of our favorite customer reviews […]

Read More
Spring Giveaway: Enter to win a rafting trip for you and three (3) friends + a LiddUp Igloo Trailmate cooler!

Have you always wanted to try white water rafting? Now’s the perfect time to get your feet wet. We’ve teamed up with LiddUp Coolers to give away the ultimate outdoorsman package: a FREE Smoky Mountain rafting trip for you and three (3) friends + a LiddUp Igloo Trailmate cooler! You and three buddies will enjoy […]

Read More
Safety is our Raft Outdoor Adventure’s number one priority!

If you’re new to white water rafting, you might be concerned about your or your family’s safety. It’s important to know that we designed our trips to be as safe and family-oriented as possible. Each rafting guide is certified in First Aid and CPR (with some guides even having additional certifications). They’ve all gone through […]

Read More
White Water Rafting - most fun & affordable way to explore the Smoky Mountains

There’s a reason the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited National Park in the country: it’s home to over 2,100 miles of rushing mountain streams, scenic views with elevations up to 6,643 feet, and a wondrous diversity of wildlife. We’re proud to be located in nearby Hartford, TN — just on the […]

Read More
The more the merrier: bring your friends and family white water rafting this Spring!

In the last moments of his life, Chris McCandless (the subject of Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild) came to a crushing realization. All of the experiences he’d had over the past few years — hiking through the Alaskan wilderness, working on a farm in the Midwest, and kayaking into Mexico — meant nothing without […]

Read More
Class I-VI: The International Scale of River Difficulty

Even if you’re new to white water rafting, you may have heard rapids identified by one of six classes (i.e. Class I-VI). This is a system called the International Scale of River Difficulty, which allows rafters to rate the difficulty of either a stretch of river or a single rapid. Outdoor Rafting Adventures leads guided […]

Read More
Spring Break 2017 Is Coming Up — Go White Water Rafting This Year!

Over the next couple months, millions of Americans will migrate to warmer, more interesting parts of the world — taking a much-needed break from the day-to-day grind of work, school, and everyday life.

Read More
Gatlinburg Fires: Here’s How You Can Help

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard of the recent wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN. State officials are calling them the “worst in over a century,” and at least 14 people are now confirmed to have died during the firestorm. Here's how you can help.

Read More
Take Their Word for It: More Reviews from Our Guests In 2016

Sometimes our guests can sum up the white water rafting experience better than we can. We love reading about your experiences, hearing your thoughts and ideas, and reliving your experiences. Here are some of our favorite reviews for Outdoor Rafting Adventures from 2016.

Read More
Non-Guaranteed Dam Release: What Does It Mean to “Turn the River Off” Exactly?

If you’ve visited Outdoor Rafting Adventures before, you may have heard our guides talk about “guaranteed” and “non-guaranteed” release days. This distinction is particularly important in the fall, so hopefully we can shed some light on how exactly the river will work over the next few months: We’re located on the Pigeon River, which extends […]

Read More
Summer’s Over, But Don’t Worry — Here’s Why You Should Visit East TN This Fall

Today (9/22) is officially the first day of fall. Another summer here in the Smoky Mountains has come and gone, and we’re happy to say it was a fun and memorable season for Outdoor Adventures. We guided thousands of guests safely down the Pigeon River, creating lifelong memories and even converting a few naysayers along […]

Read More
Who Decided This Was A Good Idea? A Short History of White Water Rafting.

The first recorded attempt to conquer a rushing river was in 1811, when unprepared daredevils tried to navigate the Snake River. Because of their experience, the Snake River was nicknamed the "Mad River," a nickname that it is still fondly known by today. The first known rubber raft, four tubes and a wraparound floor, was […]

Read More
Remember Your Rafting Trip With a Souvenir

One of the bests parts of white water rafting is creating lifelong memories with friends and family. At Outdoor Rafting Adventures, we want to help you relive your time on the Pigeon River for the rest of your life. Here are a few ways you can do just that: Professional photography Our photographers will take […]

Read More
A Testimonial from a Reluctant Rafter

This is a testimonial written by a guest who visited us in early July. Last month, I was kidnapped by my coworkers, tossed in the back of a minivan, and driven 3.5 hours against my will to East Tennessee. I’ll be honest, I did NOT want to go on this trip. For whatever reason I’ve […]

Read More
Wildlife In the Smoky Mountains

We’re proud to call the Smoky Mountains our home, but we’re far from the only ones here. The area is densely populated with some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world. On your trip to the Smokies, you might see: 1. 65 species of mammals Our warm-blooded brethren! You can spot a host of […]

Read More
How to Beat the Summer Heat

Make no mistake about it — this time of year, it’s hot outside. In fact, the Gatlinburg area (spitting distance from the Outdoor Rafting Adventures headquarters) averages a high of just under 90 degrees. But don’t sweat it, there are a few easy things you can do to beat the summer heat: Stay hydrated Water […]

Read More
Lodging for your Smoky Mountains vacation

If you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains this summer, you’ll probably need a place to crash. Luckily, the area is home to some of the nicest, most luxurious lodging in the country. Here are just a few that we like and strongly recommend: Great Outdoor Cabin Rentals Great Outdoor Cabin Rentals offer you some of the […]

Read More
Reviews from satisfied rafters

It’s an interesting business, giving whitewater rafting tours. Our product isn’t something tangible — it isn’t something you can touch, hold, or resell. Our business is providing memorable experiences for our customers, and everything we do is designed with that end in mind. We love reading and sharing customer reviews on third-party sites like TripAdvisor […]

Read More
Have kids? No problem!

Are you interested in trying whitewater rafting, but have young children? No problem. At Outdoor Rafting Adventures, we can accommodate rafters of all experience levels (newbie to expert) and kids as young as three. It’s important to note that there are two distinct sections of the Big Pigeon River: Upper and Lower. The Upper section […]

Read More
What to Wear for White Water Rafting In the Smoky Mountains

If you’ve never gone whitewater rafting before, you might be intimidated by all the gear: the helmet, the life vest, the paddle and the raft. But you’re probably also concerned about what to wear rafting underneath all of that gear. Here’s a quick ‘what to wear’ guide for your first whitewater rafting trip. Be Ready to […]

Read More
Our Top 5 Favorite River Movies

To be honest, we don’t spend a lot of time indoors during rafting seasons. The weather is too nice, the river is too much fun, and the Smoky Mountains are too beautiful to be cooped up inside all day. But when we do venture inside for a meal or a movie, we enjoy films that […]

Read More
An Introduction to Reading Water

"Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer." -  Radhanath Swami The sincere observer is what we train all our guides to be, but you don't have to go through extensive training to be able to hear what the water is telling you! Reading […]

Read More
Spring Break 2016: Do something different this year

There’s a reason we all take a short break in the Spring. It’s the season of new life and new possibilities — the season of recharging, rejuvenating and reawakening ourselves. For this reason, schools at every level (kindergarten to postgraduate) offer 1-2 weeks for their students to take advantage of this period of great change […]

Read More
Taking applications for 2016!

As the old saying goes, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Outdoor Adventures is now hiring for its 2016 team, and we’d love to have you on board. Ready to get started? Start the application today! Not sure about being an outdoor adventurer? We have a couple […]

Read More
Do something different: Why your group should go rafting!

Families are always looking for things to do together. Bowling, movies, or even just going out to eat — we’re all looking for an activity through which we have fun and become closer as a group. Larger groups like churches, companies, and schools also need these kinds of bonding experiences. If you want to try […]

Read More
Official 2016 Rafting Season Kickoff

8 Reasons you should never, ever go rafting this spring. Next week is the official start of the rafting season on the Upper Pigeon River! Spring and we have more people than ever signing up to try it out! We aren’t sure what they’re thinking, so we wanted to show all you newbies why you […]

Read More
Rookie Mistakes and Where to Find Them

We recently saw this great AMA with a third generation river rafter, and we thought he had the best advice for rookie guides. When asked what were some rookie mistakes he saw most often, the veteran rafter said, “Overconfidence. Be humble your first year or two, and try to learn as much as you can.” […]

Read More
FAQs for You!

Rafting season is just around the corner, but before we take anyone out on the river, we wanted to answer some of the questions we get the most often. If you’re a seasoned rafting vet, we want to use your experience to help us out! Let us know what you thought of your trip, either […]

Read More
Take the Winter Adventure Outdoors!

We were all dreaming of a white Christmas, but the 25th has come and gone, and for many of us here in the Southeast, no snowflakes were in the forecast. Luckily, East Tennessee can fulfill your warmer winter wonderland wanderlust, no skiing or sledding required. Consider it the best of both worlds: the joys of […]

Read More
Resolutions | Happy New Year, See Y'all in 2016!

There’s a lot of talk of resolutions around the Outpost this time of year. We’ve had a great year, filled with fun, adventure, perseverance and great memories with family and friends, but there are always more adventures to be had, and new memories to be made! While we work to create a life that’s always […]

Read More
All I Want For Christmas Is You!

While wintery weather keeps some people indoors, we think it’s a great time of year to go exploring. Low temperatures are no match for great gear, stellar scenery, and a good attitude; but how do you know exactly what you need? We’re happy to help with that. From weekend getaways to stocking stuffers, these items […]

Read More
Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is in just two days, and hopefully you’ve made plans. Yes, it’s a day of eating and football, of spending time with family and friends, but it’s also a day to remember what we’re grateful for. We’ve had a great year, enjoying the natural beauty of East Tennessee and spending time with the people […]

Read More
Get Outdoors for Good Health!

We spend a lot of time indoors, so much so that it’s almost unfathomable that the average American spends 87% of their time in enclosed buildings and 6% of their time in vehicles. That’s a lot of time inside - almost 93% of all our time! We even exercise indoors now! Exercise is good for […]

Read More
What is whitewater rafting?

A kayaker sailing through tough, rocky passages. Tom Hanks in “Castaway”. Cutting through rapids in a paddle boat and going over waterfalls. When we say “whitewater rafting”, you may think of some of these things. We love having first time rafters or families come out to raft with us. Our knowledgeable team is happy to […]

Read More
Training During the Off-Season prepares you for Rafting Season!

Fall in East Tennessee means cooler weather, getting out warm sweaters and boots, and beautiful fall color changes sweeping the mountains. What it also means for us is a little less time out on the water, but even though we aren’t rafting as much, we aren’t letting all our hard work from this past summer […]

Read More
Living Green? Travel Green Too!

We’re well into our busy season and have had such a great time guiding rafters from all over down the Pigeon River. However we couldn’t do what we do without the beautiful surroundings provided to us by Mother Nature. When you are vacationing in East Tennessee, or anywhere in the world, you can have a […]

Read More
Raft Guide Training Recap

Greetings from the Outpost! If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know we recently did a Wilderness First Aid workshop for those who regularly participate in outdoor activities. In addition to that training, we’ve been holding special sessions for our guides and training new recruits who will lead your river trips! We take this very […]

Read More
Are you truly prepared? Wilderness First Aid.

We recently hosted a wilderness safety training and first aid course here at the Outpost, and we can’t overstate the importance of receiving this kind of safety training for those who regularly participate in outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy rafting, hiking, mountain biking or camping, there are clear life-saving benefits to knowing these skills. Wilderness […]

Read More
Who's ready for charity doggie rafting 2015?

Once a year, we host one of our favorite events, the charity doggie rafting benefiting Newport Animal Shelter! During our charity rafting days, we take humans and their favorite canines down the lower Pigeon River in a trip that’s slightly modified from our usual lower Pigeon route. You and your dog will experience an hour […]

Read More
Things to Know Before You Go: Paddling 101

When you take a white water trip with Raft Outdoor Adventures, you’ll have a great time navigating river rapids! All our trips down the Upper and Lower Pigeon River are guided, but we want everyone who spends time with us to leave more knowledgeable about rafting than when they arrived. A lot of groups have […]

Read More
Spring Outdoor Adventures in the Smoky Mountains

Scenic drives, mountain hiking, rafting, going on a zip line, camping and wine festivals? All of this (and much more!) are possible this spring in the Smoky Mountains. We love the outdoors, and know there is a lot to see in do in East Tennessee during the spring. Here are a few of our favorite […]

Read More
Your first rafting trip: Here's tips before you go!

Rafting is one of the most exciting travel adventures and it’s accessible for the whole family! Rafting the Pigeon River is no exception to this. We take hundreds of guests- newbies and seasoned vets- out on the river daily and they return with smiles on their faces. Having a great first rafting trip comes down […]

Read More
What do you mean they turn the river off?

Raft Outdoor Adventures’ home is on the Pigeon River, which flows from western North Carolina into East Tennessee. We enjoy the river and the Smoky Mountains year round, so many people are surprised to learn that the water moving down the river is “turned off” for half of the year! While we go out on […]

Read More
Prepare for your cold weather rafting trip!

Even though the temperature here in East Tennessee hovers between 50 and 60* in February and March, we just can’t keep people out of the water! One of the most common questions we get year round is “What do I wear rafting in cold weather?” This questions is especially important during the colder months. Heat […]

Read More
Hello Outdoor Nation!

Recently I ran across a blog written by Janel Murray, Tennessee’s Top 10 Things To Do With the Family. It’s a fascinating article that explores the beauty as well as the history of Tennessee. The tenth thing on the list is, “See Tennessee By Water”. It includes the Mighty Mississippi River, the Cumberland River, and […]

Read More
Group Rafting Trips

Organizing groups of people can be a daunting task to say the least.  It becomes especially difficult when there are a wide range of ages within a group.  Rafting is the one activity everyone in your group can participate in and have a great time!  Whether you have a family gathering, church group, school group, […]

Read More
Fall Float Trips Now Available

Fall is one of the most beautiful times in the Smoky Mountains.  Many people travel to the Smokies each year to see the amazing borage of colorful foliage from September to November.  The diversity of trees in the park and surrounding areas makes Fall in the Smokies a spectacular event.  With over 100 species of […]

Read More
Summer is almost over!

It is hard to believe August is already here.  It will soon be time to head back to school and start the daily schedules and routines. Before getting back into the day to day grind, take advantage of these last few weeks of summer and have some fun with a whitewater rafting trip at Outdoor […]

Read More
Beat The Heat

There is no better way to beat the heat of summer than by getting outside and enjoying the fun and excitement of a whitewater rafting trip down the Big Pigeon River!  The 4th of July is here and with it comes scorching temperatures!  So, get cooled off by taking a rafting trip with us at […]

Read More
Awesome Time at Charity Doggie Rafting Event

We had a fantastic time yesterday taking all of the charity doggie rafting participants as well as their furry friends down the Pigeon River yesterday. Dogs of all sizes from a few pounds to 100 pounds took to the Lower Pigeon River for Outdoor Adventure's First Annual Charitty Doggie Rafting. Thanks to all who participated […]

Read More
Raft/Zip Combo this Summer

Looking for a fun, adventurous, and budget friendly vacation in the Smoky Mountains this summer?  Outdoor Adventures' new Raft/Zip packages are perfect for families and friends looking for a thrilling outdoor experience never to be forgotten!  Outdoor Adventures and Gatlinburg Ziplines have created a package deal that will fit in your budget and provide your […]

Read More
Charity Doggie Rafting: June 4

Outdoor Adventures is proud to host the first annual Charity Doggie Rafting Event on Saturday June 4th, 2011!  That's right, you can take your best canine companion down the Lower Section of the Pigeon River!  The Lower Section is the calm section of the river with small Class I and II rapids.   Humans and their […]

Read More
Rafting Season is HERE

The sun is shining, the temperature is perfect, and our guests (and guides) are having a blast!  If you would like to book a Spring trip, click here or give us a call 866-333-RAFT (7238)! Also, check out our rafting plans! We're also excited about our beautiful new restroom and changing room facilities! We hope to […]

Read More
Easter Break + Rafting = FUN TIMES FOR ALL

Spring is in full swing here on the Pigeon River!  The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and the rapids are great!  Easter Break is the perfect time to plan a Smoky Mountain vacation with family and friends.  Come out and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in their spring glory while rafting down […]

Read More
President's Day Weekend Rafting

President's Day weekend is coming up and what great timing!  Here, at the Outdoor Adventures Outpost, the weather has been spectacular!  The blue skies and warm temperatures really makes it feel like Spring!  This would be the PERFECT time to come and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with an Outdoor Adventures' rafting trip!   Book […]

Read More
A Great Place to Stay

There are many great places to stay around the Smoky Mountains!  One of our favorites is Eden Crest, check them out at www.edencrest.net! Eden Crest Vacation Rentals is a full service vacation rental company that has provided luxury Pigeon Forge cabins and Gatlinburg cabin rentals to visitors of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee since […]

Read More
New changing rooms almost finished!

Just wanted to touch base here and let everyone know that Outdoor Adventures, Inc. is getting very close to finishing the new changing room facilities!  We have been working very hard on the new building and think that it will be a great improvement from the previous building.  Not only will there be five new […]

Read More
Our Guides Never Quit!

You know you love what you do for a living when you're not "on the clock", but doing exactly what you would do if you were.  That's how rafting is for a lot of us out here on the Pigeon River.  When our guides aren't working, they're out running other rivers gaining valuable experience and […]

Read More
Around The Outpost

A lot of times, people who live in amazingly beautiful areas such as the Great Smoky Mountains start to take the beauty for granted after a while.  Then, every now and again, a beautiful scenery catches the eye while driving to work. Outdoor Adventures is so lucky to be located in such a beautiful area. […]

Read More
It's Fall in Tennessee

Believe it or not Fall is one of the best times to come and enjoy the Pigeon River in East Tennessee.  Though the water levels can be pretty unpredictable this time of year, the beauty of the changing leaves, the crisp clearness of the air, and the personalized trips on the river are perfect for […]

Read More
Raft With The River Experts
(866) 333-7238

Stay up-to-date with details about our pre-season and holiday specials.

©2022 Raft Outdoor Adventures. All Rights Reserved.
This site uses Google reCAPTCHA V3. Read the privacy policy and terms of service for more information.