Whitewater Rafting the Pigeon River


Added by Lucas Bremer

Great whitewater close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Pigeon River is a dam controlled river that winds its way through North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The river provides beautiful views as one paddles along via raft or kayak. 

Cutting through portions of the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, this pristine river offers unbelievable beauty and offers enthusiasts of many outdoor activities to challenge themselves when not on the water.

The river is beginning to become famous among whitewater enthusiasts. Popular named whitewater rapids include Roller Coaster, Powerhouse, Lost Guide, and many more that will keep your nerves on edge and your paddling skills checked. An added enjoyment for many visitors is watching professional kayakers defy physics and "surf" with their boats.

For thrill seekers and more experience paddlers, you'll want to choose the upper section of the Pigeon because 5 plus miles of Class II-III+ rapids. For rookie paddlers or those with small children who are looking for great scenery, the lower section of the Pigeon provides 4 miles of family friendly flat water where swimming is encouraged. 

Many travelers here usually book one of the many outfitters in the region for a half day or full day on the river.

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Known for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Swimming Hole



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Amazing rafting!!

This is a great place for rafting. There are several rafting companies open here in the summer so it's not too expensive for the trip.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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