Pigeon River Rafting with NOC in Hartford, TN

NOC Pigeon River OutpostHartford, TN 37753
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$32.59 $26.99
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Raft the Pigeon River with Nantahala Outdoor Center! The Upper Pigeon features Class III-IV rapids along the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Experience a full dose of whitewater excitement and scenery in just three hours. Raft with the best, and make this summertime classic a part of your Smokies vacation! NOC float trips on the Lower Pigeon are great for families with kids!

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Hartford Travel Experts
  • Raft Upper or Lower Pigeon River.
  • Upper section features Class III & IV rapids.
  • Lower section features Class I and II rapids.
  • 60+ rapids on Upper section tour.
  • 45 minute drive from Gatlinburg.
  • Bring a change of clothes and towel.
  • Closed toed shoes required.
  • Raft rain or shine.
  • All guides are certified.
  • Pregnant women cannot raft.
  • Children ages 3 and up can raft lower section.
  • Age requirement is 8+ for upper section.


from Pigeon River Rafting with NOC
Raft the Pigeon River with Nantahala Outdoor Center, rated "One of the Best Outfitters on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and the "#1 Vacation with a Splash" by Good Morning America.

The Upper Pigeon features Class III-IV rapids along the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Experience a full dose of whitewater excitement and scenery in just three hours. Raft with the best, and make this summertime classic a part of your Smokies vacation!

Just want to get outside? NOC float trips on the Lower Pigeon are great for families with kids as young as 3. Paddle a gentle section of river, where swimming and splashing are encouraged. Don’t just visit the Smokies, get out there and experience them on a river float trip with NOC! Trip leaves from Hartford, TN outpost. Please allow 45 minutes to 1 hour travel time.

While you're in the area be sure to visit Gatlinburg's newest attraction: NOC Gatlinburg. Scale our 25-foot climbing wall, browse the largest selection of Smokies souvenirs, buy top brand outdoor gear or book your guided adventure all in the store. We are located at stoplight 10 in downtown Gatlinburg.

Reserve Gatlinburg Customer Reviews

14 Reviews
wayne harris
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Just a blast"
August, 2016
This turned out to better than I would have expected, easy to get to, everyone there at N.O.C was great. Our guide"Gilligan" was awesome kept you entertained the whole way and really profesional regarding the rafting. Definitely going to go here again, the whole family loved it. Reserve Pigeon Forge made it super easy buying tickets and even making cages to the reservation. Just a blast!
Tip: Your going to get super wet, make sure they are rafting on the days you want to go.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Cindy Halliday
Apex, NC
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
August, 2016
We very much enjoyed our trip and the grand kids loved it!!

Was this review helpful? Yes

Pamela Ruehle
Cutler Bay, FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Grandma's Great Field Trip"
August, 2016
With six grandchildren at opposite ends of a very long Florida we have started a tradition of renting a house for a week in the summer. We found a beautiful house in Gatlinburg and enjoyed the wonderful mountain views.We spent a fun day at Dollywood and had an exciting lunch at Dolly's battle between the north and the south.
Having traveled with my own two children many summers ago, we wanted to relive rafting trips that we had taken with them. I was pleased to find that we could also plan a wet and wild rafting adventure for six children between the ages of three and fifteen. We ventured out onto the lower Pigeon Forge river with the younger girls and with my own youngest child. Sad to say that my youngest is somehow 34 now but it was fun to see him experience the trip with his own daughter. My teenage grandchildren accompanied their parents on a bumpier trip on the upper level of the river. A wonderful time was had by all on this latest version of Grandma's great field trip.
Tip: Consider buying the photo CD at the end of the trip as the rafting photos are a wonderful reminder of the day.

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Reserve Gatlinburg Customer
Maryville, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great experience!"
July, 2016
This was the first rafting trip for my girls and me. The girls were very nervous about the trip. However from the moment we were welcomed in the parking lot, to the check-in process, to the safety video, and finally meeting our guide, NOC did a great job making us feel at ease. Our guide, Billy, was amazing! She had complete control over the boat and did a great job getting us all wet and laughing. She told stories the entire time to keep us entertained. We had such a great time. The girls now want to go rafting again! We would definitely go back. Recommend checking the price at Reserve Pigeon Forge to save a bit of money.
Tip: 1. Wear quick dry shorts and tshirt to be most comfortable under the life jacket. 2. Bring a change of clothes and be prepared to go home dirty. They have only a few showers...very clean, but not enough for us to get a shower.

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Eric Unger
Mt. Pleasant, SC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Lets do it Again!"
July, 2016
We are a family of six with children ages ranging from 6 to 11. We were looking for something economical and FUN to take us away from the heat and man made tourist attractions. No one had ever been white water rafting before, but it proved to be the highlight of our Pigeon Forge vacation. Due to size and age restrictions, we chose the Class I and II excursion on the lower part of the river. This proved perfect for the kids who really enjoyed the rapids, swimming, and water guns/splashing. The rain encountered half way through made it all the more fun. Our guide Sam was skilled, knowledgeable, and encouraged fun. I highly recommend NOC to take full advantage of natures water park. The last thing said by my son was "lets do it again," and next time we hope to try the Class III and IV excursion. Five Stars!
Tip: Bring dry clothes, and if traveling through Gatlinburg, allow a little extra time to travel.

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Calvin Emberton
Greensburg, IN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Best part of our vacation!"
July, 2016
This was my 2nd time rafting but my daughter's and grandsons' 1st time. They were all nervous at the start but having the time of their life after just a few minutes on the river. Our guide (Will) was great, he told us what rapids we were heading for and how to get through them by paddling left, right, or full forward or even backwards to turn the raft the right direction. It poured down rain some during part of our adventure and that just added even more excitement for us. Great instructions before we all ventured into the water. Everyone can't wait until we can go again! Thanks NOC for making this the best part of our vacation!
Tip: Watch close for the entrance it's easy to miss. Better get something to hold your glasses on your face or tuck them away before you load up!

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Ginny Aguilar
Prosper, TX
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Rafting Pigeon River"
July, 2016
Had a fantastic trip down the river!! Our guide Sam was very knowledgeable and fun and the guides with this group all seem to like each other and work well together. I have rafted with this group before and am super glad I chose to again!!!

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Lisa Evans
Kissimmee, FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
July, 2016
We booked two different raft trips for the variety of age groups we had. Both trips were fantastic and the guides actually taught what to do and explained the why behind each type of move.
Tip: You need to be physically active or it will be challenging.

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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Brian H
"Great rafting trip!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 20, 2017 NEW
The family and I had an awesome time rafting the upper pigeon. Our guide, Hugh, was awesome!! Shared lots of local knowledge about the river and the rapids. So glad we booked with NOC. They are a top notch organization, well respected and with good reason. Their guides are the best trained in the business and really know their stuff. It was a blast for our family. If you are worried about the class III and class IV rapids, don't be. Much more fun and not near as scary as you might think. Our 11yo girl had a blast. Book it today, you won't be sorry!!
TripAdvisor user image
Hannabert B
"Great first rafting trip"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 03, 2016
Kind of a last minute decision to go rafting bit we purchased our tickets at NOC in Gatlinburg for same day trip down the lower pigeon. Our 5yr old loved it as much as we did.... probably a bit more. They valued safety with a pretty thorough safety talk. we had the 4 of us and a guide. Cat was great, recent graduate in bio studies from Geneva College. I believe she said she has been guiding for 5 yrs. She was a lot of fun. pick out a good water gun for river battles. ours sucked. Give your kids a chance to paddle. we only lost one paddle once but wet able to retrieve easily. even with low water conditions, the river moved fantastically. For 3 adults and 1 child is was about 114 and the trio lasted about 2hrs on the river
TripAdvisor user image
Russell M
Collegeville, Pennsylvania
"Thrilling whitewater rafting on the Pigeon River"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 28, 2016
Buy your tickets at the beautiful store in Gatlinburg and save $! Best value for fun in the Smokies! Our guide, Joseph, was exactly what a rafting guide should be--funny and smart on the river. He knew just the right lines to take to give us the best splash!
TripAdvisor user image
Denise U
Schaumburg, Illinois
"Professional, organized, fun"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 15, 2016
Been rafting numerous times and this one had one of the best organized stations we've been to. Clean, well organized, plenty of parking, great bathhouse. The guides were great-funny, knowledgeable, eager to show their clients a good time. The river fills at noon (timed release) and they're not in a hurry to squeeze in extra trips so they wait until the river is ready to run. It's a short drive to the launch and the trip ends at base so no hot wet bus ride after being on the river. Plenty of pictures taken of the trip from shore which is great and the price is reasonable. Only thing keeping it from being terrific is that we had a small child with another family out in our raft so we didn't hit any of the good rapids head on as his parents were concerned about him staying in the raft. Otherwise the timed water release means there's always good water for rafting.
TripAdvisor user image
Robert B
"Overboard In Excitement!! "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 10, 2016
Four of us went whitewater rafting with Johnny as our guide. Johnny was awesome; teaching and instructing all of us rookies. He made our first experience wanting more after we were done. ALL NOC instructors/guides were just like Johnny. The river wasn't too rough, which was good for all us rookies. None of us fell in... Except me! No big deal, we went over what to do if that happened; Johnny grabbed me and I got back in the boat. Word of warning, don't wear sunglasses, I lost mine when I went overboard. For rookies or people that want to have fun on the water; NOC was a fantastic experience. If your looking for discounts, do the 4:00 tour. Apparently the 4:00 tour is the best anyways because there are less people/boats on the river. We had no issues with the river being crowded, and that gave us the opportunity to "surf" several times. "Surfing" was everyone most memorable part (mine was going overboard).

Frequently Asked Questions about Pigeon River Rafting with NOC

Are all Rafting with NOC trips guided?
Yes, all trips are fully guided.

How far is Rafting with NOC from Gatlinburg?
The Smoky Mountain Outdoors Pigeon River Outpost is located about 45 minutes north of Gatlinburg.

Do I have to know how to swim?
No, every guest is issued a type 5, Coast Guard approved personal floatation device. The "PFD" is designed to give you all of the floatation needed on the river.

Is there a minimum age requirement?
The minimum age/weight for the Upper Pigeon trip is 8 years old or 70 pounds. You have to be at least 3 years old to go on the Lower Pigeon trip.

When are raft trips scheduled?
The Pigeon River is not a free flowing river. About ten miles upstream from our launch area there is a dam that regulates the amount of water flowing down the river. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the flow is consistent and we can schedule accordingly. During the summer months we raft Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

If I am pregnant can I go?
We do not recommend rafting if you are more than two months pregnant.

What do I wear for a rafting trip with Smoky Mountain Outdoors?
Shorts, t-shirt and secure fitting shoes. No flip-flops or bare feet allowed. During the Spring and Fall avoid cotton clothing, it really absorbs water and will make you cold. Wear clothing that will not absorb much water like wool. Good synthetic fabrics are fleece and polypropylene. Do not wear jeans. Also, bring a dry change of clothes and a towel for after the trip

Do you raft in the rain?
We raft rain or shine. Rafting is one of the best rainy day activities because getting wet is part of the fun! We may delay the trip for a few minutes to allow a strong storm to pass.