Gettin’ Wet in the Smokies

Where to get a little wet in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are in the business of beating the summer heat. How you say? Well, not only are these Smoky Mountain towns known as premiere vacation destination, they also boast a handful of opportunities for visitors to get wet and cool off while in town.

Starting in Gatlinburg, there are quite a few places to grab a raft and navigate a local river. The Pigeon River’s untamed mountain waters provide families with the thrills and exhilaration of riding the white rapids! Whitewater rafting in Tennessee is the perfect cool down to a hot day and makes for a great honeymoon, family reunion, or corporate outing as well!

And don’t worry, most whitewater outfitters will take you through the entire process of setting up your day on the river. Guided rafting tours make for a safer trip, and one that’s probably a bit more fun too. Depending on age and experience level, there are several different classes of rapids to choose from when determining your rafting trip. Whitewater rafting in the Smokies is a also a great way to not only see the mountains but become a part of them.

When it comes to whitewater rafting, safety is the No. 1 concern. Experienced guides will educate rafters in what to bring, what to wear, and how to react in certain situations on the trip. Also, expect to be asked to sign a release form for you and every member of your rafting party. If it’s certainly a white water rafting trip you’re after when in Gatlinburg, make sure that you contact an outfitter well in advance. Just so that it’s convenient for you!

Here are some of the area’s more popular white water rafting companies in Gatlinburg, TN and the Smoky Mountains:

Rafting in the Smokies
PO Box 592, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(800) PRO-RAFT
(865) 436-5008

White Water Rafting – Smoky Mountain Outdoors
453 Brookside Village Way
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared” – that especially rings true if you’re going whitewater rafting. Be sure you are dressed properly. And be prepared to get wet! Which means don’t wear heavy clothing, such as jeans or wool. Shoes like flipflops or crocs are a no and refrain from bare feet as well. What is required are water shoes and other lightweight, secure footwear. No loose jewelry, and don’t try to bring your camera, unless it is waterproof!

Whitewater rafting in Tennessee is thrilling, refreshing, and a fun adventure for the entire family. If you’re going to be in the Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge area, a smoky mountain white water rafting trip down the Pigeon River in the Great Smoky Mountains will be something you’ll always remember!

Closer to Sevierville, the Wilderness at the Smokies resort is an exciting, somewhat new attraction to the area. The area’s newest resort is also drawing year-round events to its 700-acre Sevierville, Tennessee property, complete with 234 mountain modern guest rooms and 472 multi-room suites in addition to condominiums at the Wyndham Resort on the Wilderness property.

The resort’s two outdoor waterparks and a nearly four-acre indoor waterpark are what guests are really buzzing about.

“When your guests are done with a busy day in the board room, they, along with their families, will welcome the opportunity to kick back and relax in our fabulous waterparks, on Eagle’s Landing championship golf course, or at our restaurants,” said Dottie Clabough, director of sales for Wilderness at the Smokies. “We even have a trolley service available to us that goes to many popular shows and attractions in nearby Pigeon Forge. It is perfect for spouse’s programs or evening activities.

“When guests come to our property, they can park their cars and not worry about driving during their stay. Everything they could want or need is all right here.”

Wilderness at the Smokies resort opened in June 2008 with the Stone Hill Lodge and Salamander Springs outdoor waterpark adjacent to the Sevierville Event Center. River Lodge and the Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark were added six months later. In May 2009, Wilderness at the Smokies expanded again with the addition of Lake Wilderness – the resort’s second outdoor waterpark. Lake Wilderness features the Wilderness Rapids Wave Pool, Cataloochee Creek Adventure River and poolside cabanas.

If you’re going to be staying closer to Pigeon Forge, Dollywood Splash Country might be more to your liking. From the daring drops of Big Bear Plunge, a white water rafting ride, to the twisting turns of the Mountain Scream body slide ride, Dollywood Splash Country features more than 23 water adventure slides and thrill rides. Toss in two interactive children’s playground areas, the Lazy River and Little Creek Falls, and you’ll find family fun activities for everyone each summer.