Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions in Hartford, TN

3541 Hartford RoadHartford, TN 37753
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Come enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by rafting the Pigeon River in beautiful Hartford, TN! This half day whitewater rafting expedition will be the talk of your vacation! It offers two different rafting trips appropriate for any age and skill level; the Upper Section rides through class III and IV rapids for ages 8 and up (or 70+ pounds), while the Lower is a scenic float trip for ages 3 and up.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Hartford Travel Experts
  • 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.
  • 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.


from Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions
Looking for an exciting family expedition or memorable outdoor adventure?

Come enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by rafting the Pigeon River! This half day whitewater rafting expedition will be the talk of your vacation. The Pigeon River is the closest whitewater rafting adventure to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Big Creek Expeditions, Inc. is a whitewater rafting company located on the Pigeon River in beautiful Hartford, Tennessee. We are one of the premier attractions in Eastern TN. No matter the size of your group, Big Creek Expeditions, Inc. will give you the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Smokies on a professionally guided whitewater rafting adventure.

We offer two different rafting trips appropriate for any age and skill level; the Upper Section is a thrilling ride through class III and IV rapids for ages 8 and up (or 70+ pounds), while the Lower is a scenic float trip for ages 3 and up.

Upper Pigeon River
View the scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee National Forest while enjoying a fully-guided 6 mile stretch of whitewater. Raft over exciting drops and through exhilarating white capped waves. The Upper Pigeon River Trip offers 60 plus rapids that include 12 Class III rapids and 4 Class IV rapids. This provides your group the perfect outdoor adventure. Names of rapids on this section include Powerhouse, Lost Guide, Double Reactionary, and Accelerator. Absolutely no rafting experience is required for this Appalachian expedition. (Minimum age limit: 8 years or 70 pounds)

Lower Pigeon River
The Lower Pigeon River Trip is more relaxing & better suited for those who seek a more leisurely trip, or have children that do not meet the requirements for the Upper Pigeon River Trip. The Lower Section consists of fully guided Class I & II whitewater. Your group can expect plenty of time for swimming and playing in the river on this trip! This is the premier float trip for those looking for scenic views of the Smoky Mountains. No experience necessary. (Minimum Age: 3 years)

Reserve Pigeon Forge Customer Reviews

16 Reviews
Carrie Scarbrough
Deltona, FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Big Creek Expeditions was AWESOME!"
August, 2016
We went on an Upper Pigeon river rafting trip, and it was amazing. Our guide was very knowledgeable, and really accommodating to my son with autism. There were SOOOO many rafts in the water, and it was obvious that so many of the other guides were too young and inexperienced. I was really thankful we chose Big Creek, based on the experience level of the guides alone. The office was really accommodating as well, and the photos turned out really great.
Tip: Need to print your tickets!

Was this review helpful? Yes

Jerry Pennington
Shreveport, LA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Big Creek Rafting"
August, 2016
It was so much fun and the guides were very funny, helpful and were able to speak the history of the area.
Tip: Make sure you wear old shoes, bring extra cloths as they have showers and changing rooms for after the trip.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Sarah Y.
mount washington , KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
July, 2016
The experience was amazing. Me or my son had never even been in a boat and so we were a little nervous. But the young girl that took us was awesome. Sweet, funny and made the experience great. Already planning on going again next month!
Tip: Wear sunscreen on your knees. Sounds crazy but both my son and boyfriends knees were the only thing burnt when we were finished lol

Was this review helpful? Yes

Amie Kemper
Louisville, KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"The whole family enjoyed it!"
July, 2016
We really enjoyed our day! They were very thorough in their instructions and explanations before the trip and our tour guide, Joey was very knowledgeable and fun. My 15 was very nervous, but he had a blast!
Tip: Bring dry clothes to change into afterwards. They keep your keys so you can lock everything in your car.

Was this review helpful? Yes

amanda monroe
forney, TX
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesomness in Gatlinburg"
July, 2016
We had a great time in all of TN. We are not planners so we had our stay scheduled in few weeks in advance. However, when you get there. It is a lot to take in a very beautiful. So many places you can see an visit. Everyone is so friendly.
Tip: Pack some extra water for those hikes!

Was this review helpful? Yes

Victor Estevez
1 Review
"White Water Rafting Fun!"
July, 2016
It was an awesome experience!! It was our first time and our guide Brennan was so nice and easy to talk to and get along with down the river and told us exactly what to do to make it a awesone trip. Cant wait to do it again!

Was this review helpful? Yes

Shawn Robbins
Vancleave, MS
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Very nice rafting operation in a great location."
July, 2016
This was a great experience. We dropped the car off at their property, conveniently located just off of the interstate service road and hung out and walked the gift shop as we waiting for our boarding time. Staff was great, including the tour guide. We felt comfortable and safe at all times and I would highly recommend. We go to Gatlinburg at least once a year and I'm sure we'll go back and do this again.
Tip: Wear closed shoes, no flip-flops, etc and warm but light clothes that'll dry easy.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Abby Frias
Boca Raton, FL
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Awesome Time"
June, 2016
So much fun!! Will do this again
Tip: Water is a little cold but feels so good in the heat

Was this review helpful? Yes

TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Merryville, Louisiana
"White water rafting "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 18, 2017 NEW
Great experience! It was our 1st time going white water rafting. We took our children of 10 and 11 years old. We went on the upper river. The company was very professional, organized, and safety was top priority. Adam was our guide was great. He is very experienced and worked well with all the adults and our children. We would defiantly do this again. My girls said this was their favorite experience on our vacation. You can request guides and I would highly recommend this company and Adam as your guide.
TripAdvisor user image
"Whitewater rafting"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 10, 2016
If you are ever in the area or passing through, stop by Big Creek Expeditions for the whitewater rafting. We had a blast!! Thankfully, it wasn't the life threatening ride I thought it would be. Erica was our guide and she was very professional and knowledgeable, as well as friendly. She told us to visit Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls which we did the very next day. We will definitely do this again when we go back. Congrats to Erica on her recent marriage and thank you Big Creek Expeditions and Fox Fire Campground for an awesome vacation!!! Andrea J.
TripAdvisor user image
Marc W
Ludlow, United Kingdom
"No Rapids in this experience"
TripAdvisor user rating 2 out of 5
Reviewed September 03, 2016
Having rafted many times before my wife and I were really looking forward to our trip down the river. All seemed fine with the check in and safety instructions. Our guide was really nice.....but.... The Dam had been turned on late (so we were told) which meant that the water level had not risen adequately (or so we were told). Of the grade 3-4 Rapids promised (which are typically exhilarating) I could have slept through them without awakening. Apart from the occasional water "turbulence" our boat coasted down the river.... Moreover, this is a highly congested part of the river. Stay away from the big companies!!! At least we were only 1 of two boats by this company. Didn't make any difference though.
TripAdvisor user image
Sevierville, Tennessee
"Simply The Best Rafting Company in the Smokies!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 01, 2016
I recently went with a group of leaders from The 4th Musketeer USA on a team building rafting trip. Jon and his team at Big Creek Expeditions blew us away with their hospitality! Their knowledge of the river and how to insure we were safe was unmatched. We each felt safe and had a blast from check-in to departure. Our guides were awesome and insured a great time for each of us. I enjoyed the trip so much, that I booked another trip a few days later with my family. We also had a blast and the kiddos can't stop talking about rafting with Big Creek Expeditions. We will be back! Thank you Jon and your team for your professionalism!
TripAdvisor user image
Dan L
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
"1st time white water rafting. "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 31, 2016
We had a blast. Will our guide was wonderful he new the river well and had us laughing the whole time. My 8yo was nervous but he assured her that she would be fine and by the end of the trip she was trying to take over for him. The whole operation was first class and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions

What is the minimum age required at Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions?
The minimum age/weight for the Upper Pigeon is 8 yrs old or 70 lbs.
The minimum age for the Lower Pigeon Float trip is 3 yrs old.

What do I need to wear / bring?
Foot protection is required. You will need old shoes or sandals that go around your ankle. Flip flops are not allowed on the river. You will get wet! Bring a change of clothes, shoes and a towel for after the trip. Mountain weather is unpredictable, so come prepared for anything. In the summer, we recommend shorts, a T-shirt, a hat, and sunscreen. In the spring, when it is cold, wool and Polypropylene, or other synthetic materials are recommended. Cotton is not recommended because it will rob the body of heat and restricts movement when it is wet.

Can I take a camera?
We do not recommend taking anything on the river that you do not want to lose or get wet. We have disposable waterproof cameras available for purchase in our outpost store, or you can purchase one of our professional photos after your trip.

What if I can't swim?
No experience necessary! We take first - timers down all the time. You will be provided a personal floatation device and instructions on what to do if you come out of the raft. We do not recommend swimming in whitewater.

How far are you from Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge?
Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions is located in Hartford, Tennessee – about an hour from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

What if the weather is bad?
Big Creek Expeditions runs trips rain or shine. Only if there is danger from lightning would we delay trips leaving the outpost.

How will I get back to my car?
You will be provided shuttle service to the put-in at no additional charge. Your trip will end at the outpost where you park your car. Please lock your valuables in your vehicle. We have a secure location in the outpost to keep your car keys.

Do I need to be physically fit?
Participation is required on all of Big Creek Expeditions trips. You will need to be in good physical condition. You may be asked to help with moving of equipment and rafts both at the put-in and the take out. Please consult with your family physician before taking part in strenuous activity. If you are pregnant please understand that you will not be allowed to participate.