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Rafting in the Smokies kicks off 36th Whitewater Rafting icebreaking weekend

rafting in the smokiesRafting in the Smokies kicks off their 2014 whitewater rafting season. Image by Rafting in the Smokies.

  ziplining smoky mountains
Rafting in the Smokies has their ziplines ready for the tourist season. Image by Image Builders.

GATLINBURG, TN — Rafting in the Smokies kicked off their icebreaking weekend on March 7 to bring in whitewater rafting for the 2014 season.

Rafting in the Smokies outfits whitewater rafting trips down the Pigeon River from March through October. Whitewater rafting is a great way to get outside as warm air kicks in and the sun begins shining. Rafting in the Smokies offers a variety of different activities aside from rafting, including ziplines, float rafting, rope courses, and hiking. Experienced staff ensures that rafters of all skill levels have an enjoyable and memorable experience by offering a variety of rafting trips of varying difficulties.

The Upper Pigeon River trips offers twelve Class III and three Class IV thrilling whitewater rapids! Accompanied by one of Rafting in the Smokies professional river guides, you’ll be escorted down five miles of lively white water rafting through Class III & IV rapids such as Too Late, Vegamatic, Razor Blade, After Shave, and Lost Guide. The scenery surrounding the Pigeon River is just as breathtaking as the rapids. Skirted by Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, Martha Sundquist State Forest and the Appalachian Trail, the Pigeon has carved its rocky riverbed through some of the most dramatic country in East Tennessee.

No experience is necessary to do a whitewater rafting trip. The minimum age required is 8 years old or 70 lbs. This one and a half hour trip of spectacular whitewater is 5 miles, and there is a guide in every raft.

There’s more to Rafting in the Smokies. Cross over a 150-ft. swinging bridge to a 10-acre island featuring BBQ grills, picnic tables, swings for small children and beanbag toss game.

Owners Mark and Brenda Shultz settled in the scenic mountains of East Tennessee to build their dream business and raise their family. "The more time kids spend outside, the happier they are" is their family philosophy. Their three growing kiddos roam the hollers of the Smokies and truly appreciate exploring the biodiversity of flora and fauna found in the Smoky Mountains.

Brenda, a people-person, has never met a stranger and loves to cook for her family and the rafting staff, who are practically family. The grills, picnic tables with a little swing and wading/swimming area are the manifestation of her vision for folks appreciating the wonders of nature.

"We are blessed to share God's great outdoors with groups from all over the world who come to vacation in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville," Mark says about the 50,000+ visitors to Rafting in the Smokies each year.

Rafting in the Smokies is easily accessible. Take Exit #447 to Hartford, off I-40 near the Tennessee/North Carolina border. It is located only 45 minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC.

For information or reservations at (800) PRO-RAFT (800) 776-7238 or go online at

Published March 13, 2014

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