We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful relaxing tour!”

River Gorge Explorer
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Travel swiftly and smoothly downstream from the Chattanooga Pier into the scenic Tennessee River Gorge aboard this high-tech vessel. Experience “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon” aboard the River Gorge Explorer. Enjoy the view from the topside observation deck during daily two-hour cruises into the Gorge. Each excursion is guided by an Aquarium naturalist who brings local history to life while helping you spot wildlife. Relax in the climate-controlled cabin and soak in the beautiful scenery from the observation deck.
Level Contributor
34 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Beautiful relaxing tour!”
Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

We took the special Civil War cruise at 10:30am. I loved the boat, sun, breeze, and sights, and my husband loved the excellent Civil War history from our guide John. It is a 2 hr cruise. About 1 1/2 hours is a faster speed, with dramatic quick splash-inducing stops to stop the wake around other boats and residential areas. The other 30 minutes can be spent up on the deck. Today was sunny with the great boating breeze. I don't think it would be something my 7 year old would like, but we enjoyed it.

Visited September 2013
Thank Volgrltn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

228 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Marietta, Georgia
Level Contributor
145 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Unbelievable attraction in Chattanooga”
Reviewed September 1, 2013

After purchasing tickets in the Tennessee Aquarium ticket office we walked down to the Tennessee River and boarded the 70 foot "River Gorge Explorer." It was a high speed catamaran. The tour heads down the river towards the gorge and along the way many natural and man-made attractions were pointed out. The naturalist conducting the tour pointed out various birds, other critters and answered all questions. The boat travels at 50 mph plus and must stop for other boaters to prevent a dangerous wake. The stop is done in two boat lengths so there is lots of spray. All passengers are in an enclosed deck. Once we reached the gorge we were able to enter the upper (fresh air) deck. The tour and adventure was well worth the ticket price.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank keepemflyin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monterey, Tennessee
Level Contributor
75 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great way to end the day.”
Reviewed August 28, 2013

This trip was interesting and fun. We had planned it as the last stop for the day. We started with some history of the region and our Guide Grace was the best. We will ask for her next time out. She really was great. We had some rain but the interior of the boat was comfortable and the time we were outside were a bit wet but the trip was still worth it. We will try for a sunshine day next time. We went on the last cruise so it started getting dark as well. we did see some wild life on both the trip up and back. Grace said sometimes you do and sometimes you don't. She pointed out several Herons and an Egret.

You should plan on the boat first and the Aquarium last .

I was at first disappointed that there was no coffee ( plenty of other drinks and snacks though) but once the boat got up to speed and stopped a few times I was wide awake. No coffee needed.

Visited August 2013
Thank lKehrein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A Beautiful Scene”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

The River Gorge Explorer is a treat. Passengers are seated inside air conditioned comfort while a guide describes the history of the area while pointing out landmarks and any wildlife that is visible. Our guide, John, was quite knowledgeable and answered questions readily.There are TV monitors throughout that provide a slide show. There are restrooms on board as well as a "snack bar." We were cautioned that this was a kiosk and not a snack bar, although you can buy soft drinks, chips, and candy, just as you would at a snack bar. Passengers are advised to remain seated as the boat can move out fast and stop almost as fast, sending spray up alongside the boat and causing passengers to lean forward. Part of the reason is that it's a "no-wake" boat so as not to disturb other boats on the river, and prevent erosion in certain areas. It's a grand experience. There is also a significant amount of time when the boat slows and passengers can go outside and onto the upper deck.
It's about a two-hour trip and worth the time and money.

Visited July 2013
Thank smokiestown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Georgia, United States
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“TN River Gorge Explorer birthday/Fathers Day Treat”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

My wife along with our daughter and her boyfriend gave me a special birthday & Fathers' Day treat by taking me on the Tennessee River Gorger Explorer boat ride. The boat itself is an amazing one-of-a-kind made just for the purpose of exploring the Tennessee River with lots of people--it holds 70 people. The captain even stood on the upper deck with us, piloting the boat by remote control, to do a 360 before getting back to dock. Pretty cool!

The biologist that narrated was very entertaining in both her presentation about the sights along the river and her easy interaction with us, the passengers. The Gorge itself is gorgeous!!! Try to go on a nice day to get the best views.

Highly recommended, especially for adults and families.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Todd D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed River Gorge Explorer also viewed


Been to River Gorge Explorer? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing