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“We Rode the Lower River Option - Great Fun, Beautiful Scenery”

Big Creek Expeditions
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Scenic Floats on the Lower Section of the Pigeon River
Ranked #6 of 17 things to do in Hartford
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Trussville, Alabama
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“We Rode the Lower River Option - Great Fun, Beautiful Scenery”
Reviewed July 28, 2011

There are several rafting companies in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge area. When trying to plan our trip, I was confused by several locations shown in the area for Rafting. Many of the raft groups have offices in town where you can go to sign up, but from what I could tell, they all raft from the same general area on the Pigeon River, so find a group with a good reputation since the actual rafting location is pretty much the same. We learned from our guide that the rides are only available about 3-4 days out of the week, usually alternating days, dependent upon when the reservoir releases water into the river.

We made reservations with Big Creek Expeditions after reading their good reviews and we were very pleased with our choice. We were told to arrive at 12:30 and to plan on being there until 3:00, which was pretty true to what happened. We ran about 8 minutes late trying to find our way there and phoned in, and were told not to worry. It seems they schedule your arrival about 30 minutes before the raft actually leaves to allow everyone to get there and checked in. There is a safety talk before the group splits up to go to their assigned guides and rafts. Life vests and helmets are provided.

Nearby the check-in station is a building with restrooms and open shower stalls, but very basic and minimal. I would not choose to shower here, but my husband went in for a quick rinse after our ride. Lock up everything you won’t need in your car. They will hold your car key at the front desk during your ride.

There are two trip options. Most rafters choose the adventurous ride on the upper river, but you may opt for the more serene ride on the lower river. On the lower river ride, helmets were optional for the adults. We were one of the few visitors who chose the lower river raft ride, which they call a "float" trip, but which is perfect for those with small kids or anyone who may be a bit apprehensive about an intense ride through rapids. This river raft trip ended up being the highlight of our Gatlinburg vacation and wet our appetite to ride on the upper river on our next visit. Our guide, Jeffrey, had 18 years experience and was terrific. There were enough Level 1 and 2 rapids to make the ride interesting, and a fork at the end of the route provided an option to ride over a Level 3 rapid, which we chose to do. The ride lasted about 1½ hours and the scenery was beautiful. We spotted some waterfowl and predatory birds along the way. There are calm sections where you basically float with the current. This is where you can get out and swim in the river for a few minutes before getting back into the raft to navigate through the rougher waters. We were fortunate to ride on a day that was overcast, but during breaks in the clouds it could get hot so wear sunscreen, consider bringing sunglasses and, on the lower river, a hat if not wearing a helmet. Dress to get wet. We only got a couple of good splashes on our ride, but your feet will definitely get wet inside the raft so wear secure, water-friendly shoes. This was a fun trip that we highly recommend.

Visited July 2011
Thank jmturner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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526 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Durham, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Big Creek Big Fun”
Reviewed July 25, 2011

I have never been rafting before and wasn't sure if I would like the experience. But now I can say that Big Creek has got me sold. I will always remember the great time my family and I had with Erin as our guide. She made us feel safe and provided us with a life long memory of fun and excitement. When we return to Hartford we will take two trips down the Pigeon.

Visited July 2011
1 Thank rock3250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ashburn, Virginia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Experience...fun, safe and wet!!”
Reviewed July 22, 2011

My family was excited to go on our first rafting trip together and were not disappointed. From the check-in to the end of our trip, everything was perfect. We went on the Upper Pigeon river and our guide Stan did a marvelous job of guiding us down the 6 mile river. We didn't get as wet as planned as we had an older couple in our boat that wasn't to excited about the rapids, but Stan still made it fun for our family. There are a lot of rafting companies in the area, but rest assured you won't go wrong wtih this one!

Visited July 2011
Thank thevogelfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
1 review
Reviewed July 11, 2011

I (the mom) was scared, but Jordan our guide kept us safe and gave us a thrilling ride at the same time. It was our first time white water rafting and the whole family loved it. We highly recommend Jordan he was very experienced and kept us all in the boat.

Visited July 2011
Thank lbomont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Key West, Florida
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Our guide Erica was so great!”
Reviewed July 9, 2011

I took my dad here for Father's Day instead of getting him a boring tee shirt or doing the same old thing. It was so fun and I am glad I did this instead of zip lining or anything else. The teamwork aspect was fun and is great for family. The other rafters weren't so great at following our guide's directions at first, but she made it work and had a blast. And when my dad couldn't get back in the raft after he went for a swim, our 100 pound guide pulled my 220 pound dad back in with no problem! I was impressed with everything at Big Creek Expeditions.

Visited July 2011
Thank SouthernmostVol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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