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white water rafting in tennessee
rafting in tennessee

Big Bear Rafting in Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions

Please call us at 855-866-5189 if you have a question that is not answered here!

• How do I make a Reservation?

You can book your Big Bear Whitewater River Rafting trip online or by calling Big Bear Expeditions at 855-866-5189. Pick the trip that’s right for you, or tell us what you’re looking for and let our experienced staff help you choose the ideal trip for you or your group. Reservations should be made in advance, although seats may be available up to the last minute.

• What if the weather is bad?

We run river trips rain or shine. Our simple philosophy is “you’re going to get wet regardless of the weather.” We have gear available if Mother Nature is enhancing our day. Tennessee traditionally has hot and humid summers, but the old saying goes: “if you don’t like the weather in East Tennessee, just give a minute and it will change.”

• What should I wear?

Please see our trip prep page

• Do I need previous experience?

Whitewater River Rafting on the Pigeon River is perfect for beginners and requires no previous experience.

• How safe is it?

There are inherent risks involved with whitewater river rafting that everyone should evaluate before getting on the river. Big Bear has an outstanding safety record due to the requirements we place on our guides and equipment to perform to a high standard. Each guide has a minimum of First Aid and CPR; as well as extensive training in all aspects of river guiding and rescue. Many of our guides hold certification as Wilderness First Responders. All trips are equipped with First Aid kits and river rescue equipment. You will receive coast guard approved flotation devices and all the on river gear needed, along with an extensive safety talk prior to trip departure. We strive to give a fun, exciting, and safe trip to all our guests!

• Will there be photos?

We offer professional grade photos of every raft on every trip, usually 10-15 shots of each raft. Immediately following your trip all photos will be on display and offered for sale on a photo CD. We also encourage you to bring a waterproof camera to record your journey if you so choose.

• How many to a raft?

Our Raft Trips run in our 13’ self-bailing paddle rafts. These rafts can hold up to 7 guests plus your guide. Everyone paddles while your guide commands & steers from the stern of the raft.

• What do I do with my valuables?

We don’t recommend bringing any valuables on the trip as they are subject to getting wet or lost. There is no need for any money while on the river. Just lock everything in your car. We will provide a safe place to store your car keys. We cannot assume responsibility for property loss or damage.

• Do I need to know how to swim?

You are not required to know how to swim for our Upper Pigeon Whitewater River Rafting Trip. However, you will get splashed so if you are afraid of the water, we would recommend reserving a Lower Scenic Rafting Trip. Please notify your guide if you are a non-swimmer.

• Cancellation Policy

To receive a full refund, your reservation must be cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled trip time. Reservations booked within the 48 hour window are subject to cancellation policies and refunds will not be issued.

Groups of 10 or more are required to complete the cancellation process at least 7 days prior to the trip time to receive a full refund. Cancellations made within 7 days before the scheduled trip time will receive a 50% refund. Reservations booked within the 48 hour window are subject to cancellation policies and refunds will not be issued.

After check-in time, anyone impaired by drugs or alcohol will be excluded from participation without refund.

Each Participant Must Sign a Liability Waiver

If you need to cancel your reservations, please contact Big Bear Expeditions as soon as possible by calling our toll free number at 855-866-5189.

Rafting Trips Go Rain or Shine – Please Allow 1-Hour Drive Time to the River Outpost

Arriving 30 Minutes Prior to Activity Time to Allow for Check-in Procedures.

• Can I bring my pet?

Pets are not permitted on any of the trips


If you are interested in Smoky Mountain white water rafting in Tennessee, give us a call today at 1-855-866-5189!