Frequently Asked Questions

All you need to know for a great adventure

What time of year are trips available?

The Pigeon River is dam controlled. Scheduled water release days start in May and continue until the end of August. Depending on seasonal rainfall, our season can begin as early as March 1st, and end as late as October 31st. We want to make sure each group gets the best rafting experience possible. Whenever possible, we try to schedule trips on days when we can be very confident that there will be sufficient water on the river. For more info, give our reservations staff a call at 877.642.7238.

What should I wear?

Secure footwear is required on the river. Anything with a heel or heel strap will do. For example, any sandals with a heel strap, an old pair of running shoes or water shoes all work. NO FLIP-FLOPS are allowed on the river.Regarding clothes, just be prepared to get wet. Especially on the whitewater adventure trip, each guest should expect to be fully soaked. During the summer months, guests can wear, shorts, a t-shirt, and/or a bathing suite. Rafting during the early spring and fall requires a little more thought. As a general rule of thumb, please avoid wearing cotton when the weather is cold. Wool and synthetic materials work best. Long underwear and socks are safe bets. Also, wet suite rentals are available. Please bring a set of dry clothes to change into after your trip.Additional items to bring include straps for any glasses (we have some available for purchase in our store as well), sunscreen and a towel.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?

To receive a full refund, reservations must be cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled trip time. Cancellations made within 48 hours before the scheduled trip time will receive a 50% refund. Groups of 10 or more are required to complete the cancellation process at least 10 days prior to the trip time to receive a full refund. Cancellations made within 10 days before the scheduled trip time will receive a 50% refund. After check-in time, anyone impaired by drugs or alcohol will be excluded from participation without refund. If you need to cancel your reservations, please contact as soon as possible by calling our toll free number at 877.642.7238

What is the minimum age?

We have rafting trips available for ages 3 to 103! The minimum age/weight for the our Whitewater Adventure on the Upper Section is 8 years old or 70+ pounds. The minimum age for the Scenic Float Trip on the Lower Section is 3 years old.

What precautions are taken for my safety?

All guests are required to sign a participation agreement and will receive an orientation briefing before the trip. Each guest is provided with a personal flotation device, helmet, and paddle. All guides are professionally trained and certified in first aid and CPR, and many of our guides have advanced certifications and experience. You can read more about our guides, as well as their experience and certifications, by checking out our whitewater raft guide bios.

Do you offer group rates?

We do offer group rates to parties of 10 or more. For more information about our Group Discounts contact our reservations staff toll free at 877.642.7238. We would be happy to put an adventure together for you and your group. We’re here to serve! You can also receive a free Group Planner by using the Request Info link at the top of the page.

What time are your trips?

Trip times vary depending on the day and time of year. As a general rule of thumb, trips in the summer meet throughout the day, while trips in the early spring and fall meet in the afternoon. For more info about the rafting schedule please visit the Water Levels & Rafting Schedule link to the right, click on any of the Book Now buttons on trip profile pages, or give our reservations staff a call at 877.642.7238.Please note that the trip times are check-in times. There is no need to arrive prior to your check-in time. We typically allow approximately 30 minutes after the check-in time before we begin the orientation talk. This allows time to get checked-in and ready to go.

Can I take a camera?

We do not recommend taking anything on the river that you do not wish to lose or get wet. We have disposable waterproof cameras available for purchase in our outpost store. Also, professional photos are taken of your group on the river, and can be purchased on a CD after your trip.

What if I can’t swim?

All of our guides are experienced in helping those unable to swim. Absolutely no prior experience is necessary for any of our trips. In fact many of our guests have little to no experience, and many do not know how to swim. Each guest will be provided with a personal flotation device (aka life jacket). Furthermore, we do not recommend swimming in whitewater. One of the many things that makes Big Creek Expeditions the best rafting company in the Smoky Mountains is our experienced staff of guides. Our guides average over 10 years of professional rafting experience! Check out the Our Guides page for our whitewater raft guide bios.

What if the weather is bad?

Big Creek Expeditions runs trips rain or shine. We can delay the trip during inclement weather if necessary. If extreme weather leaves us no option other than canceling the trip, then guests will receive a full refund. For recommendations on what clothing to wear in bad weather, please refer to our What to Bring link at the bottom of this page.

How will I get back to my car?

You get to us, we’ll take care of the rest. Guests on the Whitewater Adventure trip on the Upper Section will receive a brief shuttle to the beginning point of their rafting trip. This trip concludes back at our outpost where you parked your car, and no transportation is necessary. Guests on the Scenic Float trip of the Lower Section begin their rafting trip at our outpost. Upon completion of the rafting trip, guests on the Lower Section receive a brief shuttle back to our outpost.

Where do we keep all our valuables?

Never take anything on the river that would be missed if lost. We recommend that you lock all valuables in your vehicle. We have a secure location in our outpost where your keys will be kept until your return.

Is alcohol permitted?

Absolutely no alcohol is permitted on the river or before your trip. Anyone impaired by alcohol before the trip will be excluded from participation without refund. Alcohol may be consumed responsibly after the trip on the campground premises.

Do I need to be physically fit?

Participation is required on all Big Creek Expeditions trips. You may be asked to help, along with other guests, to assist in carrying the raft both at the put-in and the take-out. However, we do not exclude guests from participation based on physical conditioning, unless your doctor would advise against rafting. Please consult with your physician before taking part in strenuous activity. If you are pregnant, please understand that you will not be allowed to participate.

"One of our families greatest adventures ever!!! Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and made us all feel like pros. We were nervous, but the guides explained everything very thoroughly. And with all the safety features we knew we were in good hands! The views were absolutely stunning! We highly highly recommend it to anyone!!"

– Tara, Wisconson