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Rafting in the Smokies for the Outdoor Adventurer

We received zipline passes in exchange for this post. All opinions and our love for outdoor adventure remain our own.

The rain has let up, and snow days no longer occupy our calendar.

It’s spring and the perfect season to enjoy the Smokies!

We woke up early, loaded the van, and headed out to Rafting in the Smokies.

About three-and-a-half hours from Martinsville, Virginia, Rafting in the Smokies is the ultimate destination for the Outdoor Adventurer.

There is a menu of items to please the thrill seeker and those who want to live life a little more on the edge of every day.

We crossed the Virginia-North Carolina State Line and drove US-40 across the state from our starting point.

We reached the Pisgah National Forest. I grew up not far from here with this forest in my backyard. 

Pisgah National Forest surrounds Asheville, North Carolina. The 500,000 acres of land that make up the forest were first procured as part of the Weeks Act of 1911. Its star is the naturally-occurring Catawba rhododendrons (the locals where I grew up calling them Laurels).

A little further, we crossed into Cherokee National Forest.

This forest is unique because it’s split in the middle by the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Cherokee National Forest is where you’ll find the Pigeon River and Rafting in the Smokies, just across the Tennesse-North Carolina State Line.

tennessee north carolina state line

Just 50 miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina, and 40-miles from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Rafting in the Smokies is the place to find your next adventure.

They’ve been the experts since 1978 and offer white water rafting, zipline, wall climbing, and ropes challenge courses.

We were crunched for time, so our children chose one activity.

They opted for the zipline.

One of the things that stood out was the structures.

It’s sustainable, and everything here uses natural resources.

The timbers are sturdy and fit in with the environment for the zipline towers.

They use cables, not ropes, on the sky bridges.

There are even electric car recharging stations in the parking lot!

rafting at the smokies

Reservations are recommended, but we just showed up, and they loved us.

We checked in then crossed over the 150-foot suspension bridge to the Family Adventure Island.

Here you’ll discover Rafting in the Smokies Zipline and the Ropes Challenge Course.

rafting in the smokies bridge

We had 30-minutes before our session, and we used the time to explore the 10-acre island.

We walked a nature trail along the Pigeon River and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather.

pigeon river

Then we climbed the tower and met our Zip Line Instructors, Ron and Josh.

They were very friendly and made us feel like family. They covered the basics, outlined guidelines to maximize our experience, and then helped the kiddos get into their gear.

rafing in the smokies getting into gear

Once they were suited up, they climbed to the top of the tower and were ready for the adventure in the sky!

Rafting in the Smokies  Zipline Canopy Tour is 60-to-80 feet above the ground.

It travels to six towers on a course that is 2,400 feet long.

It took a few minutes up there for my daughter, who is typically fierce and fearless, to build the courage to step off the edge!

zipline at rafting in the smokies

Once she did, there was no turning back! She loved it!

rafting in the smokies zipline

My son, he didn’t hesitate!

He leaped and hollered, “This is awesome!” as he raced down the zipline.

rafting in the smokies zipline

The kiddos loved soaring through the treetops. They had spectacular views of the Pigeon River.

ziplining at rafting in the smokies

Rafting in the Smokies also offers white water rafting tours from the thrill seeker to the scenic family float.

White Water Rafting offers Class III and Class IV rapids, a professional river guide, and 5.5 miles of river.

No experience is necessary.

Second, on my kiddos, the want-to-do list was the Ropes Course.

This course offers 12 Different Activities across 4 Different Skill Levels, including Balance Beams, Climbing Nets, Rope Bridges.

We saw challenges that we hadn’t seen at other ropes courses.

At Rafting in the Smokies, you can combine your rafting trip, zipline canopy tour, or ropes challenge course adventure with rock climbing.

They offer a four-sided rock climbing wall–each side a little more challenging.

There is so much to do here. There are picnic tables, a playground, and more on Family Adventure Island.

We had a wonderful time here, and the people were incredibly welcoming and made us feel like part of their family.

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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