Rafting & Tubing


Float Down the River

For chilling thrills on a summer afternoonnothing beats floating down the rapids of a cool mountain stream on a giant inner tube. And the Smokies offer several great places for family tubing, including the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, Deep Creek near Bryson City and the Tuckasegee River.

Considered a “family” river, you can also take a raft ride on the Tuckaseigee River. With its Class I and II rapids, the Tuck is open to adults and kids of all ages. 

Whitewater Rafting
If you want to kick it up a notch, you’ll love whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, about a half-hour west of Cherokee on Highway 19/74. With its Class II and III rapids, Nantahala River rafting is restricted to children at least 60 pounds or seven years of age.

Because it’s a dam-controlled river, the Nantahala is a dependable source of whitewater rafting adventure. The water is pulled from the bottom of the 250 foot deep Nantahala lake, guaranteeing refreshingly cool water, even in the heat of summer.

Several outfitters offer guided, semi-guided and self-guided trips down the Nantahala’s eight-mile whitewater course. The trip takes about three hours.

Rafting and Tubing

  • Smoky Mountain Tube & Raft

    Cherokee's and western North Carolina's number one tube and raft trip with over 200 tubes in stock, which means no waiting! We have tube and raft trips designed for everyone of every age. A great experience to see the Smokies from a unique point of view. Always cool and refreshing during the summer heat, a relaxing float down the Oconoluftee River is a welcome departure from the crowds of the reservation's busy summer months. A Cherokee favorite for over 15 years!
  • Rolling Thunder River Company

    Since 1977, Rolling Thunder River Company has entertained hundreds of thousands of rafters on some of the most popular whitewater rivers in the Southeast. The family-friendly Nantahala River is just 30 minutes from Cherokee. The adventurous Ocoee River is about 2 hours from Cherokee. Join us for a fun-filled rafting trip on the river of your choice. The preferred company for over 30 years.
  • Wildwater Ltd. Rafting

    The original professional outfitter in the southeast since 1971. Family owned and operated by three generations. Trips on the Nantahala, Big Pigeon, Ocoee, Chattooga and Cheoah Rivers, suitable for ages 4- 94. Adventure locations within 20 minutes to 2 hours from Cherokee. Fully guided river trips. Rental Rafts and Inflatable Kayaks. Price includes all required gear (no hidden equipment fees), hot showers, changing rooms, complementary beverages. Combo adventures with Jeep, Zipline, or Scenic Train Excursions. Choose quality, choose Wildwater.
  • Nantahala Outdoor Center Whitewater Rafting

    Named one of the "Best Outfitters on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been recognized as a leader in the whitewater rafting industry for more than 40 years. Our Nantahala Adventure Resort is just a short drive from Cherokee and is home to our famous Paddling School, popular Mountaintop Zip Line Tour, renowned Outfitter's Store, restaurants, lodging and more.