Kayaking in the Smokies

Maybe you have been whitewater rafting in the Smokies a few times and you have decided that it would be fun to try something new.  Or maybe you are a kayaker and you have brought your own boat to the Smokies.  Either way, the Smoky Mountains have a great way for you and your boat to get in the water and have a great time exploring the waterways around the Smoky Mountain area.  Besides the extreme kayaking that can be done while you explore the faster water with rapids, there is also a considerable amount of flatwater kayaking that can be enjoyed in the area as well.

Whitewater KayakingWhitewater Kayaking
There are lots of rapids in the Smokies.  From small class ones that shake the boat a little to class fives that might eat you and your boat for lunch.  Both inside and outside the park, if you can find a boat launch or a place that will get you close enough to the river to put your boat in, you are set.  You still need to plan ahead so that you have a plan to get back to your car at the end of the day but as long as there is water you most likely have the right to kayak in it.  You do have a few options when it comes to whitewater kayaking.

  1. Park and Float – You find a place to park, set your boats off the car and then have someone else leave a car or truck at the other end of the trip so that you have a way to get back and forth.  This is complicated but as long as you have two vehicles you are able to use your own vehicle for transport from the drop off point to the take out when you kayak.
  2. Use a whitewater company – If you are going to be using the same river as one of the many whitewater companies in the area, you will probably be able to work out a deal so that the rafting company provides you with transport to and from the river.  Great solution so that you don’t have to shuffle cars back and forth.

Flatwater KayakingFlatwater Kayaking
For those of you that don’t enjoy the bumps and thumps of a whitewater adventure but would rather drift down the river in solitude while you watch the scenery gradually flow by, there are plenty of places that you can put your boat in the river for some flatwater kayaking.  Bring your boat with you.  Put it in the Tennessee River or the French Broad.  In some of the smaller channels you might run across a calls one or a class two rapid but for the most part it will be you controlling where you go and enjoying your trip.  You can also rent flatwater boats at some of the outfitters in the area and they will help you figure out the best places to put your boat in the water.

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