Big Bear Rafting

Whitewater Rafting Guides & Support Staff Needed for the 2024 Season!

Big Bear Rafting offers the best Whitewater Raft Guide Training program in the Smoky Mountains. We have set the standard on the Pigeon River for training class IV ready raft guides. With over 60 years combined experience in the industry, we'll get you river ready and you'll have the summer of your life!

Big Bear Rafting is located in Hartford, Tennessee. Rolling peaks and rushing waters of the Great Smoky Mountains provide the backdrop for the Big Pigeon River. It snakes its way through the lush mountain landscape along the Tennessee-North Carolina border and features stunning wilderness.

About Big Bear Rafting

We are looking for Team Members with for the 2024 season.

Our Guide School starts Monday, May 13th, 2024. Our training class will fill up quickly, so don't hesitate!

Course Curriculum:

  • Fundamentals of hydrology, river terminology, and water reading
  • Technical skills required to maneuver rafts on a whitewater river
  • River safety and communication
  • Proper river etiquette
  • Basic rescue training including rapid swimming, raft flipping, and throw ropes
  • Guest service, logistics, and dynamics of a commercial (or private) river trip
  • Equipment and gear care and maintenance
  • Risk management
  • First Aid/CPR training

There is a discounted charge for your required river gear.

There is no charge for training.

The Employee Experience

We are a family oriented company that pride ourselves on providing our guests the best white water rafting experience in the Great Smoky Mountains. Members of Team Big Bear are hardworking, focused and respectful to each other, our company and our guests. It is our goal to create a positive winning environment for our employees to thrive in. Great people make great guides!

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidates will be team oriented and hard working individuals. A fantastic attitude and willingness to learn are necessary. This position is for those who find satisfaction in entertaining, explaining and discussing the environment and history of the area with guests. You must feel comfortable interacting and communicating with guests for up to 2 hours.

If you think you have these skills, are adventurous, love getting a little dirty and working in the outdoors – you may be the new addition we are looking for.

Room and Board

Bunkhouse lodging is available for $50 a month - no room and board charges will occur until you start getting paid.

Staff dinners are provided every Thursday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Employee Perks

Over the course of the summer, our team will have the chance to take trips to other rivers in the area on our days off. This gives us the opportunity to not only see different rivers in the area, but also test our skills as guides on new and challenging whitewater.

Currently, we have trips scheduled for the following:

  • New River, West Virginia
  • Nolichucky River, Tennessee
  • French Broad River, North Carolina
  • Ocoee River, Tennessee
  • Nantahala River, North Carolina

Getting Here and Getting Around

Most of our employees will arrive in their own vehicles. We will be happy to pick you up from the airport or bus station if needed.

If you are planning on flying in: McGee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, TN or Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in Asheville, NC are the two closest. We will pick you up from these locations free of charge.

If you plan on arriving by bus, we recommend Megabus or Greyhound in Knoxville, TN or Asheville, NC.

For Fun

We're less than an hour drive from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville and about an hour from Asheville, NC.

On your days off you will find endless adventures. From hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to riding roller coasters at Dollywood, there is so much to see and do.  We love it here in these hills and know you will too.

How to Apply

Please either email your resume to Daniel Sutton at or click APPLY HERE to fill out our online application.

Contact Big Bear Rafting