Rafting in the Smokies

Join the PRO's at Rafting in the Smokies for our 43rd Season on the Big Pigeon River! Train to guide adventurous Upper Pigeon Whitewater rafting and Lower Scenic Float trips.

Working for Rafting in the Smokies means being a leader, having a flexible schedule, living in beautiful surroundings, making a difference in people’s lives while gaining skills and experience. Rafting in the Smokies’ employees are self-motivated, idealistic and hard-workers. It is a great community and a fun place to work!

The Rafting in the Smokies River Outpost is in Hartford, TN, right on the banks of the Big Pigeon River.

About Rafting in the Smokies

Rafting in the Smokies embraces the adventurous nature people are drawn to when working an outdoor job. While whitewater rafting and scenic family float trips are our main attractions, we also offer zipline canopy tours, high element ropes challenge course and rock climbing wall. All located on our 10-acre Family Adventure Island. Fun fact is people organize entire vacations around whitewater rafting, while a lucky few get to call this their dream job. Adrenaline, sunshine and cool waters are only a few of the perks to your future employment at Rafting in the Smokies.

NOW HIRING!

  • Whitewater River Guides
  • Zipline Canopy Tour Guides
  • Bus Drivers
  • Hartford Outpost Check-In/Retail
  • Gatlinburg Call Center

Our FREE River Guide Certification Training for the 2021 rafting season will be held April 19th - 24th and May 17th - 22nd: (CPR & First Aid Certification classes are available, and are required in order to guide commercial trips). Spaces for the classes are limited, advance registration is required.

We provide six days of training as a professional river guide to gain working knowledge of boat control and customer relations.


  • All skill levels accepted
  • No experience needed
  • Full and part-time positions available
  • Housing option available
  • On-site guide training (April 19-24 and May 17-22)
  • Enjoy your summer in the Smokies!

The Employee Experience

Rafting in the Smokies has a growing staff of approximately 50 river guides from all walks of life, from all around the world. Workdays usually start at 9:30 a.m.or 11:30 a.m., depending on your rotation, and the last trip of the day leaves at 6:00 pm. Trips travel about 5.5 miles and last about an hour and a half each. 

You will "check-in" at our outpost in the morning for a quick meeting and to assign trips for the day. Then it's time to blow up rafts and load them on the bus. You will assist customers with getting dressing in their gear and help explain safety procedures, give them instructions on your commands and how to sit in the raft. Then it's time to go hit the rapids! Guides usually work 3-4 trips a day. 

At the end of the day we relax riverside at guide housing, cook meals, play music and games.  Working on the river is a unique experience as you rely on each other in ways that are just not common to the everyday workplace.  We live together, work together, and play together. We are confident you will develop deep friendships that will last you a lifetime. 

Ideal Candidate

Ideal candidates are self-motivated, idealistic and hard-workers. They possess positive attitudes, willingness to learn and enjoy being part of a team.

Room and Board

Housing is available to all guides. Comfortable accommodations including full kitchens, bathrooms and washer and dryer. Volleyball court on site. 

Employee Perks

  • Complimentary Gatlinburg Attractions Passes. We also participate in employee exchange programs with many tourism companies in the area. 
  • Employee rafting trips to different rivers scheduled during season.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Employee parking is available and most of our employees bring their own vehicle. Once you arrive at the Hartford Outpost, vehicles are not necessary. Guide housing, the local convenience store, post office and food options are all within walking distance. Some employees bring bicycles or scooters to get around. The closest restaurant chain or supermarket (Walmart) is located in Newport, TN, which is about 15 minutes from the Outpost.

If you are planning on flying in or coming by bus: McGee Tyson Airport (TYS) and Greyhound Bus Station, both located in Knoxville, TN, are the closest. (45 min to 1 hour from the Outpost.)

For Fun

Rafting in the Smokies is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is la short scenic drive from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC.

For the outdoor nature lovers, The Great Smoky Mountains offers plenty of hiking, biking, water falls and swimming holes. We are less than a mile from the Appalachian Trail, and there are over 900 miles of hiking trails inside the National Park, also located just up the road. Be sure to bring your camping equipment, kayak or canoe, hiking equipment, mountain bike and fishing pole.

Ripley's Attractions, Dollywood and Splash Country are located in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area along with many other exciting shows and attractions. Too many to list!

Employees typically plan group outings on their days off. We take hikes all over the park to places like Mt. Sterling and Mt. LeConte. We ride our bikes on the trials, and take "fun runs" down the river. We also travel to different rivers like the Nolichucky, Ocoee, French Broad, New and Gauley River. You will have plenty of opportunities to paddle some of the most sought after whitewater on the planet.  We also have employee passes that we use to take trips to Gatlinburg, TN and visit the Aquarium, Skylift, Anakeesta, laser tag, and mini-golf, etc.  With over 50 guides planning different activities, there is no shortage of things to do, places to see or fun to be had! 

How to Apply

Please fill out our online application by clicking the APPLY HERE link below.


Contact Rafting in the Smokies