How to pick a whitewater rafting company for your next adventure

With many rafting companies to choose from when planning a river adventure how do you pick the right one?

Do you choose the co

We could start by telling you how wonderful we are but we are obviously going to be a bit biased. Instead, we think online reviews are a much better tool for you to use since you can hear about someone’s experience with us in their own words. – not ours.

Check out our many, many online reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor.com and decide for yourself if you want to book your trip with us. We hope you do and that you’ll write your own review after your trip.

Whitewater Rafting Near Asheville, North Carolina

When you’re looking to plan a fun-filled adventure, there’s no better way to go than whitewater rafting near Asheville on the legendary Nantahala River. Rafting draws hundreds of thousands of beginner and experienced rafters to this area each summer, and at Rolling Thunder River Company, we’re thrilled to offer exciting whitewater rafting near Asheville!

Whitewater Rafting Near Asheville

For thrilling whitewater rafting, Ashville is the place to be! In fact, Whitewater Paddling magazine named Asheville, North Carolina one of the top 10 whitewater towns, and ABC’s Good Morning America named North Carolina the “Number 1 Vacation with a Splash.”

The Nantahala River is North Carolina’s most well-known and popular whitewater rafting river. It alternates between flat water and rollicking rapids, and it’s the perfect destination for beginners. We offer Nantahala raft adventures for people who are over the age of 7 OR weigh at least 60 pounds.

Close to Asheville, Miles from Ordinary

Our Nantahala River rafting trips carry guests through 8 miles of the most scenic rainforest in North Carolina. The river passes through the Nantahala National Forst, which is the largest National Forest in North Carolina. In addition to lively rapids, your journey will take you through calmer sections where you can enjoy the scenery and wildlife along the river. Since the river is dam-controlled, you never have to worry about there not being enough water on the day of your adventure.

Our Nantahala River Rafting Center is located in Bryson City, just about an hour from Asheville. Whether you’re an Asheville resident or you’re visiting the area on vacation, a day trip to Rolling Thunder is definitely worth the drive! Contact us today to book your reservation for the trip of a lifetime or to learn more about whitewater rafting near Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

Booking Your 2017 Whitewater Rafting Adventure

If you’re like us and you’re already looking forward to the 2017 whitewater rafting season, we have some good news! Though the season won’t be back in full swing for a few more months, you can book your whitewater rafting adventure today. Our 2017 prices are up, and now is the perfect time to plan your trip to make sure the dates you want are available.

Booking Your 2017 Whitewater Rafting Adventure

At Rolling Thunder River Company, we are thrilled to over whitewater adventures for people of nearly all ages and skill levels. Both kids and adults will love spending a day on the river creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rafting enthusiast, make sure a day with Rolling Thunder River Company is part of your summer schedule!

What to Expect

We offer whitewater rafting adventures on the Ocoee River and the Nantahala River. The Nantahala is a favorite among beginners and families with younger children. The 8-mile trip will take you through calm, flat water as well as more than 20 whitewater rapids.

The Ocoee River provides a few more thrills, and you can choose the full river or just the upper section or middle section. The Ocoee boasts the most continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids in the United States, and it’s a favorite among rafting enthusiasts around the world!

Booking Your Trip

When you choosing Rolling Thunder River Company, booking your whitewater rafting adventure is easy! All you need to do is visit our calendar, choose a date, and click on the trip you’re interested in. Let us know how many people will be in your party, select any other options you’re interested in, submit your payment, and you’re good to good! You’ll receive a confirmation of your reservation immediately.

If you need help booking your whitewater rafting adventure, we’re always available! Thank you for choosing Rolling Thunder, and we can’t wait for another great season in 2017!

Will I Get Wet On My Whitewater Rafting Adventure?

Gosh, we hope so! That’s a big part of the fun of splashing down a rollicking mountain river!Whether you and your group are planning a whitewater rafting trip down the Ocoee river, Nantahala river, or Taccoa river, you can expect to get at least a little wet. Some folks ask us HOW wet they will get.  The truth is, there’s really no way to tell just how wet you’ll get on one of our river adventures. Some folks come back barely damp and others come back looking like they took a bath fully dressed.  Believe it or not, most folks want to get soaking wet. So the answer is – it really depends on a number of factors that differ from rafting trip to rafting trip.

While we can’t guarantee just how wet you will or won’t get, there are a few tips that you can follow before even getting on the river.

Sit Toward the Back of the Raft

Those who sit in the front of the raft will usually get wetter than anyone in the raft.

The front of the raft usually hits the rapids first and the ensuing splash will get those in front as wet as rain. There’s no way around it. By sitting toward the back of the raft, you’ll avoid the majority of a large splash, but we can’t guarantee anything about getting splashed from the side!

Wear Water Repellent Clothes

If you are more concerned about getting wet and staying wet, then we recommend wearing light, water repellent clothing.  Most people wear a swimsuit or light fast drying shorts and a t-shirt. You don’t want to wear heavy clothes thinking they will keep you dry. Heavy clothes will actually keep you wet and weigh you down. Light, water repellant clothing works best for those who are trying to stay as dry as possible and dry off as quickly as possible.

Ask Us For A Splash Jack Free of Charge 

Rolling Thunder also offers each customer a splash jacket free of charge. A splash jacket is a long sleeved, rubberized, high necked garment which will keep your top half pretty dry.  Your bottom half will be wet but will usually dry quickly as you bounce from one rapid to another.

In the end, you’re going to get wet on any whitewater rafting adventure that you take. It’s a matter of taking measures to try and control just how wet you’ll get and how quickly you’ll be able to dry off. Always be sure to bring an extra set of dry clothes for after the adventure. You may not need them, but it’s best to be prepared. The only way we can truly guarantee that you won’t get wet is if you stay in the bus – and that’s no fun! 

Rolling Thunder Offers Both Mild and Wild River Adventures

Here at Rolling Thunder River Company, we’re thrilled to offer river adventures for people of virtually all ages and levels of experience. Whether you’re a newbie seeking a mild river adventure or a seasoned pro looking for a wild whitewater rafting experience, we have trips that are perfect for almost anyone!

Mild and Wild Adventures on the Ocoee and Toccoa Rivers

When you visit our Ocoee River Rafting Center and Toccoa River Tubing Center in McCaysville, Georgia, you’ll be presented with multiple options for an unforgettable adventure.

Relaxing Trips Down the Toccoa

The Toccoa River provides tubing, canoeing and kayaking adventures for beginners as well as families with children who are too young to embark on a whitewater trip – ages 5 an up.

Located in north Georgia, the Toccoa River is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to enjoy the gentle flow of the water and relax.

Exciting Ocoee Adventures

The Ocoee River provides some of the best whitewater rafting in the Southeast United States. The Ocoee has two separate sections – the upper and the middle – and both provide unforgettable adventures.

The middle section stretches five miles through nearly continuous class III and IV rapids and takes rafters through the Ocoee’s scenic rocky gorge. The five-mile upper section features more than 20 rapids, some of which that are more intense than those found in the middle section. This span contains the actual course from the 1996 Summer Olympic whitewater events, and it’s the perfect place to actually experience history.

Not sure whether you should choose the upper section or the middle section? On some days, we offer full-river trips. During this adventure, you’ll experience more than 40 rapids and spend nearly the entire day on the river. Our full-day trips also include a catered lunch along the river.

Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing day floating down the Toccoa River or a thrilling adventure on the Ocoee, contact Rolling Thunder’s Ocoee/Toccoa River Rafting Center in McCaysville, Georgia! We’ll help you plan an adventure that’s perfect for any ages, skill levels and experience levels.

Thank You For Another Amazing Rafting Season!

From all of us at Rolling Thunder, thank you for making the 2016 rafting season one of our best ever! Because of our many guests who share our passion for thrilling river adventures, it was one of the best years in our 39-year history, and we expect next year to be even better!

We are incredibly proud to have the most enthusiastic, hardest working staff on the river, and we owe our guests our deepest gratitude for allowing us to do what we love year after year. Without guests who share our love for the water and passion for adventure, we’d never be able to continue living this incredible dream.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the amazing online reviews you’ve posted throughout the season. They are integral to our success, and we take the time to read each and every one. While time doesn’t allow us to respond to each review personally, please know that we do read and appreciate them. Our staff members’ faces light up when we read them your reviews.

Guests need to know they can trust a river company and its staff when planning a rafting adventure, and your reviews go a long way toward helping people view recognize Rolling Thunder as a trustworthy, reputable company for many years. We truly thank you for putting your trust in Rolling Thunder and for helping others choose us when they’re planning a river adventure.

Next year marks our 40th anniversary, and we’re already at work behind the scenes preparing for this monumental occasion. What we have in store is still a surprise, but be on the lookout for announcements regarding our 40th anniversary celebration in the coming months!

From all of us at Rolling Thunder, THANK YOU again for your support during the 2016 season and throughout the 39 years we’ve been in operation. We can’t wait to see you again next year!

3 Things to Avoid When Whitewater Rafting

Here at Rolling Thunder River Company, safety is always our top concern. Whether you’re enjoying a gentle float down the Toccoa or a thrilling Ocoee River whitewater adventure, we are committed to making sure that everything goes smoothly.

It’s pretty hard to have a bad time when you’re rafting, but there are things you can do to jeopardize your safety and lower your likelihood of having a good time. To ensure the safety of yourself and your fellow guests while guaranteeing an amazing, memorable adventure, there are a few things that you should always avoid.

Keep reading for some whitewater rafting tips to learn what not to do on your next rafting adventure!

Failing to Use Proper Safety EquipmentWhitewater rafting tips

You may not want to wear a PFD or a helmet, but if we say you need to, there’s good reason! Your life jacket is designed to keep you from drowning if you end up in the water. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, rapids can pull you under.

And that helmet? That protects you from hitting your head on rocks and logs that could be hidden under the surface of the water. We have rules regarding the use of safety equipment for your own protection, and failing to abide by these rules is the best way to have a bad time.

Rafting Under the Influence

Rafting while drunk or under the influence is dangerous. Drugs and alcohol impair your physical capabilities, judgment and reasoning skills, and these are three skills that you need when rafting. If you’re feeling a bit anxious about your adventure, remember that liquid courage does not equal real courage, and hitting the water wasted greatly increases your risk of getting hurt.

Worrying About Your Tan

We get it. A day spent on the water seems like the perfect time to work on your tan. Unfortunately, this is a bad idea for a few reasons. First and foremost, you should always wear sunscreen when rafting. The sun is more intense on the water, and sunburns, dehydration and even sun strokes can happen faster than you probably reason.

Secondly, if you’re worrying about your tan, you aren’t devoting your full attention to the river and any potential hazards that lie within. For your own safety and the safety of your rafting companions, you need to protect yourself from sun-related problems and pay attention to the river.

At Rolling Thunder River Company, we’re here to help you have amazing adventures on the Nantahala River, the Ocoee River and the Toccoa River. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, we offer incredible trips for rafters of all skill levels.

Top 5 Whitewater Rafting Myths

Are you still on the fence about booking your whitewater rafting trip? If so, it’s probably because of some of the many myths surrounding this popular sport. Let’s talk about some of those myths so you can make an informed decision whether rafting is right for you.

Myth #1: Rafting Is Only for Adrenaline Junkies

Rafting isn’t always extreme. In fact, most rafting trips aren’t as extreme as the ones you’ve probably seen on TV or in viral videos. Rafting is stimulating, but there are different trips that offer different levels of intensity. At Rolling Thunder River Company, we offer adventures for just about everyone over the age of 5.

Myth #2: Only Good Swimmers Can Go RaftingTop Rafting Myths

When you go rafting, staying in the boat is your number one goal. If you do end up in the water, though, having the ability to float is more important than being able to swim.

Myth #3: I Need to Be Athletic to Go Rafting

If you’re capable of getting in and out of the raft, you’re probably fit enough to go rafting. You don’t need any special training or athleticism.

Myth #4: All Rafting Guides Are the Same

When you think about rafting guides, you probably picture burly guys with beards and booming voices, and you aren’t entirely wrong. We do have a few of those guys around here, but not all of our guides are cut from the same mold.

Our guides come from all backgrounds and have varying personalities. The one thing they share, though, is passion for the outdoors.

Myth #5: Rafting Is the Same no Matter Where You Go

Every river and rafting trip is unique. The outfitter you choose makes a huge difference as well. Hitting the river with well-trained, passionate guides, such as those here at Rolling Thunder, make trips enjoyable and memorable.

Convinced? Click here to make your reservation!

20th Anniversary of 1996 Summer Olympics

July 19, 2016 marks the 20 year anniversary of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games held in

Atlanta, Georgia. The 1996 Olympics hold a special place in our hearts here at Rolling Thunder because one of our most popular rafting destinations – The Ocoee River – got to spend some much-deserved time in the spotlight.

1996 Summer Olympic Games on the Ocoee River

Image Source: John Anderson

Image Source: John Anderson

The Ocoee River was chosen as the site for the canoe course during the 1996 Olympics. It is the only in-river course to ever be used for an Olympic slalom competition.

To create the necessary drops and eddies for the slalom course, a 1,640 foot section of the Upper Ocoee River was narrowed by two-thirds. Levees were built along the shore and covered with natural rock. The Ocoee is a dam-controlled river, and during the Olympics, water was released at a rate of 1,400 cu ft/s.

The Ocoee River hosted a total of 16 events. The events included slalom canoeing and sprint canoeing, and there were four events for women and 12 for men.

The Ocoee TodayOcoee River

Twenty years after the close of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the Ocoee River remains a popular travel destination for whitewater enthusiasts. What was once one of the best kept secrets in the Southeast has now been named the one of the best whitewater rafting destination in the entire United States. Hundreds of thousands of eager adventurers visit the Ocoee River each year and leave with memories that last a lifetime.

The Ocoee is still a dam-controlled river, and it is broken up into the upper and middle sections. Water is released in the upper second on selected weekends during the summer while the middle has water every weekend during the summer months. With the longest continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids in the US, the Ocoee River provides incredible adventures even 20 years after the close of the Olympic Games.

Experience the Ocoee

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to experience the Ocoee River. At Rolling Thunder River Company, we offer exhilarating guided Ocoee river rafting trips throughout the summer rafting season. Experience the thrill of rafting down a world famous river. Whether you’re new to rafting or you’re a whitewater expert, the Ocoee River is a destination that no rafter should miss!

What You Need to Know About River Classifications

The Southeast provides some amazing spots for whitewater rafting. The Ocoee River and the Nantahala River offer some of the best adventures in the United States, and they are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for an exciting adventure.

While planning your trip, you’ve probably noticed the classifications for rivers and rapids, but do you really know what these numbers mean?

We’ve put together this little guide to help you determine which rivers are best for you based upon your skill level and experience.

Rivers for BeginnersRiver Classifications

If you’re totally new to whitewater rafting, you’ll want to look for a river with a lower classification. Class I and II rapids are your safest best if you’ve never been on the water before.

On a class I river, you can expect fast-moving water and small waves. Any obstacles in the water are easy to spot and avoid.

Slightly larger waves make class II rapids a bit more exciting, and you might need to maneuver around some rocks in the water.

With primarily class I and II with a single class III rapid at the end, the Nantahala River is perfect for newbies and kids who are over the age of 7 or weigh at least 60 pounds.

Intermediate Rivers

Intermediate rivers are best for those who have experienced a bit of rafting before or for adventurous beginners who will be hitting the water with a guide. Rivers with class III and IV rapids fall into the intermediate category. Class III rapids have stronger currents and irregular waves that may be difficult to dodge, and class IV rapids have large waves and require precise boat maneuvering.

The Ocoee River, home of the 1996 Olympic whitewater events, features the most continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids of any US river, and it is a popular destination that provides thrills for intermediate and experienced rafters alike.

Rafting for Experts

Only experienced, expert rafters should attempt class V rapids. With the proper knowledge and skills, rivers with class V rapids can be extremely dangerous, and you should never put your safety at risk for the sake of an adrenaline rush.

Ready for your next adventure? What are you waiting for? At Rolling Thunder River Company, we offer amazing adventures for rafters of all skill levels, and we would love to help you experience the adventure of a lifetime!