Category Archives: Rafting Trips

Plan Your Mountain Escape Today

It’s August! Schools are back in session, and autumn is on the horizon, but there’s still time to enjoy a fun mountain escape before summer officially ends! Whether you’re wanting to get away with your family, your friends, or your significant other—we have just the escape you are looking for. Come for the day or extend your stay at our campgrounds, bunkhouse, or at one of the many area cabins, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels…but don’t delay—plan your mountain escape before the season ends on September 30th!

The Nantahala River

Our Nantahala River Rafting Center in Bryson City, NC is only 3 hours from Atlanta and 2.5 hours from Chattanooga. Rafting trips on this river are considered “mild to moderate” adventure level, making them perfect for families with children (7+ years) and beginning rafters. Make a day of your rafting adventure by visiting one (or more) of 3 nearby waterfalls (Indian Creek Falls, Juney Whank Falls, and Tom Branch Falls) before or after your time on the water. Then stay the night at one of dozens of nearby camping and lodging locations or at our Nantahala rafting center bunkhouse or campground. Our cozy campground is outfitted with pea gravel tent sites, a bathhouse, picnic tables, and fire pits. Our awesome dormitory style bunkhouse sleeps up to 72 people and has a full service kitchen, outside grills, and large adjacent bath house—perfect for groups!

The Ocoee and Toccoa Rivers

Our Ocoee River Rafting Center and Toccoa River Tubing Centerare located in McCaysville, GA, a quick 2 hour drive from Atlanta, an hour and a half from Chattanooga, and just 15 minutes from Blue Ridge, GA. The dam-controlled Ocoee River has two separate “hang onto your helmet” sections of surging whitewater, producing the most continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids of any river in the country—perfect for getting your adrenaline rushing! For a calmer expedition, Toccoa River tubing, kayaking, and canoeing are perfect trips if you are looking for a calmer river adventure and for families with children too young for whitewater rafting. Make a day of your rafting adventure by visiting one (or more) of 7 nearby waterfalls (Fall BranchFalls, Long CreekFalls, Willow Creek Falls, Noontootla Falls, High Falls, Black Falls, and Sea Creek Falls) before or after your time on the water. Then stay the night at one of dozens of nearby camping and lodging locations.

Rolling Thunder River Company

At Rolling Thunder River Company we have earned our stellar reputation by being a safety conscious provider of high quality river adventures since 1977. Plan your mountain escape—reserve your trip online today!

Summer Adventures within Driving Distance

Summertime is the perfect time to be spontaneous. If you are looking to set out at the spur of the moment or you are looking for a quick day trip, rafting and tubing centers are just a short drive away. Come for the day or extend your stay at our campground or bunkhouse (or at one of the many area cabins, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels). With so many rafting options and lots of nearby attractions, Rolling Thunder is the perfect destination for your summer vacation!

Pick Your Rafting Adventure

  1. Nantahala:Our Nantahala River Rafting Center in Bryson City, NC is only 3 hours from Atlanta and 2.5 hours from Chattanooga. Rafting trips on this river are considered a beginner’s level adventure, making them perfect for families with children (7+ years).
  2. Ocoee:Our Ocoee River Rafting Center and Toccoa River Tubing Centerare located in McCaysville, GA, a quick hour and a half drive from the north side of Atlanta or an hour and a half from Chattanooga. The dam-controlled Ocoee River has two separate “hang onto your helmet” sections of surging whitewater, producing the most continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids of any river in the country—perfect for getting your adrenaline rushing!
  3. Toccoa: Toccoa River tubing, kayaking, and canoeing are perfect float trips for families with children too young for whitewater rafting or for anyone who enjoys a scenic float trip. You’ll have the option of three different length trips so you can choose how long you want to float on the river.

Turn Your Day Trip into a Vacation

Come spend the day on the river with us for a romantic getaway, family vacation, girls/guys trip, family reunion, or any other special event. Admire the breathtaking views; hit the hiking trails; visit the waterfalls; explore the shops; enjoy the restaurants, craft breweries, or wineries. Then go on a few adventurous excursions like biking, boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, or horseback riding. Explore all the nearby natural and cultural history of the area, especially the natural beauty of the Great Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains. The Great Smokies have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America. They are also home to the most visited national park in the United States—Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Turn your drive into part of the adventure by traveling along the 469-mile scenic Blue Ridge Parkway the highway connects the Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Rolling Thunder River Company

All these adventures are only a few physical miles away from you but they’re a million miles away from it all. At Rolling Thunder River Company we have earned our stellar reputationby being a safety conscious provider of high quality river adventures since 1977. Plan your summer getaway for two or for a groupreserve your trip online  today!

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.

How Rafting Addicts Survive the Winter

Not sure how you’re going to survive until rafting season? You’re not alone! To help you bide your time, we’ve put together some tips to help rafters navigate the cold winter months.

Set the Scene

Instead of staring out the window at endless clouds and snow, print out a window-sized copy of your favorite river. Affix it to your kitchen window for a more enjoyable view when you’re doing dishes.

Dine at Home River Style

Gather your rafting friends and family for your favorite river meal. Toss on a warm jacket, and spend the evening enjoying dinner in front of a campfire and recounting you last whitewater adventure.

Explore Water’s Chillier Forms

You can’t hit the river in January, but you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing or snowshoeing. Looking for some major offseason thrills? Take up ice climbing to enjoy water in all its frozen glory.

Go International

It isn’t winter everywhere! Plan a mid-winter getaway to the southern hemisphere where you can still enjoy river adventures at this time of year. New Zealand, Chile and Fiji have some amazing destinations for rafting addicts.

Start Training to Become a Guide

For those who are truly passionate about rafting, becoming a guide is a great way to turn your passion into a career. We provide comprehensive guide training, but there are a couple certifications you need prior to beginning your training. Getting your CPR and First Aid certifications during the offseason is a great way to pass the winter months while working toward having the ability to earn a paycheck for doing what you love.

Plan Your Next Adventure Rolling Thunder River Company

Since you can’t go rafting, you have plenty of time to plan your next adventure. Rafting season at Rolling Thunder is only a few short months away. Start planning and make your reservations now to get first pick for the days and times you want.

Tubing the Toccoa – What You Need to Know

Tubing the Toccoa River in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect way to relax and soak up the last bit of summer. Here at Rolling Thunder River Company, we offer the best tubing trips to ensure fun and relaxation for anyone over the age of 5. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot, and we want to share some of that knowledge to ensure that you have a great time on your tubing trip.

What You Should WearTubing the Toccoa

Being properly attired is important for both your comfort and safety. We require all guests to wear shoes that fit securely to prevent foot injuries. Old tennis shoes are perfect. Flip flops may be your summer staple, but leave them home for this trip!

Tubing is definitely a wet experience, so you will probably be most comfortable wearing either a bathing suit or shorts and a lightweight tee shirt. Don’t wear anything that will weigh you down if you get wet.

If you plan on wearing glasses or sunglasses, we recommend securing them with a retainer of some sort. Sun rays reflecting on the surface of the water can lead to serious sunburns, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

What to Expect

At Rolling Thunder River Company, we have a couple options for tubing trips. Because the Toccoa River is controlled by a dam and the TVA releases water as necessary, water levels and speed can change significantly. Our 1.5 mile trip, which usually takes about an hour during normal water conditions, can be over in just 20 minutes after water is released. To make up for this, we also offer a 3 mile trip that provides more time on the water when the river is running fast.

Tubing is an enjoyable activity for anyone who can swim, but it is still important to be careful. The water is deeper in some areas than others, and you may encounter rocks and small rapids along the way. To ensure your safety, please keep your life jacket securely fastened at all times.

Our vinyl inner tubes are designed for comfort. They have handles, and some have seats while others do not. To steer your tube, sit in the middle, lean backward and paddle with your hands while kicking your feet.

Final Notes

At the end of your trip, you will see a marked Rolling Thunder “take out”. This is where you get out of the river. If, for any reason, you need to get out of the river before the designated take out area, make sure you get out on the same side of the river that the road is on so that you will be able to begin walking back toward Rolling Thunder.

If you spot any critters in the water or along the shore, stay away. None of our guests have ever had any problems with local wildlife, and we want it to stay that way.

Here at Rolling Thunder River Company, we want all of our guests to have an amazing time. Tubing the Toccoa is a great activity for those who are looking to relax on the water and unwind at the end of summer. To learn more or to book your trip, visit our website.

3 Things that Make the Nantahala Awesome

When you’re looking to embark on the North Carolina white water rafting adventure of a lifetime, the feisty Nantahala River is the perfect destination. Named the “#1 Vacation with a Splash” by Good Morning America, the Nantahala draws thousands of visitors every summer.

So, what makes the Nantahala so great? Here are just a few of the river’s most awesome attributes!

1. The Nantahala Is Great for FamiliesNantahala River Rafting

Alternating between 20 rapids and peaceful pools, the Nantahala is ideal for beginners and more experienced rafters alike. As a beginner’s level course, it is great for kids as well as adults. When you choose to have a guide in your raft, you can enjoy the trip and know that your family is good hands. Most parents find it much easier to relax with one of our guides in the raft.

2. The River is Dam-Controlled

The Nantahala is a dam-controlled river. This ensures a consistent and predictable flow of water throughout the entire rafting season, which lasts from April through the end of September. This is a huge benefit because it means that you will never face the disappointment of a reservation being cancelled due to insufficient water.

During the summer, drought and lack of rainfall causes many rivers to shut down to rafting, but as a dam-controlled river, the Nantahala never has these issues. This means that you can book your reservation with confidence that you won’t be stuck dealing with a last-minute cancellation.

3. The Entire Area is Rich in History and Beauty

The Nantahala is an ancient river that flows through a natural rainforest full of Native American history. In between the rapids, you will enjoy breathtaking scenery. In the summer, the warm North Carolina air meets with the cooler temperature of the Nantahala, and a misty fog forms above the river, adding to its beauty and mystery.

For more than 35 years, Rolling Thunder River Co. has provided amazing North Carolina river adventures on the mighty Nantahala River. To join us for the trip of a lifetime, call 1-800-408-7238.

Why Choose Rolling Thunder?


Here at Rolling Thunder River Company we realize that you have several companies to choose from for river trips in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. While we are not the only river company in these areas, we truly believe that no one can match us in skill, enthusiasm and value. There are several reasons we think you will be very happy that you chose to spend your vacation time with Rolling Thunder River Company.

Multiple Options

Rolling Thunder River Company offers adventures on the beginner level Nantahala River in Ocoee River Ratingwestern North Carolina; the intermediate Ocoee River in southeastern Tennessee; and a gentle tubing/kayaking trip on the Toccoa River in northwest Georgia. Our focus is on minimizing risk and maximizing safety while providing the most fun you’ve ever had on the water. From gentle float trips to adrenaline pumping whitewater we can provide an awesome array of river adventures for the whole family (well….from age 5 and up).

Seasoned Guides with Rave Reviews

All of our guides are passionate, enthusiastic and skilled whitewater professionals. They are also experts in the history of the river and surrounding area so you can learn while you float. The best way to check out our company and our guides is to read our rave reviews on and Google. You can read how we turned so many ordinary people into enthusiastic, can’t wait to do it again, fist-bumping river rafters. We have two sites on Tripadvisor – one for the Ocoee River and one for the Nantahala River.

Our Experience Counts

The only experience you need for whitewater rafting is ours. We handle all the details, provide all the equipment and instruction you need for your trip.  Then we show you how a family-owned and operated company makes all the difference in your river experience. We have almost 40 years of experience and have thrilled over 1 million guests – one personalized river trip at a time. We have become the preferred river rafting company over the years due to our attention to detail and our personalized service.

Make your online reservation with Rolling Thunder River Company 24/7 or call us at 800-408-7238. We’re looking forward to seeing you on the river!

Tips for Whitewater Rafting with Kids

Whitewater rafting is an exhilarating water adventure that most of the family can enjoy together. This is one activity where children are welcome to participate as long as they meet the age requirements for each particular trip.  Of course, special planning for this kind of trip will help to ensure that your children will relish the experience and look forward to more rafting trips.

Prepare Accordingly

The best thing you can do to ensure a positive Whitewater Rafting with Kidsexperience when whitewater rafting with kids is to prepare accordingly. Pay close attention to the rules and regulations set forth by your outfitter, and take their recommendations seriously. Make sure to dress the entire family appropriately, and leave a set of dry clothes in the car for each child to change into after the trip. Remember things like sunscreen, and make sure your kids leave personal items, like toys, jewelry and other trinkets, in the car when it’s time to embark on your adventure.

Talk to your children prior to the trip to ensure that they understand what they are going to experience. Even calm waters can be a bit scary for small children, especially if they have no idea what to expect. Explain to them that they are likely to get wet and experience some bumps along the way. It can be helpful to plan a warning phrase to let your kids know when water is going to be hitting the raft or they might get splashed.

Choose the Right River

For kids, Class II and under rivers are recommended, especially for first-timers. If you aren’t sure which trip will be best for your kids, don’t hesitate to contact the rafting company in advance to get their opinion. Since even relatively calm rivers can be rougher during certain times of the year, they may also recommend the best time for rafting with kids.

By law, children under the age of 12 are not permitted on certain rafting trips. Rolling Thunder River Company will be more than happy to help you choose the adventure that is right for your family.

Make Sure Everyone Listens to Your Guide

Your guide is there to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience. In addition to making sure your kids pay attention to and respect your guides, as a parent, you also need to remember to follow their instructions. They are doing their jobs and only have your best interests in mind. Also, if you are closely following your guide’s instructions, your children are much more likely to follow suit.

At Rolling Thunder River Company, we strive to provide safe and memorable white water rafting adventures for the entire family. To learn more or to book your trip, give us a call now at 1-800-408-7238. You can also contact us here for more information.

Getting Ready for Your First Rafting Adventure

It may not be the same as getting ready for a first date but getting ready for your first rafting What to Wear Raftingadventure is just as – if not more – important. Being properly attired will help you stay comfortable and add to your overall experience.

DO: Choose weather appropriate clothing

Temperatures can fluctuate greatly throughout rafting season. If you’re hitting the river on a hot summer day, guys and gals should wear tee shirts and comfortable shorts. Gals: If you just wear a bathing suit your thighs will be rubbing on a rubber raft and will get uncomfortable. Guys: You want to wear some kind of shirt because those life jackets can get scratchy against your bare skin.

If you’re rafting on a cooler day, wear fabrics such as polypropylene or synthetic fleece. These fabrics will help keep you warm. Our Nantahala rafting center also rents wetsuits.

DON’T:  Wear jewelry/watches

Leave the expensive jewelry at home. Fingers can get cold which can cause them to shrink and rings may fall off.  Anything you hold precious doesn’t belong on a river trip.

DON’T: Wear extra bulk

Keep your attire simple and lightweight. Blue jeans and sweatpants will actually make you colder and the weight will make you uncomfortable when it gets wet.

Yep you will get wet!

DON’T:  Wear glasses

Glasses will get wet and you’ll be trying to see around splotchy water spots.  There is always a chance that you might lose them in the river as well. If you feel like you have to wear glasses don’t wear expensive ones just in case they end up in the river. We do sell eyeglass holders in our store but they cannot 100% guarantee that glasses will not come off.

DON’T:  Forget to protect yourself from the sun

Sunscreen is a good idea for most people while on the river.

DO:  Wear appropriate footwear

The most common injuries on a river trip are foot injuries. Regular shoes and boots are not a good choice for a rafting trip. You are required to wear a securely fitting shoe of some kind. Flip flops are not securely fitting since they do not have straps to hold them onto your foot. If the weather is cool, wool socks are recommended.

DON’T:  Forget a change of clothes

You will need dry clothes and shoes to change into after your trip.  You will be wet. Did we say that already? We sell outstanding tee shirts in our store so check those out as well.

DO:  Leave your car keys in the office

Lock everything in your vehicle and leave those keys with the office. If those keys go in the river they will not come back out.

Rolling Thunder River Company works hard to make sure you have an enjoyable river rafting experience that will have you coming back time after time. If you have any questions about what to wear or what to bring please do not hesitate to call or email us. Our staff is more than willing to help you plan the perfect river trip.

5 Awesome Reasons to Book a Spring Whitewater Rafting Trip

When’s the best time to go whitewater rafting in Georgia?

You might be thinking summer, but actually, there are a few things that make springtime whitewater rafting more amazing than any other time of the year.

5 Awesome Reasons to Book a Spring Whitewater Rafting Trip Spring Whitewater Rafting

While North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia whitewater rafting is always an awesome outdoor adventure, hitting the water in the spring is simply unbeatable. With spring well underway, here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider booking a spring whitewater rafting trip now.

  1. Smaller Crowds

During the summer months, getting a reservation can be tricky at times. During the spring season, however, fewer people are hitting the rivers, so it is much easier to schedule a rafting trip at the time that is most convenient for you.

  1. Perfect Weather

The southeastern US can get unbearably hot during the summer months, particularly in July and August. Not a fan of extreme heat? Planning a trip in the spring means that you will get to enjoy perfectly mild temperatures.

  1. Stunning Scenery

A whitewater rafting trip is a great way to enjoy nature’s beauty any time of year, but spring is even more impressive. At this time of year, everything is coming to life, and you are likely to see vibrant wildflowers blooming as well as woodland animals, which brings us to number 4.

  1. Wildlife Sightings

Just as the leaves and flowers emerge after the winter, wildlife emerges to enjoy the sun and fresh air. The spring is when you are most likely to spot wildlife while on a rafting trip, so this is the perfect time to plan a trip if you would like to see deer, turkeys or even black bears and other woodland creatures.

  1. Higher Water Levels

April showers bring May flowers, and they also bring higher river levels. High water levels create faster and even more exciting rafting adventures. The showers that tend to pop up at this time of year also feel pretty fantastic when you’re floating down the river, whereas showers on a hot summer day can make you feel hot and sticky.

What are you waiting for? Spring will be over before you know it. Book your spring whitewater rafting adventure today, and enjoy all that the river and this beautiful season have the offer!