Category Archives: Rafting

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!

Choose Your Own Adventure with Rolling Thunder Before Season Ends!

Choose Your Own Adventure with Rolling Thunder Before Season Ends!

Come explore the deep valleys of Appalachia and raft the most renowned rapids of the Southeastern part of the country. Discover why millions are attracted to this region every year.

Ocoee:  Choose a Half Day or a Full Day Adventure

With two separate “hang onto your helmet” sections of surging whitewater, the Ocoee River produces the most continuous stretch of class III and IV rapids of any river in the country. The Ocoee River’s Olympic Class white water rafting is the perfect way to get your adrenaline rushing. Choose a single section (Upper or Middle) for a half day adventure (total time of three and a half hours with an hour and half to an hour and forty-five minutes on the river) or choose both sections (on selected days) for a full day of fun (approximately five to six hours total, with three hours on the river).

Nantahala:  Choose Between Multiple Raft Types and Guided/Non-Guided Trips

Featuring over 20 named whitewater rapids like Root Canal, the Isle of Dumping, and Tumble Dry; the feisty Nantahala River is a particular favorite of families with younger children and beginners. You can choose from several guide and rafting options on this river. Raft with Guide guarantees a guide in your raft, Guide Assisted (or Follow A Guide) lets you captain your own raft but enjoy the extra confidence of having one of our guides nearby in case you encounter any kind of difficulty, and Non-guided allows experienced rafters to handle their own rafts with no assistance from us. You can also experience the Nantahala River with various raft types: single, double, or HyPro Funyaks (duckies); single or double sit-on-top kayaks, and self-bailing or Mini Me rafts.

Toccoa: Choose the 1.5 Mile Tubing, Canoe, or Kayak Trip or the 6 Mile Canoe or Kayak Trip

Toccoa River tubing, kayaking, and canoeing are perfect float trips for families with children too young for whitewater rafting. We offer a 1.5-mile float for Toccoa River tubing and a 1.5 mile or 6 mile trip for canoes and kayaks. Our colorful inner tubes (black gets too hot in the sun) provide a cool and refreshing way to have fun and relax on a hot summer day on the Toccoa River. If you prefer to do some paddling, you can also try our canoes or “Funyaks” which are inflatable one person or two person boats.

At Rolling Thunder River Company we have been a safety conscious provider of high quality river adventures since 1977. Check availability or make your reservation online for your Ocoee, Nantahala, or Toccoa River adventure today! Book NOW, Season ends September 30!

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!

Rolling Thunder River Company is Ready for Your Group Rafting Trip

Are you looking for a fun, challenging, and incredible outdoor experience for your group this summer? Come to Rolling Thunder River Company to experience the unique camaraderie that only develops on a river rafting trip.

Want to Stay Overnight? Check Out Our Bunkhouses Located at our Nantahala Rafting Center

Over the years, Rolling Thunder’s bunkhouses have been a popular choice for numerous church retreats, Scout outings, family reunions, and a variety of other groups looking to extend their rafting trip overnight. Nestled in the trees behind our Nantahala rafting center, our dormitory style bunkhouses sleep up to 60 people and feature a large adjacent bath house. Each bunkhouse is divided into smaller private sleeping rooms with built-in bunk beds and they are equipped with communal full service kitchens and outside grills to make food preparation simple for groups of any size. Groups can “sleep cheap” in our bunkhouses with rates ranging from $10 to $12 per person per night. Stay one night or stay a week!

Other Nearby Activities and Conveniences

There are numerous other activities and convenience within minutes of our property so you can stay as busy as you like. In addition to river rafting, your group can:

  • hike, bike, or walk an amazing array of mountain trails
  • swim in beautiful mountain lakes
  • enjoy a picnic
  • do some bird watching
  • go on educational and inspirational excursions

Great Group Rafting and Lodging Deals

We offer several ways groups can save money on their trip to Rolling Thunder.

  • Rafting groups of 10 or more can receive discounted rafting and lodging rates.
  • Groups can save if they visit during the week instead of the weekend.
  • Groups receive off-season rates when visiting before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.
  • Groups rafting both rivers during the same week can get discounted rates.
  • Groups of 15 or more rafters can spend ONE night in our bunkhouse FREE on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of any week. Space is limited so don’t wait too long to take advantage of this opportunity!*

Our Professional, Knowledgeable, and Friendly Staff

The sheer logistics of getting large groups on the river and off in a smooth and organized manner takes a great deal of experience and precision teamwork. Rolling Thunder has perfected this process during our 40+ years of business. We are a family owned and operated company of highly skilled outdoor professionals who look forward to sharing our love of these majestic mountains and its incredible rivers with your group. Contact us to book your rafting and lodging reservations today.

  • *The free Bunkhouse on weeknights offer is only for guided or guide assisted trips not rental.

Take Advantage of Preseason Deals at Rolling Thunder River Company

Beat the crowd! Come rafting with Rolling Thunder River Company during the month of May before the rivers are flooded with rafters and take advantage of our special preseason savings.

Nantahala River Experience

Nantahala River rafting trips are considered “mild to moderate” adventure level, making them perfect for families with children (7+ years) and beginning rafters. Each trip runs the full length of the river (8 miles through scenic Nantahala National Forest) and averages around three and a half hours with about two hours spent on the river. You will raft through calm spells of sparkling flat water, over 20 named whitewater rapids, and often experience a mystical fog created when the cold water of the Nantahala River meets the warm air. Why not make your rafting adventure a full outdoor experience? Our Nantahala rafting center features a family oriented campground with pea gravel tent sites, a bathhouse, picnic tables, and fire pits. We also have a large bunkhouse which sleeps up to 72 people and has a full kitchen—perfect for groups! If you are looking for more traditional accommodations, many cabins, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels are also located nearby.

Book your family friendly Nantahala rafting adventure during the month of May and take advantage of preseason pricing. Plus, all necessary equipment, transportation to and from the river, rain jackets (if needed) and all taxes and river fees are included in the price! We are open daily, so visit us now and beat the crowds!

Ocoee White Water Adventure

The whole world watched the ancient Ocoee River in action when it was chosen as the venue for the whitewater events of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Now you can experience this rowdy, romping, rollicking ride for yourself. 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! Half day and full day trips are available and our Ocoee rafting center is just 15 minutes from Blue Ridge, GA where you will find an abundance of restaurants and lodging.

The legendary Ocoee River attracts hundreds of thousands of rafters each season. Beat the crowds by booking your Ocoee rafting adventure during the month May to take advantage of preseason pricing. Plus, all necessary equipment, transportation to and from the river, rain jackets (if needed) and all taxes and river fees are included in the price!

Rolling Thunder River Company

Since 1977, over a million guests have chosen and trusted Rolling Thunder River Company to provide them with memorable river trips. We have earned our stellar reputation by being a safety conscious provider of high quality river adventures. Join us for a May family or group adventure on the famous Ocoee and Nantahala Rivers before the height of the summer season arrives! Contact us today!

How a Whitewater Rafting Adventure Will Benefit Your Health

How Rafting Can Benefit Your HealthWe all know how important it is to stay active. Partaking in different activities like jogging and bike riding are well known for boosting your health. But did you know that whitewater rafting can also benefit your health? Here are a few reasons that heading out onto the river will do a lot to help you get in shape.

You’re Working Out

Other than trekking to your location to go whitewater rafting, you’ll also find that the actual activity is great exercise. You’re working out the muscles in your arms and core and getting your heart and lungs active. Meanwhile, you’ll be burning calories.

You’re Breathing Fresh Air

The air near rivers tends to be much cleaner because of the mountains and thousands of trees surrounding them. You won’t get fresh air like this when you’re in the city. Getting a chance to breathe in unpolluted oxygen can be great for your entire body.

You’re Relieving Stress

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life can be a relief for a lot of people. Taking time to do something that is fun and relaxing can be the key to reducing built up stress. It’s also been found that doing activities that induce adrenaline can help boost endorphins, the chemical in your body responsible for happiness!

Nature has always been a healthy treat for the human body. Getting away from the pollution, stress, and bad habits associated with your city or suburban life can be a big plus for your health. Find a whitewater rafting getaway to get in shape or stay in shape this year!

If you’re interested in Ocoee river rafting, you can schedule a fun and healthy adventure with Rolling Thunder River Company. For rafting in Santa Fe NM or an exciting Taos rafting adventure, you can take a guided trip with New Mexico River Adventures. Plan your trip 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.

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!