Tubing in Smoky Mountain National Park offers families a delightful blend of adventure and relaxation.

As a family of adventurers, we want to explore the tubing wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, discovering the perfect balance between excitement and tranquility.

Before going, we did some research, gathering exhilarating experiences and insider tips for the ultimate family tubing getaway.

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River Tubing in Smoky Mountain National Park

A tubing journey can begin in Pigeon Forge, a bustling gateway to the Smokies, and Bryson City, a charming town surrounded by the majestic mountains.

These locations served as our starting points for some unforgettable river tubing escapades.

Equipped with life jackets and inner tubes, courtesy of the friendly rental companies in the area, you will be ready for a family-friendly float.

You’ll tube down the cool waters of the upper sections of renowned rivers like Little Pigeon River and Oconaluftee River.

Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of river tubing season. You can hop onto shuttle buses at Indian Creek for an adventure float that is nothing short of spectacular.

The bouncy ride down the rivers on a hot summer day is the best part, providing thrilling moments for the whole family.

Top 5 Places for River Tubing

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers several fantastic river tubing spots, each with its own unique charm and scenery.

While tubing is not allowed directly within the national park, there are excellent tubing opportunities in the surrounding areas.

Here are the top five places for river tubing near the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. Deep Creek Area:

Located just outside the national park in Bryson City, North Carolina, the Deep Creek area offers tubing on the lower section of the Little River.

The tubing experience here is family-friendly, with a half-mile stretch providing a perfect combination of a relaxing float trip and a bit of excitement.

2. Oconaluftee River:

Running along the outskirts of the national park, the Oconaluftee River provides tubing opportunities near Cherokee, North Carolina.

Tube rentals and shuttle services are often available, making it easy for families to enjoy a bouncy ride down the river on hot summer days.

3. Little Pigeon River – Townsend:

The town of Townsend, near the park’s entrance, is a gateway to the peaceful upper sections of the Little Pigeon River.

Tubing companies in Townsend offer rentals and shuttle services, providing a serene tubing experience surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

4. Indian Creek – Gatlinburg:

Gatlinburg is another popular starting point for tubing adventures, with Indian Creek offering a refreshing tubing experience.

Tube rentals and shuttle buses are often available, and the riverside scenery adds to the enjoyment of the family-friendly float.

5. Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark – Gatlinburg:

While known for snow tubing in winter, Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark in Gatlinburg transforms into a thrilling tubing destination in the summer months.

With its unique tubing experiences on the upper river section, it provides an exciting alternative for tubing enthusiasts.

Remember to check with local outfitters for the most up-to-date information on tubing conditions, rentals, and shuttle services.

Each of these locations offers a different tubing experience, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your family’s preferences for adventure and scenery.


Snow Tubing in Smoky Mountain National Park

 For those seeking tubing thrills beyond the summer months, the Smoky Mountains offer a winter wonderland with snow tubing experiences. 

Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark transformed into a snowy paradise, offering the most thrilling deep creek tubing experiences on the upper river.

Rowdy Bear’s isn’t just about tubing; it also boasts the Ski Lift Shootout Coaster and the Avalanche Snow Coaster. This adds an extra layer of excitement to your tubing adventures.

The whole family will enjoy the most thrilling deep creek tubing, creating memories to last a lifetime.

Top 5 Snow Tubing Places Near the Park

Currently, there aren’t designated snow tubing areas directly within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are excellent snow tubing opportunities in the surrounding areas, particularly in the winter months when the Smoky Mountains receive a dusting of snow.

Here are some popular places for snow tubing around the Great Smoky Mountains:


1. Ober Gatlinburg – Gatlinburg, TN:

Ober Gatlinburg is a premier winter sports destination offering a variety of activities, including snow tubing.

With multiple lanes and a conveyor lift to take you back to the top, Ober Gatlinburg provides a thrilling snow tubing experience with beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains.

2. Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark – Gatlinburg, TN:

Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark is known for its snow tubing adventures during the winter months.

Experience the thrill of snow tubing on specially designed lanes, and enjoy the convenience of their tubing park in Gatlinburg.

3. Cataloochee Ski Area – Maggie Valley, NC:

While primarily a ski area, Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, also offers snow tubing.

This family-friendly resort provides a tubing hill where you can enjoy the excitement of sliding down the slopes.

4. Beech Mountain Resort – Beech Mountain, NC:

Beech Mountain Resort, located in North Carolina, features a tubing park that provides a mix of adventure and winter fun.

The resort offers a tubing hill with a magic carpet lift for easy access to the top.

5. Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center – Scaly Mountain, NC:

The Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center is located in North Carolina and is a popular destination for snow tubing.

With multiple lanes and a tow line to bring tubers back up the hill, it offers a great experience for families.

Always check with the respective venues for the latest information on snow conditions, tubing hours, and any age or height restrictions.

Additionally, since conditions and offerings may change, it’s a good idea to verify details closer to your planned visit.

Insider Tips for the Perfect Adventure

Plan Ahead for Tubing Season: Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend is prime river tubing season. Whereas, November through March is prime for snow tubing. Plan your adventure accordingly.

Pack Essentials: Bring sunscreen, water shoes, and bathing suits for river tubing. For snow tubing, wear your best snow gear for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Explore Nearby Spots: Venture to Cades Cove for scenic views and consider trying out snow tubing during the winter months.

Riverside Cabana Rentals: For a touch of luxury when river tubing, check out riverside cabana rentals along the Little River.

Safety First: When river tubing, ensure everyone wears a life vest, especially for the little ones, and follow U.S. Coast Guard guidelines. For snow tubing, always make sure your path doesn’t lead you to water.

Group Rates and Good Ideas: Check with tubing outfitters for group rates and get insider tips for the best tubing spots from locals.


Tubing in Smoky Mountain National Park is a great way to connect with the great outdoors and create lasting memories with your family.

Whether you’re navigating the rivers during the summer heat or enjoying the thrill of snow tubing in winter, the Smoky Mountains offer the perfect combination of adventure and natural beauty.

So, gear up, grab your tubes, and head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for an exciting family tubing extravaganza.

You’ll be counting down the days until your next tubing adventure in these picturesque mountains.

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

👉 Grab your FREE HIKING CHECKLIST before hitting the trails!

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