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At Cherokee Rapids, we take you two miles up the Oconaluftee River and you float back to us and your car, no waiting on a bus to come pick you up.  You can stay out as long as you want while enjoying the beautiful scenery, type I/II rapids, amazing swimming holes and a very popular rope swing.    

STEP 1:  Park towards the back of the Little Princess Restaurant parking lot (1697 Acquoni Road).

STEP 2:  Visit us at the Cherokee Rapids booth (in the same parking lot, by the bridge).  

STEP 3:  Pay $14, sign waiver, get life jacket (if needed), get on bus.

We take care of everything else.  And again, you float right back to us and your car. 


Every year, Cherokee Rapids is one of the best and least expensive familiy activites in Cherokee and the Smoky Mountains. Your $14 per person cost includes tube rental, transportation up the river and life jacket (upon request). Cherokee Rapids continues to be a leader in fun, family activities and one of the most popular ways to spend several hours in beautiful Cherokee, NC! 

Hours / Days of Operation

We are open daily from Memorial Day weekend to August 18, 2024 and then open on weekends through Labor Day weekend. Our hours of operation are from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily.

Ages / Restrictions

Cherokee Rapids number one concern is for the safety of you and your family.  That being said, children under 5 years old are not able to float with us.  It is simply not worth risking the safety of a small child to float the type I/II Oconaluftee River. We appreciate your understanding and value your safety over everything.  For additional restrictions, please view our waiver.

Big Cove Route

This is by far the most popular route and longest trip in Cherokee. All aboard our bus as we drive you two miles up Big Cove Road for a relaxing, fun-filled float down the Oconaluftee River. This trip is all nature, floating you through numerous swimming holes, fun rapids, an awesome rope swing and more. Usually a two-hour float time (depending on water conditions), but feel free to get out and play... you’re done when you float back to us (and your car). See map


Groups of 15 or more receive $2 off per person. Also, as a way of saying thank you, police, military active duty and veterans (must show valid ID) also receive $2 off.

Season long promotion: Ride again the same day for 1/2 price (second ride = $7).  Holiday weekends and other exclusions may apply, see ticket booth for daily availability.

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