Know Before You Go
Facts & Info to Know Before You Go…
We are very glad you have chosen to spend your time in the Smokies tubing the Little River with us!
We offer both the upper section and lower sections of the Little River. The lower section, and main outpost, is our family-friendly float and features several rapids, scenic views, and even a rock jump! The lower outpost is ideal for ages two and up. If you have never tubed this river, we highly recommend starting on the lower route first. Then move to the upper section should you want a more adventurous rapid.
***Additional age restriction can apply with high water.
***Transportation to different outposts are not provided.
The upper section, location B, is what we like to call the “adventure float.” It features a scenic float with adrenaline-pumping rapids and cool, refreshing swimming holes. This route is a shorter float with less rapids. A person has a better chance of flipping off their tube on this route. If you have never tubed this river, please tube outpost A first.
Outpost B also offers a tube lift to bring your tube back from the river and private rental cabanas. See additional rental information on our rates page. The Outpost B is suitable for ages six and older. We do not rent tethers for this float. We also do not allow dogs on this float.
***Additional age restriction can apply with high water.
The following information will help answer many questions and expedite your check-in process.
If your question is not answered on this page please feel free to Contact Us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!
We hope you enjoy your day with us on the river!
Checking-In (Location A – Main Outpost) – 2 YRS +
Inside you will find the changing rooms and check-in desk. Our staff will assist you in signing the liability waiver and paying for your wristbands. Wristbands will be given to everyone 6 years and older and must be presented to get your tube and return shuttle. Life jackets, tube rental and shuttle service are all provided with a wristband. Wristbands are not required for children two to five years of age. Once you have taken care of your personal belongings and have your tube a staff member will direct you to the Rat Hole Tunnel. The tunnel leads you to the river and starting point.
Exiting The River – Main Outpost
You will exit the river at the concrete traffic bridge. You will see a river rat sign and large paved boat ramp on your left. This is the only exit for River Rat customers. Please do not get out of the water anywhere else. This is the only place our shuttles can come get you. Everything down river is private property. Please respect the home owners and other businesses by staying in the river. A shuttle will be waiting to take you back to the River Rat.
Checking-In (Location B – Upper Outpost) – 6 YRS +
** The rapids on this end of the river are more intense. If you have never tubed this river, we recommend starting at the main outpost, location A, and then moving to this end of the river.*** Keep in mind, this is a much smaller outpost. Inside you will find a check-in desk. Our staff will assist you in signing the liability waiver and paying for your wristbands. Life jackets, tube rental and shuttle service are all provided with a wristband. Changing rooms and a restroom are located behind the check-in office. Once you have taken care of your personal belongings and have your tube a staff member will direct you to the shuttle. You will be driven to the put-in which is located 1 miles up the street at the National Park line. From the put-in you will float back to the River Rat upper location B. Please note, the entrance to the river is steep and can be slick. We highly require protective footwear and caution when entering the river.
Exiting The River – Outpost B
You will exit the river on your left just past the private cabanas. You will see a river rat sign and tube lift. This is the only exit for River Rat customers. Please do not get out of the water anywhere else. This is the only place our shuttles can come get you. Everything down river is private property. Please respect the home owners and other businesses by staying in the river. A staff member will assist with your tube.
Don’t Forget You Can Go Again or Switch Tubing Locations!
Once you return to the River Rat you may go again FREE until daily last trip time or you can return your rental items, retrieve your belonging, and move your vehicle to the other tubing location. Remember, everyone 2 years and older are welcome at the main location A. However, only those tubers 6 years and older can tube the upper section, location B.
Dogs are welcome!!!
- Dogs tube for FREE at Outpost A
- We provide a tube for the dog
- Dog’s parents are encouraged to rent a tether for $2.00 if they want a separate tube for their pooch. This tether will connect the parent’s tube to the dog’s tube.
- It is best if the dog is under 60 lbs due to nails popping the tube.
- It is best if the dog is comfortable with water as they will get wet and they will go through rapids. If the dog is scared, he/she may pop the tube.
- We DO NOT provide dog life jackets
Please be respectful of property owners along the river. Do not allow your dog out of the water to walk along the property. Also, be respectful of our property. Please pick up after your dog if they use the potty on our lawn.
Family Float/Main Tubing Outpost A: Everyone must be at least 2 years of age to tube the river. There may be an age restriction to apply due to high-water levels. Check in with us for more information.
Adventure Float/Upper Little River Section Outpost B: Everyone must be at least 6 years of age to tube the river. There may be an age restriction to apply due to high-water levels. Check in with us for more information.
Average Trip Time
Family Float/Main Tubing Outpost A: The average trip time is 2 hours however; your trip time will vary depending on the water lever. The levels fluctuate daily, so please check the information board at the front desk. Adventure Float/Upper Little River Section Outpost B: The average trip time is 1 hour however; your trip time will vary depending on the water lever. The levels fluctuate daily, so please check the information board at the front desk.
Family Float/Main Tubing Outpost A: Free parking is provided in our 5 acre lot located behind the main entrance and retail shop. After parking gather your wallet and river attire. Proceed to the main building, entering through the back door near the restrooms. Adventure Float/Upper Little River Section Outpost B: Free parking is provided in our lot located behind the main entrance and retail shop. Please do not park beside the building or under the tube lift. After parking gather your wallet and river attire and proceed to the outpost to check-in.
After receiving your wristbands and signing the waiver you will take your belongings back to your car. Your car is your locker. Leave your belongings, dry change of clothes and towels in your locked car. Our staff will be happy to keep your keys at the Keyosk, or behind the front desk, while you are on the river. This is not required, only a free service we provide. Note: If you do not wish to leave your keys with our staff, please DO NOT take them on the river. It is very likely you will lose them. We do not recommend taking anything of value on the river.
Children 12 and under are required by US Coast Guard to wear a life jacket. You may use your own life jacket as long as it is coast guard approved. Adults – If you are a non-swimmer or not a strong swimmer you need to wear a life jacket. There are sections of the river, at both locations A & B, that will be well over your head.
We offer tubes with and without bottoms.
Tethering Tubes Together
The River Rat offers tethers to attach one tube to another. This is recommended when you are tubing with small children. We do not recommend more than two tubes tethered together. Please ask for a tether when paying for your wristbands. There is a $2.00 deposit for each tether. The $2.00 will be given back to you once the tether is returned to the front desk.
Tubing Safety Tips
Sit in the tube with your backside in the hole with your feet hanging over the front near the handles. Use your arms to paddle and direct your tube down river. Try to always looking down river while seated in your tube. Floating on your stomach is not recommended!
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen! It is recommended to apply sunscreen before each run down the river. If you forget to bring sunscreen we have some available in our gift shop.
The Little River is very rocky!!! We highly recommend wearing secure footwear, for your safety, while tubing down the river. If you forget to bring water shoes we have some available in our gift shop.
Items NOT Allowed
In order to keep our river clean and free from litter. Please do not bring the following items as we do not allow them on the river. Note: you may leave coolers in your vehicle for after the trip, they are just not allowed in the tubes or river.
- Glass Bottles
Forget something? Our gift shop offers towels, water shoes, sunscreen, and more just in case! The gift shop also offers souvenir t-shirts to commemorate your adventure with River Rat!
If you are looking to spend more time with us during your visit, we offer season passes as well as white water rafting. Make sure to ask a staff member for more information.
FOOD & DRINK
Family Float/Main Tubing Outpost A: Hungry or Thirsty? The Toobers Open Air Cafe has something for everyone! Try our awesome BBQ nachos, pizza, or hotdogs. And cool off with a slushie, soda, or ice cream. Adventure Float/Upper Little River Section Outpost B: The upper float is located next to famous Burger Master. The Burger Master is a must stop while in Townsend. You will enjoy the best burger and ice cream in the Smokies.