Skip to main content

What should I bring with me while rafting?

Only bring along items that you and your party are ok with the idea of potentially losing and/or getting wet.  Items such as wallets, watches, jewelry, cell phones, etc, are strongly discouraged from being taken down the river. We do strongly recommend bringing any medication you may possibly need, our guides will have a safe place to store medication.  Each of our rafting locations is remote and sometimes inaccessible, so medication we would rather have and not need than need and not be able to gain timely access to. We also recommend bringing water bottles, sunscreen, and a positive attitude. Prior to departure, you will be provided with a secure location to leave vehicle keys. Valuables, dry clothing, and towels are recommended to be left in your vehicle, which you will be able to quickly access at the end of your experience.

On which rivers do you offer guided tours?

We offer tours on sections of the Watauga and Nolichucky rivers, which allows us to offer a variety of high-quality experiences to suit adventurers of all ages, sizes, and abilities.

Does Hawksnest possess permits to take people rafting?

Yes, we are fully permitted, licensed, and insured. The U.S.F.S. and Unicoi County permit our whitewater rafting; we are legally allowed to operate on the Watagua and Nolichucky rivers.

What is the best season to go rafting?

Our rafting season runs from April to October. From the early Dogwood and Serviceberry blooms and Springtime water levels to the lush greens, wildflowers galore, and pleasant days of summer to that first tinge of crispness combined with the explosion of color in the fall, we feel that each of these seasons offers a unique backdrop to explore Appalachia. You and your group should come and check us out during each season!

Is rafting safe?

Whitewater rafting is a high-adventure, participatory activity that encompasses inherent risks. As a licensed and professional outfitter, we operate in a manner that reduces and manages these inherent risks as much as possible. We proudly employ a staff of experienced, seasoned, and skilled guides, van drivers, and trip leaders to ensure a memorable and, most importantly, safe experience for all our participants.

Does every raft have a guide?

Yes, each raft will be outfitted with its own qualified and competent guide. We are proud and privileged to be surrounded by the caliber of staff who work for us, in fact, many of our guides have been guiding for decades.

Can I request a guide?

Yes, when making your reservation, you can request a specific guide. Our customer service team will do our best to accommodate those requests. Please keep in mind that your favorite guide may already be requested or have other commitments, so make your reservation as early as possible to increase your chances of getting the guide you prefer.  Keep in mind that all of our guides are exceptional, and each offers a unique experience, so give them all a try!

Does weather affect bookings?

Our river tours run rain or shine.  Rainy days are some of our favorites, these mountains look great with a cloak of low-lying mist on them.  Our Watauga River experience is dam-controlled, so the water levels are always regulated.  The Nolichucky River tour is free-flowing, so the water level fluctuates based on rainfall, and higher flows mean bigger waves.

Can I go rafting with Medical conditions?

Most likely.  When making your reservation, please make sure to inform our customer service team of any pertinent medical conditions within your group so our river operations staff can be prepared and will be able to make appropriate accommodations.  For significant conditions (pregnancy, major physical/cognitive limitations), we would encourage potential participants to seek the advice of a medical professional.   We are able to accommodate most conditions, but keep in mind that rafting can be a high-adventure participatory experience. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call at (828)963-6561.

Can I raft if I can’t swim?

While being able to swim may be helpful, it is not a requirement. On all of our rafting adventures, clients will be issued and fitted for a commercial Class V flotation device (PFD or Lifejacket), which is designed to float participants upright. We encourage weak or non-swimmers to inform their trip leader and/or guide staff so we can better accommodate them.

Does Hawksnest offer other outdoor adventures?

Yes! From March to November, we offer zipline tours at our home base in Seven Devils, NC. From December to March, we also offer one of the top-rated snowtubing experiences in our local area.