By Jim Watson

The heat index is soaring, and the humidity makes even a short trip outside feel like you’ve stepped into a sauna. From Chicago to Miami, folks are looking for ways to stay cool this summer. Sounds like a perfect reason to plan a whitewater rafting trip in the mountains of Tennessee.

The Splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains

There are lots of ways to enjoy the glorious scenery that surrounds Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. Hiking trails crisscross the mountains and scenic turnouts line the roads and highways. You can even ride the aerial tram up to Ober Gatlinburg for a breathtaking view from the top.

But if you want to really experience nature while putting a little excitement into your vacation, there’s no better choice than a whitewater rafting trip.

Your rafting adventure will carry you through miles of unspoiled wilderness where the air is scented with wildflowers and traffic noise is replaced by the non-stop twitter of birds. Overhead, a brilliant blue sky unmarred by smog or pollution peeks through the canopy of emerald green and is reflected in the crystal clear waters of a Tennessee river.

Maneuver your raft through a series of twisting, turning rapids and you’ll soon forget the heat of summer as the cool water cascades over you. Later, you’ll have a chance to dry off when you stop for a picnic lunch along the shore. Find a flat rock and spread out to relax for a few minutes before you’re off again to enjoy the amazing beauty that greets you around every bend of the river.

The Perfect Trip No Matter Your Age or Skill Level

Don’t worry if you’re not a pro. The area offers plenty of whitewater packages tailored to your skill level. Choose a leisurely afternoon floating serenely along a quiet river with just a few waves along the way, or go for a non-stop thrill ride packed with Class IV rapids and hardly a pause to catch your breath. Either way, you’ll have world-class guides on hand to show you the ropes and help make your adventure a vacation memory you’ll treasure.

If you’re traveling with young children – or if you just prefer a more laid-back experience – consider a kayaking trip instead. You’ll paddle along a lazy river, keeping an eye out for the deer and other wildlife that make their homes near the water’s edge. Be sure to bring your camera along, because you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get some spectacular shots of the local wildflowers.

There might be other ways to beat the heat this summer, but you won’t find any that offer the beautiful scenery and heart-pounding adventure of a whitewater rafting trip in Pigeon Forge, TN. Hundreds of miles of pristine wilderness, the cool shade of the deep forest, and the clear waters of a mountain stream all combine for a vacation that will leave every member of your family wishing for more.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Watson is Owner of Timbercreek Cabins offering lodging near Pigeon Forge. Cabin rentals are now available. Visit http://www.timbercreekcabins.com today for a complete listing of cabin rentals. © 2012, All Rights Reserved