As warmer air begins to drift into longer days, you will certainly find me floating down the river as often as I can. And by river, I am referring to the Smoky Mountain River Rampage ride at Dollywood, of course. To me, it’s the most peaceful and scenic way to enjoy a bouncy battle with the river’s tide. You will notice when standing in the queue line that there are a few subtle signs that caution, “You will get wet!”—and trust me, you will! Each ride on this attraction is different so expect anything from a splash to a soak! But don’t let a little mountain water scare you; even Dollywood’s Dreamer-in-Chief rode the ride (once) when it opened in 1986.
Here’s why this is one of my favorite summer rides: Last summer I was riding with my crew to cool off from a warm day of chasing wild eagles, and hot-rodding at the speed of lightning (that’s coaster talk for the non-thrill readers), when all of the sudden, from up above, came a downpour of water rolling over a rock structure right into our tube of laughing and screaming family members. Each tube holds up to six riders, and since there were 12 in my group, we filled two tubes. I thought it was kind of strange that my clan got soaked, but the others behind us just got a slight spritz. So, naturally, I insisted that we ride again to prove that the rapids are random and not out for revenge. What happened? You guessed it – my tube – soaked, the others, merely splashed. To this day, we blame it on Brody, who as a child was scared of getting wet, but as a teen, embraces the thrill.
Are we going to chance the Rampage again this summer? You bet! A little Smoky Mountain water is good for the soul, and so many great memories are made through laughter and hollers on the river!
The Smoky Mountain River Rampage is located right in the middle of Rivertown Junction and is comparable to a whitewater rafting experience. Stretches of peaceful raft-floating quickly turn into thrilling twists and turns, and no two rides are the same since the rapids control the adventure.