Ride Review: Smoky Mountain River Rampage

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.

Insider Tip

I love that Dollywood has cubbies and lockers around the park to store items and refillable mugs while on the rides. The Smoky Mountain River Rampage has lockers available right at the entrance/exit of the ride. I would recommend using them if you have items that you want to keep dry!

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!

Insider Tip

The Smoky Mountain River Rampage is a popular ride, especially during those hot summer days. I’d suggest getting a Dollywood TimeSaver to avoid standing a long line.

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.

Insider Tip

Want to know when to ride? So, here’s what my crew likes to do—we usually make this the first and last ride of the day. That way if we get soaked during the day, we dry off pretty fast from walking to the next roller coaster. If we get wet as we’re leaving, we head straight back to the resort for a change of clothes!

If you really just don’t want to get wet, wear a poncho! I’ve seen it done, but beware, you may get some laughs coming your way!

By | 2021-09-07T17:01:31+00:00 May 24th, 2021|Attractions|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jeremy Chandler (Dollywood Insider 2019-2021) was born in the "bluegrass state," but has lived most of his life in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. As the creative director for a church and academy, he enjoys writing, graphic and web design and creating stories that inspire and encourage others. His frequent trips to the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood specifically, recharge his creative energy and inspires his writing. Jeremy leads a singles ministry at his church (tbcnow.org) and enjoys time spent with his small group. He loves to read and believes in the value of investing in others. His greatest passions, however, are his amazing family, deep-rooted faith and best friends.
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