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Tubing requires little skill beyond the ability to let yourself float down a river and can be done at almost any age. Little River is the most popular tubing river on the west side of the Smokies. It flows east to west from its headwaters in the park through the town of Townsend. The Little River is mostly flat water (Class I), with a few mild Class II rapids. Although you can tube on the Little River within the park, several outfitters in Townsend rent tubes and life jackets and provide shuttle buses or vans that drop you at an entry point from which you can float a mile or two downriver to the outfitter's store. Expect to pay from $8 to $13 per person, which includes a full day's tube and life-jacket rental plus unlimited use of the shuttle. Kayak rentals are also offered by some outfitters. Typically the cost is $15 for the kayak rental and the first shuttle trip, and $5 each for additional shuttle trips. Outfitters are generally open May-September or October.
River Rage. Here you'll find inner tubes available for rent on the Little River, a go-kart track, and a barbecue restaurant. One-day tube and life-vest rental and all-day shuttle service is $9. 8303 Hwy. 73, Townsend, TN, 37882. 865/448-8000. www.riverragetubing.com.
Smoky Mountain River Rat. This outfitter offers tubing and kayaking on the Little River and white-water rafting on the Pigeon River during warm-weather months. Tube rental, life jacket, and all-day shuttle is $13. Kayak rental is $15 for first trip down the river and $5 for each additional trip. 205 Wears Valley Rd., Townsend, TN, 37882. 865/448-8888. www.smokymtnriverrat.com. Closed Sept.-Apr.
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