There Used To Be a Huge Slide in Pigeon Forge Called the Water Boggan

water boggan blue and yellow slide - old attraction in pigeon forge tn

The Water Boggan was open in the 70s and 80s in Pigeon Forge TN (photo shared with permission from OldGatlinburg.net)

Local reminisces on old Water Boggan attraction in Pigeon Forge

As an East Tennessee local, I’ve seen plenty of Pigeon Forge attractions that have come and gone. Some were products of the time period. It was the 70s and 80s. If you could talk someone into financing it, you could make it a reality. I think, looking back, not every attraction had to be high concept. Sometimes all you needed was a hill, some water and enough affordable building material to create a slide and let gravity do its work.

The Water Boggan was a huge concrete slide attraction based in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was a popular attraction in the 70s and 80s. It was 1,000 feet long and remembered as being a bit “rough” for most guests. It likely was driven out of business by other attractions like Ogles Waterpark.

Welcome, my friends, to Water Boggan in Pigeon Forge, a twin-flume giant water slide totaling more than 1,000 feet of slippery concrete based on the alpine toboggan flumes of Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia or Liechtenstein. The brochure was vague on the inspiration. But the idea is money, baby. You could have relatively low overhead, maybe a little high on the insurance, but this was the 80s. Insurance may have been a 50/50 proposition. 

What happened to the Water Boggan? 

Well, I like to think it was an inconsistent capitalization in their marketing materials. Was it Water Boggan, water boggan or WaterBoggan? The world may never know. No, what likely took Water Boggan down was the fact that 70s and 80s business people thought concrete was a perfectly acceptable surface for nearly nude people to go a-sliding on. “Even with the water, it’s a little rough.” “Ok. We’ll give them foam rubber mats. It will be fine. Put some Bactine on the boy and send him back up the hill.” 

Entry into the slides – which were obviously engineered by well-trained professionals and not someone with an Etch A Sketch – did at least come with a super useful foam rubber mat. But woe was coming for any slider who lost track of their mat in one of the seven “breathtaking turns” or the 360-degree loop (horizontal, not vertical). You’d reach the bottom, bruised and battered, floating in a three-foot deep, climate-controlled pool filled with water. But don’t worry, that water was so chlorinated you were two steps away from bathing in bleach.

kid slides down water boggan in pigeon forge tn
Two onlookers watch the action from the nearby picnic tables (photo shared with permission from OldGatlinburg.net)

When did the Water Boggan close?

There’s not a lot of information left on Water Boggan, so the exact year it closed is unclear. There are a few old brochures, but even they are bare bones. There’s only so much you can say about a pair of concrete water slides. After the two slides, the chief enticements the marketing geniuses could come up with were changing rooms, a bathhouse and free parking.

water boggan in pigeon forge brochure
Images from the brochure advertise the two slides with changing rooms, a bath house and free parking (photo shared with permission from OldGatlinburg.net)

Where is the Water Boggan in Pigeon Forge today?

Billed as being just five minutes from Gatlinburg at the Pigeon Forge city limits, Water Boggan is long gone. In its place sets a series of rental cabins for camping. Though it isn’t immediately evident what caused Water Boggan’s demise, I assume Ogle’s Water Park, with its fancy wave pool and smooth, fiberglass slides, cut significantly into Water Boggan’s market share. Also, here’s a big thank you to OldGatlinburg.net for permission to use these photos of the Water Boggan. For even more photos, be sure to visit them online.

Do you remember the Water Boggan? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at info@thesmokies.com.

instagram
tiktok
youtube
flipboard

Disclosure: We have used and experienced all the products and activities recommended on The Smokies. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products and experiences featured.

19 thoughts on “There Used To Be a Huge Slide in Pigeon Forge Called the Water Boggan”

    • Funny, I worked @ the 2nd one
      Mr. Dwight built in Myrtle-Beach S.C.
      Circa 1976′. I was in the U.S.A.F. and stationed there. -What a “Blast”!!
      Sure miss those “Daze”.
      -Marshall Chilton.

      Reply
  1. I do remember Water Boggan…it was a blast! Just great memories for me, no scrapes, bruises or broken bones.

    Reply
  2. I was on the water bogan more than once. Had a great time in spite of the it’s and scratches

    Reply
  3. Yes!! The only problem was you couldn’t take your shoes down the slide. So you had to run back up on 100 degree concrete. I had blisters all over my feet. They are still really tender today.

    Reply
  4. I once went to a business picnic at a perk with a concrete water slide. As a former EMT, I grabbed my bag from my car and spent several hours patching up kids with scrapes.

    Reply
  5. I remember my brother and cousin riding this all day. There thought was if you didn’t come away with some bumps, cuts, or bruises it wasn’t a fun day. LOL

    Reply
  6. I had sure a rich childhood going to pigeon forge in the seventies. The slide was one of my favorite rides ….of course I hit the bottom one time minus a top🙄

    Reply
  7. Orville Reagan owned the Water Boggin. Sometimes after it closed he would turn off the water and let us slide. That made it super fast!

    Reply
  8. This was easily one of my families favorite pigeon Forge destinations in the 70s, along with, I think it was called… Magic Mountain? It had a big flying saucer

    I thought a waterslide dug into the side of a hill was genius—we had several hot days spent there and I don’t remember being all cut and scraped up at the end of the day.… Even if you did sometimes lose your foam mat

    Maybe somebody can help me remember the name of the place with the big flying saucer, was it Magic Mountain?

    Reply
  9. I remember riding this water slide with my brother all day long. We were about 7 and 8 years old in the 70s. We had so much fun. We’ve never seen a water slide before. We ran up those concrete steps and went sliding down over and over for hours. Our little butts and legs were tore up. There was so much freedom and not having to use a mat or wait in lines. My brother recently died at the age of 54. This is one of the best memories I’ve had on my childhood with him.

    Reply
  10. I remember this so well.I have tried explaining it to my son, now 26. But this was by far my most fond memories of coming to the smokies when I was a kid. I remember several of these. But we always stayed at a hotel that had one behind it.

    Reply
  11. This brought back some good memories of mine and my brother’s childhood. They used to be another waterside that was yellow. It was around 3 bears gift Store.Does anybody remember the yellow water slide

    Reply
    • I thought this was that. Did they repaint it at some point? Now my memories are confused I thought my brother and I rode this as kids and it was the Waterboggan, the only one. The mystery deepens.

      Reply

Leave a Comment