Horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular activities in this great national park. It’s adventurous, scenic and a great alternative to your usual way of exploring.
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Besides stunning hiking trails, never-ending views and lush forests, there are extraordinary opportunities for scenic horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. It’s one of the best ways to explore and find new and amazing wonders that are waiting for you.
Horseback Riding near Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a great choice to stay while visiting the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s also the perfect base for enjoying horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. If you have experience riding, you could try out some popular trails on your own or take a guided tour.
There are some great multi-use trails that you can read about here.
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Meigs Mountain Trail
Distance: 9.2 miles
Elevation: 1,500 feet
This horseback riding trail in the Smoky Mountains is a wonderful route to experience. The path is moderate to easy and will give you the perfect opportunity to see gorgeous wildflowers during spring and summer.
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Appalachian Trail: Newfoundland Gap to Davenport Gap
Distance: 30 miles
Elevation: 5,700 feet
If you are an avid and experienced rider, then this is an exhilarating trail not to be missed. This point-to-point route offers you stunning views and an unforgettable horseback riding experience in the Smoky Mountains. You’ll pass beautiful wildflowers fields and plenty of spots to camp. It’s also frequented by runners, backpackers and hikers throughout the year.
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Grapeyard Ridge Trail to Campsite 32 Via Roaring Fork
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation: 2,100 feet
Take a ride through lush woods, fields of wildflowers and stunning views in this horseback riding trail in the Smoky Mountains. The route leads up to a wonderful campsite which is the perfect stop for you on this ride. This path is frequented by hikers and backpackers too.
Stables near Gatlinburg
If you are a beginner and prefer a guided tour, you can check out either the Smoky Mountain Riding Stables and Sugarlands Riding Stables.
The Smoky Mountain Riding Stables is authorized by the National Park Service and offers rides that take you through streams and lush woods as you explore the beautiful Smokies.
You can also go with Sugarlands Riding Stables, where you can choose the length of your riding adventure. You can pick lengths from 4 miles up to 15 miles, depending on what suits your riding skills.
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Horseback Riding in Townsend
Townsend is another popular place to stay when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Indian Flat Falls via Middle Prong Trail
Distance: 8.2 miles
Elevation: 1,200 feet
This is a popular trail, and you’ll find plenty of hikers and backpackers, especially on weekends. It’s one of the most scenic trails to try when horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. There’s even a fabulous waterfall where you can stop.
Rich Mountain Loop Trail
Distance: 8.3 miles
Elevation: 1,990 feet
Pass by a beautiful waterfall, dense forest and picturesque views on this horseback riding trail in the Smoky Mountains. The loop gets busy on weekends and holidays, so be sure to get there early to avoid too many hikers.
Rocky Top from Lead Cove Trailhead
Elevation: 3,900 feet
This trail can be done from March to November and offers you the perfect opportunity to see wildflowers in bloom. The route is excellent for horseback riding, and you’ll have great views of the Smoky Mountains.
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Stables near Townsend
Beginners can check out the Next to Heaven Ranch, which offers unguided horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains.
You can also check out the Davy Crocket Riding Stables, which offers shorter guided rides that are perfect for beginners.
Horseback Riding near Bryson City and Cherokee
Bryson City and Cherokee are the perfect places to start your journey into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from North Carolina.
There are plenty of well-placed trails for hikers, backpackers and riders alike that can either be done in one day or over several. Some of these trails even lead to the Tennessee side of the park and across the famous Appalachian Trail.
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Deep Creek Loop
Distance: 5 miles
Located near Bryson City, this trail is the ideal place to try out horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. The route is easy and well maintained and can be accessed throughout the year.
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Smokemont Loop Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation: 1,400 feet
This scenic loop is located near Cherokee. The trail is well-maintained and is surrounded by lush forest. On the way, there is a small path that leads off to an old cemetery that is worth a stop. This route is popular with riders, hikers and campers.
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Deep Creek to Clingmans Dome Trail
Distance: 35 miles
This multi-day route should only be attempted by riders with the appropriate experience. There are no trail markers, but the path itself is quite distinct and easy to follow.
There is plenty to see including creeks, forests, and beautiful landscapes that you can only expect in the Smoky Mountains. Be sure to check what permits you need for the campgrounds, and be mindful of bears. This is also one of the best trails to reach Clingmans Dome.
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Stables near Bryson City
There are several stables where you can stay with your horses or get guided horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains.
The Deep Creek Horse Camp is a great place to stay if you’re visiting with your own horse. They offer stables and accommodation. Deep Creek is perfectly situated to try out the best routes in the area.
Smokemont Riding Stables are a great place to try out guided horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. You can enjoy the best of the park with a guide that beginners and experienced riders can enjoy.
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