Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is exhilarating, with the expansive panoramic views, native plant and wildlife, spectacular creeks, rivers and ridgelines. However, you haven’t lived until you’ve ridden horseback through the lush forests of Western North Carolina.
Just past Bryson City and Cherokee, North Carolina, two horse stables offer this unique adventure with guided horse rides on the trails of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With their well-trained mounts and experienced guides, even the most inexperienced riders can enjoy themselves with confidence. Before long, any fears will subside as the majesty of the mountains becomes apparent.
At some point, most of the trails lead past fiddle-head fern groves and natural trout-laden rivers to points where riders can disembark for a short walk to view gently flowing waterfalls. Rides are available between one and four hours each day, while the more adventurous rider can enjoy an overnight camping trip that lasts between two to four days and explores deeper into the network of forest trails.
Located just off US 441 North within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, five minutes north of Cherokee, North Carolina, Smokemont Riding Stable offers a safe, fun, family friendly, horseback riding experience within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Elizabeth Burns Cook, Manager for more than 17 years, says her experienced mountain trail horses and friendly, knowledgeable guides help make Smokemont Stables a destination for truly enjoyable horseback riding. Groups are welcome, but please call for reservation or advance notice. Hourly rides feature wooded scenery and crossing the Oconaluftee River starting at $30 per rider.
The friendly, knowledgeable guides at Nantahala Village Riding Stables offer adventures into the Nantahala National Forest, which the Cherokee called “the Land of the Noonday Sun” for its abundant ridges and shadowy canopy covering. Owned and operated by the Loftis family for over thirty years, the stables is open from 9 am to 6 pm every day from March 15 50 November 1. Rides are scheduled at $22.00 per hour, per person and range from one hour to overnight camping trips.
If you have your own horses, the Great Smoky Mountains National park and Nantahala have enough trails that you can ride a different major trail nearly every day.
For more information about the trails in the area you can contact the Nantahala National Forest at 828-479-6431 or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 865-436-1231.
Smokemont Riding Stable
135 Smokemont Riding Stable Rd
Cherokee, NC 28719
Enjoy scenic guided horseback riding within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rides available for the beginner or experienced rider featuring wooded forests, wildflowers, river and waterfalls. An authorized concessioner of the National Park Service.
Nantahala Village Riding Stables
9400 Highway 19/74 West
Bryson City, NC 28713