Of all the ways to explore the NC Great Smoky Mountains, few are as exciting as on horseback.
At the Smokemont Riding Stable, you can choose your ride from 10 different adventures featuring beautiful trails, waterfalls, and/or historic landmarks. Rest assured, the health and happiness of the horses are of utmost concern to the owners, switching out horses for rest periods between rides and pasture time. Here are some of our favorite rides.
The Waterfall Ride
This 2.5-hour ride travels along mountain streams until you reach the Chasteen Creek Waterfall click here to see the video. You will be given about 15 minutes to dismount and explore the waterfall before completing your journey back to the stables. They offer morning, noon, and afternoon start times to fit conveniently into your vacation schedule. ($100 per rider)
The Oconaluftee River Trail
Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park like the Cherokee People. This 3-mile-long roundtrip adventure follows the Oconaluftee River, passing through a landmark tunnel and over a rushing creek. You’ll ride by the Mountain Farm Museum, featuring log houses, an authentic barn, smokehouse, spring house, a working blacksmith shop, and a living display of early farm life. Watch the creek-crossing video here. ($40/hr. per rider)
Newfound Gap rises to the astounding elevation of 5,046 feet (almost a mile high) and offers incomparable long-range views. Riders will climb over 3,000 feet through Cove Hardwood, Pine-Oak, and Northern Hardwood forests. Of course, this means you’ll be experiencing temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands, so dress accordingly. Layering is highly recommended. Visitors can even stand at the very spot where Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940.
If horseback riding through the beautiful Smoky Mountains is something you can’t get enough of, you can book a 4-hour ride along a wooded mountain trail alongside 2 cascading waterfalls and miles of Creekside nature. ($160 per rider)
The horse-drawn wagon travels down the Old Turnpike Road, alongside the Oconaluftee River. Along the way, travelers will pass fields that host many species of wildlife, and guides will narrate historical information along the way. Departure times are hourly from 10:45 to 3:45, so scheduling a wagon ride is effortless. ($20 per rider)
Insider Tip: Some riders are limited by their age (under 5 years old) or their weight (over 240 pounds), but the wagon ride has no limits, and the pioneering fun is non-stop!)