Whether you’ve been riding for years or are in search of a new experience, Bryson City is the place to be for the perfect horseback riding experience. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is your playground for trotting along beautiful scenery, with 550 miles of trails to ride. Let’s saddle up and explore how to ride!

For the Colts and the Fillies:

Horseback Riding

First-timers and limited-experience riders can gallop on any of the area’s guided horseback riding tours. We have both the journey and the destination planned - all you have to do is relax and ride. Guided tours range in length and location so you can choose your perfect adventure, or try them all!

  1. Smokemont Riding Stables offers three different ride styles to fit into your itinerary.
    • For a quick trip, embark on the hourly rides featuring a 3-mile loop through Smokemont.
    • Looking for something refreshing? Try the waterfall ride for 2.5 hours, visiting Chasteen Creek Waterfall along your ride above Smokemont Campground. Slow and steady wins the scenic race on the four-hour ride on the wooded mountain trail. Trot for miles around creekside scenery and two cascades.
    • Not interested in riding yourself? Try a wagon ride! Spot wildlife, learn the history of the Great Smoky Mountains, and relax to the sound of the rushing Oconaluftee River.
  2. Grab the family and go on a guided horseback trip with this family-owned business. Carolina Bound Adventures offers a tour of wooded scenery, an overlook of Fontana Lake, and views upon views of the Great Smoky Mountains in the Nantahala National Forest. The best part? No riding experience is necessary to see these glorious views on horseback.
  3. You can never get enough of the Nantahala National Forest. Located nine miles west of Bryson City are the Nantahala Village Riding Stables, offering family horseback riding along forest trails overlooking Fontana Lake. Ages five and up are welcome to join these tours with no experience necessary!

Nantahala Riding Stables

For the Horseback Pro:
            If you have more riding experience and like to trot to the beat of your own hooves, Bryson City has seven trails for you to explore. Because these are not guided routes, riders should be comfortable directing their horse to remain on the trail. These loops are for the long-haul rider who can endure the greater mileage.

Horseback Riding

  1. Starting off short, explore the Deep Creek Horse Trail. This is a refreshing four-mile ride that passes Juneywhank Falls and intersects the Deep Creek Trail right near Indian Creek Falls. Four miles, two falls, and tons of fun.
  2. The Tsali Recreation Area offers four different loops with ranging mileage. The shortest of the four is the “Thompson Loop,” which is 7.3 miles long. The Mouse Branch Trail follows in distance at 8.7 miles. Next is the “left loop,” an 11.9-mile adventure with views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Lake. Finally the “right loop” includes 13.9 miles of adventure, with the option of 4 and 8-mile loops to branch off to as well. Be sure to check the daily schedule for riding horses on these loops as it changes on a monthly basis.
  3. Last but not least are The Divide Trail twins. The Thomas Divide Trail is an 11-mile hiking and horseback riding trail. To access this trail with your horse trailer, please park at Galbraith Creek Road. For a wide tour of the national park, you can also choose The Noland Divide Trail. Beginning near Deep Creek,  the trail leads to Lonesome Pine Overlook, reaching Juneywhank Branch, following along Beaugard Ridge with beautiful viewing points before descending into Lower and Upper Sassafrass Gaps. It ends on Clingmans Dome Road, making it one of the lengthier excursions to explore.

Horses at Cades Cove

Beginner or advanced, traveling near or far, guided or free-ranging, Bryson City is the place for you and your horse. So what are you waiting for? Get galloping. Start planning your stay today: https://www.explorebrysoncity.com/plan-your-visit/.

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