There are many types of “riding”, but none bring you closer to the smokies than on the back of a horse. Not all trails allow horses so check out the trail map to see which trails are horse friendly.
Riding Stables are available at the following locations:
Cataloochee Ranch: Enjoy hosts of wildflowers, mile-high vistas, lush forests, or the cool quietness of rhododendron tunnels as you ride through Cataloochee Ranch or the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Half- and all-day rides. April through November. Reservations required. 828-926-1401. 800-868-1401. 119 Ranch Drive, Maggie Valley, NC 28751.
Hemphill Mountain Campground: Offers family, group or individual horseback riding and camping facilities for your RV, tent or horse camper. Horseback Riding in the Smoky MountainsThe campground provides restroom facilties with showers. Two- to four-hour rides and all-day trips. Call for reservations. 828-926-0331. 32 Woods Road, Waynesville, NC 28785.
Panther Creek Outfitters: Trail rides of all kinds, including pony rides, hourly, half days, full days (full-day ride includes lunch), overnight, and weekend rides. Children of all ages welcome. 828-627-1913. 1114 Water Wheel Cove, Clyde, NC 28721.
Queen’s Farm Riding Stables: Guided mountain tours. Convenient location between Maggie Valley and Waynesville. 828-926-0718. 2180 Dellwood Road, Waynesville, NC 28786.
Horse Use in the Park
Horses and other pack animals (i.e. mules and llamas) are permitted in the park, but they are restricted to trails specifically designated for horse use (See trail map). Many horse trails are very steep and narrow—a challenge for even the most experienced horse and rider. Remoteness and difficulty of access often make continual trail clearing and care impractical. Expect to encounter rugged conditions. Please report down trees or landslides to a ranger. Off-trail or cross-country use is prohibited. Horse parties may use designated campsites open to their use. Horse parties are subject toall backcountry regulations.
Requirements: Horse parties must obtain a backcountry camping permit for any overnight backcountry camping. Horses must be under physical control at all times; they may not be left to water unattended; grazing is prohibited. All food for stock must be packed in, and unused food must be packed out. At designated backcountry sites where stock are permitted, the number of animals in any one party is limited to one per person plus one pack animal per person, but shall not exceed a total of ten (10) animals for the same group or the stock capacity for that site.
In campsites with no hitch posts or racks, horses must be cross-tied so that they cannot chew on or otherwise damage trees or other vegetation. Tying horses
directly to trees is prohibited. Horses are not permitted within 100 feet of trail shelters or in cooking or sleeping areas of campsites. Their manure must be scattered away from the campsite. Horses must not be tied closer than 100 feet to any stream or water source.
• Carry and use a collapsible bucket to water your horse—keep horses away from springs. • Never leave feed where wildlife can get to it—wildlife attracted to feed can come into conflict with people.
• Use processed feed to eliminate introducing weed seeds into the park—hay may contain seeds of exotic plants, and some non-native plants can take over the habitat of native plants.
Auto-access Horse Camps
Limited auto-access horse camps provide ready access to backcountry trails from April through October. Reservations are required and may be made up to five months in advance. For reservations call 1-877-444-6777 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time or visit www.recreation.gov.
Auto-access Horse Camp No. of Campsites
Anthony Creek 3
Big Creek 5
Round Bottom 5
Tow String 2