Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the most breathtaking experiences in the United States. The area has a host of wildlife and picturesque mountain scenery.
If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to take it all in, horseback riding can accommodate. In fact, you’ll find many horseback riding Smoky Mountains options.
You could search “places to ride horses near me in the Smoky Mountains” or you could just check out our guide below to help you plan an adventure in the saddle…
Horseback Riding Gatlinburg
When you’re in the Great Smoky Mountains and looking for horseback riding in Gatlinburg TN, two stables are usually at the top of the search results. These are Smoky Mountain Riding Stables and Sugarlands Riding Stables.
Smoky Mountain Riding Stables
Smoky Mountain Riding Stables is an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service. The staff helps you saddle up on a well-trained horse for a 45-minute tour across 3 miles of the national park.
During the ride, you traverse mountain streams and wooded trails with an experienced guide. You could see a black bear, herd of deer, or flock of turkeys on your journey. Whether you’ve never ridden a horse before or have loads of experience, you’ll enjoy this peaceful excursion.
Sugarlands Riding Stables
Sugarlands Riding Stables offers a range of trail rides for riders of all experience levels within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The one-hour ride covers 4 miles, and the 1.5-hour ride covers about 6 miles. These are more suitable for novice riders.
The two-hour ride covers 8 miles, and the four-hour ride covers 15 miles. These are more suitable for experienced riders. In any case, the guided tours are taken at a walking pace.
Horseback Riding Pigeon Forge
Although it’s one of the most popular spots, Gatlinburg Tennessee horseback riding isn’t the only option. There are two horseback riding Pigeon Forge options for trail ride tours: Big Rock Dude Ranch and Gold Rush Stables.
Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa
Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa is another premier Smoky Mountains riding stables, and it’s just north of Gatlinburg. It offers horseback riding seven days a week as long as the weather is favorable.
The 3.5-mile tour gives you a glimpse into the experience that the early settlers had when they crossed the mountains and valleys on horseback for the first time about 200 years ago.
Along with a variety of one-hour guided tour packages for different prices, Big Rock Dude Ranch offers 30-minute ATV rides. A combo package lets you ride the horses and ATVs.
On top of that, the ranch has many other amenities and activities: Chow Boys Cafe, picnic areas, gem mining, a petting zoo, a fishing pond, a general store, the Heritage Museum, and horseshoe pits.
Gold Rush Stables and Heritage Carriage Rides
With Gold Rush Stables and Heritage Carriage Rides, you can take a one-hour tour on a 2.5-mile trail in the Pigeon Forge area.
Located near the famous Dollywood theme park, the riding stables uses a total of five trails in order to accommodate all riding experience levels. Because of its location, none of the trails have extreme terrain.
If you’re exploring the best romantic things to do in the Smoky Mountains as a couple and want a more intimate ride, you can book a carriage ride at Walden’s Landing. A romance package is even available for special occasions.
Smoky Mountains Horseback Riding in Sevierville
A little further north of Gatlinburg are a few horseback riding Smoky Mountains opportunities in Sevierville. Let’s take a look at the three main stables and ranches.
Five Oaks Riding Stables
Five Oaks Riding Stables is part of Adventure Park at Five Oaks, which offers an array of activities. Its one-hour horseback riding package takes you on a 3.5-mile trail that features mountain views, streams, and a moonshine still.
Also, it’s one of the only riding stables that permits tandem riding for a child and adult. If you want more adventure, the park offers zip lining, go-kart racing, laser tag, and more. You can even buy combination passes to do it all and save.
At Jayell Ranch, you get to ride a horse through more than 260 acres of beautiful trees with fantastic views of the Smoky Mountains.
Despite having some of the lowest prices, the 4-mile trail ride takes you through historic areas for about one hour. In addition, the ranch offers zip lining, ATV rides, and extreme mountain tubing.
Deer Farm Riding Stables
Like Five Oaks, Deer Farm Riding Stables is one of the few that offers tandem riding for children and parents. As long as you comfortably fit in the saddle with a child and don’t exceed the 250-pound weight limit, doubling up is permitted.
It’s also one of the few places that allow backpacks during the rides. Children who aren’t ready for riding full-grown horses can enjoy pony rides. There’s a petting zoo on the property as well.
More Tennessee Horseback Riding Smoky Mountains Opportunities
To the west of Gatlinburg are even more opportunities for Smoky Mountains horseback riding. All of them are located in the city of Townsend.
Next to Heaven Ranch
Next to Heaven Ranch offers unguided trail rides, so the duration varies. For children under the age of 5, the single-rider price is halved.
If the scenic views that you get on horseback aren’t enough, you can check out its zip-lining operation too. The three lines range in length from 1,000 feet to more than 1,300 feet, so there’s an option for all ages and experience levels.
Davy Crockett Riding Stables
At Davy Crockett Riding Stables, you get guided trail rides with an equestrian professional. The rides vary in length from 30 minutes to half a day, so the prices vary as well.
The shorter rides are perfect for anyone who has no experience riding horses but wants to see the beautiful mountains.
Cades Cove Riding Stables
The guided trail rides at Cades Cove Riding Stables are a wonderful way to explore this area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It keeps the riding groups as small as possible so that you get the best experience.
Like most other places, the rides are about one hour long. Additionally, Cades Cove Riding Stables offers 30- to 45-minute guided carriage rides and 1.5- to 3-hour guided hayrides.
Cataloochee Guest Ranch
Available by reservation only, horseback riding at Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley, NC, promises to be an incredible adventure.
Offering full- or half-day group rides or private rides through the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Cataloochee offers hospitality a mile high!
Riding Your Own Horse Through Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you own horses and plan to visit Gatlinburg or a nearby city, consider bringing them for your own Smoky Mountains horseback riding adventure. Although horseback riding in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is restricted to certain trails, about 550 miles of trail are open to horses.
All that you need is a permit from a ranger station or visitor center. Then, review the trail map so that you know which trails are for horseback riding. Since the trail rides can last for 45 minutes to several hours, don’t forget to pack appropriate supplies.