The official start of springtime is still about a month away, so the weather in the Smoky Mountains can go from sunny to rainy to snowy. You may not want to venture out onto the National Park’s trails just yet, especially if you tend to avoid muddy or icy terrain for hiking. So why not allow one of our four-legged friends to take you on a mountain adventure, where they do the work, while you sit atop and enjoy the unforgettable views?
Horseback riding has been around the Smokies and Gatlinburg for as long as the area has been settled centuries ago. Just like then, it makes an ideal mode of transportation when you’re not quite ready for hiking or you want to cover more ground in shorter amount of time. We have five of our favorite places to rent a horse and go for ride, either on your own or on a guided tour.
5 of the best places for horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg TN
Cades Cove Stables
If you want to sightsee at Cades Cove, head to the Park’s only officially authorized stables in the area. Offering all guided tours that are either on horseback, carriage, or hayrides, they emphasize a family friendly philosophy where everyone, regardless of riding experience, can feel comfortable. Cades Cove Stables features a helpful wildlife viewing guide on their website, which will come in handy when you’re out on the trail.
Sugarlands Riding Stables
Located near Gatlinburg and just inside the Park’s boundaries, Sugarlands offers excursions that wind their way up onto the mountain trails. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains expanse and likely spot some wildlife along the way. Children must be at least five years old to participate, and the maximum weight limit is 225 lbs. Experienced riders can sign up for a two-hour, eight-mile trip deep into the wilderness.
Five Oaks Riding Stables
This Sevierville establishment is the only one that has its own nature park, and the stable horses know the 70-acre property well. So you and your companions don’t have to worry about getting lost or going in the wrong direction. You’ll ride amidst lush green forests and wide open spaces. It’s a great way to get away from the stresses of everyday life. The rides are self-directed, and children can double up with adults on the horses.
Walden Creek Stables
Another riding stable located in Sevierville, this company’s cowboy and cowgirl guides lead guests through 500 acres of the Smoky Mountains on four different tours: Valley Hill Ride, Valley Mountain, Mountain View, Mountain Adventure. Each of these vary in time length, terrain and trail route. The most basic trail ride, Valley Hill, allows for doubling and is perfect for riders of different ages and experience.
Deer Farm Riding Stables
These stables provide dual activities – an exotic petting zoo and horses to ride, separately priced. Younger kids can also ride ponies on a small fenced track. The owners Lynn and Greg Hoisington make sure their horses receive attention and care for each ride and tour. Three different ride options at 30, 60 and 90 minutes are available, and there is an $7.99 doubling fee. Be sure to check out the petting zoo after your ride.
We’ve had a few things to say about our love for horseback riding, too, especially when it comes to romantic getaways and seeing the fall colors. Call or email us today at Christopher Place, your Smoky Mountain retreat, and let us tell you more about where to go in the coming months as the weather gets warmer.