Asheville Horseback Riding & Trails

Asheville Horseback Riding & Trails

Whether you're a first-timer or experienced, horseback riding is a great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains and the State and National Forests around Asheville, North Carolina. Here are our top picks:

Horseback Rides & Trips

Biltmore Horseback Riding
Biltmore Horseback Trail Rides
Take a guided expedition through the Biltmore Estate to match your skill level. The western-style, one hour guided ride is perfect for beginner to intermediate-level riders. A private three-hour trail ride with picnic lunch is designed for someone with riding experience. Offered daily. Two-day advance reservations are required. Available for 2-4 people ages 8 and up. If you’re bringing your own horse to explore 80 miles of estate trails, please visit the Biltmore’s Equestrian Center.
Wolf Laurel Stables
Wolf Laurel Stables
Enjoy a scenic, guided horseback trail or wagon rides on 20 miles of trails with experienced guides and gentle horses. Take in the fabulous 360 degree views of the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests from the top of Big Bald Mountain at over 5,500’ elevation! Or, enjoy a cool horse ride through beautiful mountain forests along Bald Mountain Creek near Mars Hill and Burnsville.
Cedar Creek Stables
Cedar Creek Stables
Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Lake Lure, Cedar Creek Stables offers a one hour, hour and half and two hour mountain trail rides. They also have pony rides for our little ones. Private trails travel creek walks and beautifully wooded mountain views. They also have a gem mine, fishing and picnicking.

Great Smoky Mountain Trips: Smokemont Horse Riding Stables
An authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, located in Cherokee. Enjoy a guided horseback ride within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on natural riding trails that feature beautiful wooded scenery, native flora and fauna, and mountain streams and waterfalls. Choose from four options: Hour rides that include wooded scenery and crossing the Oconaluftee River, a 2.5-hour waterfall ride, a 4- hour ride on a wooded trail following along the Oconaluftee River and viewing two cascading waterfalls, or a peaceful wagon ride! Go to their Web site for more.

Pisgah National Forest Trips: Pisgah Forest Riding Stables
Choose between the one hour, two hour, the scenic three hour mountaintop, or the three hour waterfall ride in the national forest. Located near Brevard on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway near Looking Glass Rock. Go to their Web site for more.

Bringing Your Horse? Self-Guided Horseback Trails

DuPont State Forest Waterfall Loop
Go to DuPont State Forest to see waterfalls. There is a great loop that allows you to see four of the major waterfalls. This loop does involve crossing Little River. The rocks can be slick and the water can be up to two feet deep when the rainfall has been heavy. If your horses have crossed large streams before, there shouldn't be a problem. There are also two wooden bridges. If your horse has not crossed a wooden bridge before, you may want to lead them across the first time. The bridges are wide and very solid. Rangers and volunteers carry free maps. If you need a map, ask any ranger. Large maps are posted at the kiosks. Many loops can be developed by connecting the trails. This loop takes about 2 hours, depending on your speed and how long you stay at the viewpoints. It will get you familiar with many other connecting trails.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
About 550 miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains are open to horses. Horses are restricted to trails specifically designated for horse use. If you wish to ride your own horse in the park, please obtain a copy of the park's trail map. This map indicates the trails on which you may ride horses and explains the park's rules and regulations concerning horse riding in the backcountry. It also provides information about backcountry camping, and permit requirements. To obtain an official trail map, stop at any park visitor center or call (865) 436-0120. The cost of the map is $1. You may also download a trail map. Horses are allowed only on trails specifically designated for horse use. Off-trail or cross-country riding is prohibited. Horse riders may use designated campsites located on trails open to their use, however some backcountry campsites must be reserved in advance. These sites are indicated on the park's trail map. A drive-in horse camp that provides ready access to backcountry horse trails in the park is located at Cataloochee.

South Mountains State Park
Explore 29 miles of trails in this beautiful park near Morganton. See our South Mountains State Park Guide

Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgh National Forest and Nantahala National Forest offer a variety of riding experiences for all levels of riders. Look for trails signed with the horse-use symbol. If the trail is unsigned or a red slash is across the horse symbol, the trail is for hiking only. Open and gated Forest Service roads are open for horseback riding, unless signed closed to this use. For campers, Wolf Ford Horse Camp provides access to many miles of equestrian trails in the South Mills River area. Wash Creek Horse Camp is a nearby group reservation site. For information about reservations, call Pisgah District at 828-877-3265.

Nantahala National Forest
Tsali Recreation Area has 40 miles of trails with trails rotating for enjoyment by horseback riders and mountain bikers. See our Tsail Guide. Wine Spring and Hurricane Creek Horse primitive camps are located near Franklin. Reservations through the Nantahala District Office are required: 828-524-6441.

South Mills River Area, Pisgah National Forest near Brevard
Very popular backcountry area for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Numerous trails offer many opportunities for loop rides. Most trails follow historic logging roads and railroad grades alongside streams through hardwood forests.

Harmon Den
Cold Springs Creek flows through dense woods and grassy fields on its way to the Pigeon River. The forest shows hints of its past history farming, logging, narrow gauge railroads, settlements, and signs of recent forest management. The grassy ridges of Max Patch Mountain near the Tennessee State line crown the area. Trails combine with Forest Service roads to provide loop riding opportunities.

Tryon Equestrian Center

Tryon International Equestrian Center is a must stop for horse lovers with world-class horse jumping competitions in Tryon. Read more.

Watch the most talented riders and horses in the country as Olympic caliber athletes compete for international titles at the amazing Tryon International Equestrian Center. While it is new to the... read more
More than 850 miles of hiking trails traverse the Great Smoky Mountains. They range from easy to difficult and provide half hour walks to week-long backpacking trips. Below are our favorites. Also,... read more
Road Biking around Asheville
For road bikes, the popular spot is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Read some great tips about biking on the Blue Ridge... read more
This jewel of a state park in the foothills is the great place to enjoy nature. It's located near Morganton in Burke County, about 70... read more
Nantahala National Forest is the largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres), covering much of the western tip of the state. From Asheville, head west past the Blue Ridge Parkway to... read more