#75 of 109 Asheville Things To Do

Dutch Creek Trails

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Dutch Creek Trails - Scenic Horseback Rides in Valle Crucis, NC
Written by: Vicky Reddish
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Dutch Creek Trails is a family owned, family operated, and family friendly farm offering guided horseback rides through scenic, backcountry trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rides are accessible for adults and children ages 6 and up and geared to be beginner friendly while still giving an authentic "cowboy" experience.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Have you ever had dreams of quitting the daily grind and heading off grid to the back country? Keith Ward, owner of Dutch Creek Trails, has done just that. The self described “cowboy poet” of Valle Crucis, NC is a retired law enforcement officer turned wrangler. Ward and his family, who help him operate the family business, have long loved horses and farm life. Ward has deep roots in NC as an 8th generation resident of Watauga County, and this is clear from his love and respect for the land and the animals he and his family care for.

Dutch Creek Trails is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just under 2 hours outside of Asheville. The drive is definitely worth the effort; during the horseback ride, visitors can expect to see stunning views of sites like Hanging Rock and countless peaks and valleys that cover the area. The farm is well maintained, and the guided rides are well staffed and monitored to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.

If you plan to check out Dutch Creek Trails, expect to spend a little over an hour on the trail, as well as extra time to register for the ride, plus a hay wagon trip to the trailhead. This is a fun perk, especially for the kids! Dress appropriately for the weather, including sturdy shoes that can stand up to a little mud. Weather conditions can change frequently in the mountains, so be prepared with extra layers and rain gear to stay safe, warm, and dry while you enjoy the views from atop your very own mount.

This is a great outing for anyone looking to get close to nature from a unique vantage point. The scenery on a recent trip was truly stunning, and offered varied views from lush fields to wooded trails as well as incredible overlooks of the surrounding landscape. Animal lovers take note: the Ward family takes excellent care of all the horses on their farm, so you can relax and enjoy a ride on a happy, healthy horse.

As an added bonus, if you luck out and get Keith Ward to guide your group, you may even get a taste of his cowboy inspired poetry. Ward has been writing for over a decade, and draws inspiration from a childhood spent watching TV westerns while growing up in the beautiful mountains of NC. He’s even got a CD available for sale if you want to take home some of the cowboy spirit to enjoy all year long!

Dutch Creek Trails offers a wonderful way to experience the nature, and the people, of this unique and beautiful part of NC. So grab your boots, and get ready to refresh your soul with some clean mountain air, a little trail dust, and some poetry for good measure. Giddy up!

Insider Tip:
The cowboy lifestyle is one where cash and check rule. Call to confirm payment options ahead of time, but you’ll likely need to leave your credit card at home as the farm does not include a machine to process payments.