Are you or your kid’s fans of the video game Red Dead Redemption II? Do you enjoy tales of early America and find those early days of exploration fascinating? If so, then we have to recommend a Smoky Mountain horse riding experience during your vacation in the mountains!
There are several fantastic horse riding stables and outfitters that offer their guests the unique experience of exploring these mountains atop a saddle. You and your equine companion can journey through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or a meander along other area trails. Some of these horse-riding outfitters also offer added experiences like campfire cooking, kid-friendly hay rides, and destination cabanas to enjoy
Sound like fun? Check out six of the best Smoky Mountain horse riding opportunities available for you and your family to enjoy on your vacation:
1. Sugarland Riding Stables
Sugarland Riding Stables is currently undergoing an ownership change. However, its location paired with a history of outstanding guides and horsemanship makes this still a great business to consider when looking for smoky mountain horse riding opportunities. In fact, it can’t get much easier to hop on the trail and enjoy a backwoods adventure with this group. They have their comfort station and horses set up and ready to go right at the trailhead of Two Mile Branch Trail. This trailhead is located just off of US Highway 441 just where it cuts into the Great Smoky National Park south of Gatlinburg.
2. Cades Cove Riding Stables
Cades Cove is an isolated valley located within the western part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Cades Cove Riding Stables is located on park grounds at the very eastern edge of this valley, along with a campground and other park buildings. This makes this smoky mountain horse riding outfit an exceptional choice. Especially for those who are looking to camp and enjoy waking up to an exciting horseback trail ride.
This location at the edge of the valley as well as at the start of several mountain trails also means that visitors here have options. You can either opt for a horseback riding tour of the valley and mountains. Or, you can enjoy a more relaxing carriage or haybale ride.
3. Davy Crockett Riding Stables
Davy Crocket Riding Stables is also located within the Cades Cove Valley, but this outfit is on the northwesternmost corner. They are well known for offering trained but personable horses, each one matched to the rider. In other words, this isn’t just a slow, follow-the-leader experience many trail riding outfits offer. Rather, horses respond to your commands and each one has a personality that truly shines out. You can enjoy horseback trail riding with Davy Crockett Riding Stables for as short as a half-hour to as long as a half-day excursion.
4. Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa
Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa is the first horseback riding outfit on this list that does not have a station set up within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park itself. Yet, while it is located on the opposite side of Gatlinburg, this dude ranch has a lot of exciting options for its guests.
First, of course, there is horseback riding. From this location, your group can enjoy a 3.5-mile private mountain trail offering outstanding vistas of the beautiful rolling mountains. They proudly offer over 80 trained and experienced trail horses for guests to choose from. That includes some big beefy horses that are equipped to happily handle heavier passengers.
Other activities at the Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa include a petting zoo, fishing pond, Appalachia museum, gem mining, and more. This place is especially great for small children, but just about any group could easily and enjoyably spend an entire day at this multifaceted attraction.
5. Jeyell Ranch Adventure Park
Jeyell Ranch Adventure Park is another multifaceted location that you will find on the outskirts of the national park. This one is just north of Pigeon Forge’s Dollywood. In fact, we’d say that this one is even more multifaceted, with even more options for day and night excursions. They even have cabins you can rent onsite.
An important thing to note about Jeyell Ranch Adventure Park is that, with the exception of their cabins, everything they offer is first come, first serve. This means you will want to get to their location early during the busy temperate months of late spring and early fall. Especially if you are looking to ride horses. This group offers a full horseback ride for just under $40. The ride equates to a picturesque four-mile tour through over 200 acres of mountainous Tennessee landscapes.
6. Five Oaks Riding Stables
Five Oaks Riding Stables have an expansive location in east Sevierville, Tennessee. They offer guests an easy hour-long ride along their own 3.5-mile shaded trail. Offering beautiful landscape views as well as historic sights like an authentic old moonshine still. Five Oaks Riding Stables is perhaps best known for its trail guides who are humorous and helpful. Making this location a great choice for first-timers. They also have horses experienced and well-suited for double riding, which is when a young toddler or small child is placed in front of their parent or guardian on the same horse.
In addition to their smoky mountain horse riding trail opportunities, Five Oaks Riding Stables also has several ziplines installed across their property. So experience the views in two unique ways: first, on horseback and then from the sky while ziplining.
Learn More About Alternative Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains
Horse riding is an exceptional way to experience the unique beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains region. Although, it certainly isn’t the only unique type of adventure you can undertake here. You can ride hot air balloons over these ancient hills or zip line across valleys or enjoy a number of other exciting avenues. Learn more about all this area has to offer by checking out our other pages!