Horseback Riding in
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Horseback Riding Stables
Four riding stables in Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide guided horseback riding to the public. Rent a horse and experience the mountain trails on horseback. From March to November, you may ride from 45 minutes or longer at an easy pace.
Rates vary, and begin at about $30 per hour. Some stables have weight limits and age restrictions. Please contact the stables for details.
- Cades Cove Riding Stable | (865) 448-9009 | + Hayrides and Carriage Rides
- Smokemont Riding Stable | Cherokee, NC | (828) 497-2373 | + Wagon Rides
- Smoky Mountain Riding Stable | Gatlinburg, TN | (865) 436-5634
- Sugarlands Riding Stable | Gatlinburg, TN | (865) 436-3535
Riding Your Own Horse
Equestrians may ride their own horse on select trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You are free to ride on more than 550 miles of the 800 miles of maintained trails.
Horseback riding off-trail or cross-country is not allowed. If you are tempted to leave the trail, please don’t.
Horseback Riding Trail Map
A park trail map indicates which trails are horse-friendly and open for horseback riding. The map also includes information and regulations about horseback riding in the backcountry.
You may purchase an official park trail map at any of the park’s visitor centers for $1.00 or by calling 865-436-0120.
DOWNLOAD: Official Park Trail Map
Equestrians who want to camp in the backcountry need to obtain a permit. Camping must be at an official backcountry campsite. Camping along trails, or off trails, is not permitted. The park trail map provides information about backcountry campsites.
To obtain a backcountry camping permit, please visit the National Park Service website.
Five horse camps are located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Horse camps are wonderful places to board your horse, park your trailer, camp overnight, and gain easy access to horse-friendly backcountry trails.
Horse camps are located in Cades Cove at Anthony Creek, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Towstring. To reserve a space, click on the name of the camp in the previous sentence or visit Recreation.gov.
IMPORTANT: You must have a horse with you to camp at the horse camps.
The horse camps in the park are open from April through October.
Horse Camp Rules and Regulations
- Horses must be kept in stalls and not at the campsite. Clean stalls out when leaving. Discard old and unwanted hay in designated areas.
- Keep horses out of campsites. Future campers will appreciate it.
- Tie horses only to hitching racks and stalls. Do not tie horses to trees.
- Stall spaces are limited. Bring only the number of horses for which you have reservations.
- Do not leave stock unattended.
- Never leave feed where wildlife can get to it – wildlife attracted to feed can come into conflict with people.
- All equine brought to, kept at any park horse camp, or ridden on any park trail shall be accompanied by either the original or a copy of an official negative test for equine infectious anemia.
RELATED: What to Do If You Encounter a Black Bear?
Please Observe the Following
- Avoid thawing or frozen trails – save them for dry times. Soil is easily damaged when it is soft. Stay on the trails. Do not use shortcuts. Walk or ride single-file down the center of trails. When crossing roads and paved areas, dismount and lead your horse.
- Pack out what you pack in. Littering is illegal. Leave a campsite cleaner than you found it.
- Know which trails are open to horses. Check the current trail map for up-to-date information.
- Keep horses away from springs. Carry and use a collapsible bucket to water your horse.
- Use processed feed to eliminate introducing weed seeds into the park – hay may contain seeds of non-native plants that can take over and destroy habitat for native species.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife by observing them from a distance. Bears are dangerous – do not feed them or other wildlife. See Three Big Reasons You Should Not Feed Bears
- Pets are not allowed on trails or in backcountry areas. Pets are only allowed in developed areas and must be on a leash at all times. See the Paws in the Park Pet Policy
- Do not pick, dig, or remove any plant, flower, or natural object. This includes antlers and rocks. The same applies to cultural and historical artifacts, including arrowheads, pottery or pottery pieces and other household items. It is illegal to remove any of these items from the park.