Horseback Riding Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg
Planning a Tennessee vacation? One of the best ways to explore the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park is on horseback. There’s no better way to connect with nature and create lasting memories than by saddling up and hitting the trails! In this article, we’ll cover:
- The best horseback riding stables in the Gatlinburg area.
- What to expect during your riding experience
- The unique wildlife you may encounter on your journey
- Tips for planning your Horseback Riding Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg vacation.
Living near Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountain area is one of our favorite places to go with our kids out of all the places we’ve traveled.
Top Thing To Do: Anakeesta
Where To Stay: Margaritaville Gatlinburg is our favorite resort in the area. While it’s not the cheapest, it’s a new resort with a nice pool and a great location.
Where To Eat: Ole Red (not because the food is amazing, but because of the live nightly entertainment)
How To Get There: The closest airport is Knoxville (TYS), about an hour away. A rental car is almost a requirement due to the distance between attractions. Click here for deals on Discover rental cars. Gatlinburg is also within a day’s drive of 2/3rds of the country’s population!
Get Ready to Ride: Top Stables and Ranches in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg offers many options for horseback riding enthusiasts, catering to various skill levels and preferences. Here are some of the top choices in the area:
- Cades Cove Riding Stables: Located in the heart of the national park, this stable offers guided horseback and carriage rides, perfect for families with small children. Experience miles of trails, and early settlers’ historic structures, and even catch a glimpse of Mount LeConte!
- Big Rock Dude Ranch: A family-friendly ranch that offers horseback riding, ATV rides, gem mining, and a petting zoo, among other activities. It also features a fishing pond, picnic areas, and a general store for your convenience.
- Smoky Mountain Riding Stables: This reputable stable offers guided rides along mountain streams and wooded trails, catering to riders of all skill levels. Enjoy the breathtaking views of North Carolina and the lush forests of the Smoky Mountains.
Horseback Riding Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg: What to Expect on the Trails
Regardless of the stable you choose, expect a thrilling adventure led by an experienced guide. Most stables offer one-hour rides, ample time to enjoy the beautiful mountain views. For a more immersive experience, consider longer or unguided trail rides for advanced riders.
Keep in mind that some stables enforce a weight limit for safety reasons. Be sure to inquire about this when making reservations.
Wildlife Encounters: From Wild Turkeys to Black Bears
You may encounter some of the park’s diverse wildlife as you ride through the lush forests. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, black bears, and even whitetail deer are just a few of the creatures that call the Smoky Mountains home. Remember to keep a safe distance and let your guide handle close encounters.
Plan Your Smoky Mountain Vacation
Gatlinburg and the surrounding Pigeon Forge area offer a variety of accommodations for your Smoky Mountain vacation. See the links at the bottom of those pages for more information. You can also explore nearby attractions like the Smoky Mountain Deer Farm, Jayell Ranch, and Smokemont Riding Stables.
Top Places to Stay in Gatlinburg: From Resorts to Cozy Cabins
After a day of exploring, nothing is better than retreating to a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains. Gatlinburg offers a variety of cabin rentals, ranging from rustic log cabins to luxurious mountain retreats. Many cabins feature fire pits, hot tubs, and stunning mountain views—perfect for a relaxing winter getaway.
Gatlinburg offers a variety of accommodations to suit every traveler’s taste and budget. Here are some of the top-rated places to stay in Gatlinburg, including luxurious resorts and charming vacation rentals:
Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is a 4-star resort located on the main parkway (Hwy 441) in Gatlinburg. We have stayed at this resort several times, and while it’s not the cheapest resort in Gatlinburg, it’s by far our favorite.
This tropical-inspired retreat offers well-appointed rooms and suites, an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site spa.
The resort’s convenient location across the street from Anakeesta makes it a perfect base for exploring the best of Gatlinburg.
Margaritaville Gatlinburg: A Tropical Escape in the Heart of the Smokies
After an action-packed day at Anakeesta, unwind and relax at Margaritaville Gatlinburg, a tropical oasis just a short walk from the mountaintop theme park. Inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of singer Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Gatlinburg offers a unique dining and entertainment experience that transports you to a tropical paradise.
Dining at Margaritaville Gatlinburg
The Margaritaville Restaurant offers a delectable menu featuring a variety of island-inspired dishes, such as the signature Cheeseburger in Paradise, Volcano Nachos, and Coconut Shrimp. Kids will love the diverse options on the Little Parakeet’s menu, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters find something they enjoy.
Try one of Margaritaville’s famous frozen concoctions or specialty cocktails, like the classic Margarita or the refreshing Rum Runner. Non-alcoholic options are also available, making Margaritaville a great destination for the entire family.
Map of the best deals on top hotels and VRBOs in Gatlinburg:
Explore More Activities: Beyond Horseback Riding
Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas offer various outdoor activities to complement your horseback riding experience. Here are a few other options to consider:
- Backcountry camping: Backcountry camping is a great option for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. Obtain a permit and set up camp at one of the designated sites.
- Gem mining: Try your luck at gem mining, available at places like Big Rock Dude Ranch, where you can search for precious stones and take home a unique souvenir.
- ATV rides: For a different kind of adventure, consider taking an ATV ride through the scenic trails of the Smoky Mountains.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a place for my horse in the Gatlinburg area?
Yes! The park uses horses at various equestrian trails and horse camps, such as Anthony Creek and the Appalachian Trail.
What about pony rides for small children?
Many stables, like Big Rock Dude Ranch and Smoky Mountain Deer Farm, offer pony rides tailored for young kids.
Are there any group discounts available for large groups?
Most stables offer special rates for large groups. Reach out to the stable directly for more information.
What should I wear for my horseback ride?
Dress comfortably and wear closed-toe shoes. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from rubbing against the saddle.
Are there options for guided and unguided rides?
Yes, most stables offer both guided and unguided trail rides. Unguided rides typically require more riding experience and may have certain restrictions.
How can I find a trail map for the national park?
Trail maps can be found on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website, at the park visitor center, or at various web pages dedicated to the park’s trails.
What are some other riding stables in the area?
In addition to the stables mentioned earlier, you can visit Deer Farm Riding Stables and Shady Trail Rides for more horseback riding options.
Can I take a guided tour of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Yes, guided tours showcase the park’s stunning landscapes, miles of the park, and historic structures, such as those built by early settlers. Check with the park visitor center for more information on available tours.
Are there any activities suitable for small groups?
Absolutely! Many stables and ranches offer activities specifically tailored for small groups, such as guided horseback or carriage rides, which provide a more intimate experience.
What is the best way to spot wildlife in the park?
The best ways to spot wildlife in the park include taking a guided tour, horseback riding, or simply hiking along the various mountain trails. Remember to keep a safe distance and follow your guide’s instructions.
Are there any unique experiences for first-time visitors to the Smoky Mountains?
First-time visitors can enjoy many activities, such as horseback riding, ATV rides, gem mining, and exploring historic structures. A guided tour is also great for discovering the park’s highlights and hidden gems.
Horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains is a fantastic way to experience the great outdoors with your family. Choose from the many stables and ranches in the Gatlinburg area, and enjoy breathtaking mountain views, encounters with wildlife, and an unforgettable experience. So saddle up, take a deep breath of fresh air, and hit the trails for a great time exploring the beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains! With so many outdoor activities, historic sites, and picturesque trails to explore, there’s no better way to create lasting memories with your loved ones.
Also, see some of our other favorite links:
Horseback riding near Vail, Colorado