Horseback Riding in the Smokies


Horses posing for our camera in Cades Cove.

Want to explore the smokies on horseback?  Horseback riding offers a relaxing way to explore the mountain trails.  Guided horseback rides are offered within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding area.  (View Smoky Mountain Area Stables)

If you choose to bring your own horse, make sure you stay on horse-appropriate trails and follow all backcountry rules and regulations

To horseback the backcountry, you must obtain a backcountry permit; they available at any visitor center, campground, or ranger station. 

All horses must be tied to a hitching post at night.  If there is no hitching post, the horses must be cross-tied so they cannot chew on trees or surrounding vegetation.  Tying horses to trees is prohibited.  Horses must be tied 100 feet away from any drinkable water source and shelter.  All feed and equipment must be packed in as well. 

About 550 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are available for horseback riding. The dotted trails on the park map are for horses and hikers (link to map).  No more than 10 horses are allowed in one group trip. 

Automobile-accessible horse camps are available at Anthony Creek (Cades Cove), Big Creek, Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Tow String.  Reservations at these drive-in camps can be made by calling (877) 444- 6777 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  Llamas and donkeys are also allowed to be ridden in the backcountry.  All other animals (including dogs) are not permitted.

Horses are allowed on dotted trails in the park, not on the dashed trails (see trail map here).  Hikers can use all trails.  For detailed information, visit the official national park website