• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Horse Riding

The stables in Cades Cove offer horse riding from mid-March through early November.
 
Horseback Rides
Guided horseback rides are available at four concession horseback riding stables in the park from mid-March through late November. Rides on scenic park trails are offered lasting from 45 minutes to several hours. All rides proceed at a walking pace. Rates are from $30 per hour. Weight limits and age restrictions may apply. Please call the stable you are interested in for additional information.
  • Cades Cove, near Townsend, TN (865) 448-9009
    (also offers hayrides and carriage rides) Visit website for additional information
  • Smokemont, near Cherokee, NC (828) 497-2373
    (also offers wagon rides) Visit website for additional information.
  • Smoky Mountain, near Gatlinburg, TN (865) 436-5634. Visit website for additional information.
  • Sugarlands, near Gatlinburg, TN (865) 436-3535.

Hayrides
Cades Cove Riding Stables offers a 1.5 - 2 hour hayride around the Cades Cove Loop Road. Passengers sit on a bed of hay in a trailer pulled by a truck and enjoy an open air view of the scenery of Cades Cove. Reservations are generally required and can be made by calling (865) 448-9009. Rates are $12 per person.

Ranger-led hayrides are also offered on some evenings on a first-come, first-served basis. See the Schedule of Events for scheduled ranger-led hayrides. The rate for the ranger-led hayride is $14 per person.

Carriage and Wagon Rides
Carriage or wagon rides are offered at two of the concession horseback riding stables in the park. These rides provide an opportunity to experience a 20-30 minute horse-drawn carriage or wagon ride on a park trail. Please call the stable you are interested in for additional information.

  • Carriage Ride
    Cades Cove, near Townsend, TN (865) 448-9009
    Rate is $12.00 per person. Visit website for additional information.
  • Wagon Ride
    Smokemont, near Cherokee, NC (828) 497-2373
    Rate is $10.00 per person. Visit website for additional information.


Bringing Your Horse to the Park

Caution is advised in the backcountry. The park's backcountry is managed as a natural area where the forces of nature determine trail conditions. Please be prepared for swollen streams, bridge washouts, downed trees, and trail erosion-riding is not recommended from early December until May due to the seasonal nature of the trail maintenance program.


About 550 miles of the park's hiking trails are open to horses. Horses are restricted to trails specifically designated for horse use. If you wish to ride your own horse in the park, please obtain a copy of the park's trail map. This map indicates the trails on which you may ride horses and explains the park's rules and regulations concerning horse riding in the backcountry. It also provides information about backcountry camping, and permit requirements. To obtain an official trail map, stop at any park visitor center or call (865) 436-0120. The cost of the map is $1. You may also download a trail map.

Horses are allowed only on trails specifically designated for horse use. Off-trail or cross-country riding is prohibited. Horse riders may use designated campsites located on trails open to their use, however some backcountry campsites must be reserved in advance. These sites are indicated on the park's trail map.

Five drive-in horse camps provide ready access to backcountry horse trails in the park. Camps are located at Cades Cove (Anthony Creek), Big Creek, Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Towstring. Horse camps are open from April through October.


 

Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park's official online store for books, maps, and guides to the park. Operated by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association, proceeds generated by purchases at the store are donated to educational, scientific, and historical projects in the park.

Did You Know?

Great Horned Owls can be heard most often in January and February

More than 240 species of birds have been found in the park. Sixty species are year-round residents. Nearly 120 species breed in the park, including 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration. More...