Here are 7 locations and trails for horseback riding in Asheville that will provide the perfect horseback experience for beginners and experienced riders.
Asheville is known for its thriving art scene, craft beer culture, and world-class culinary experiences. However, that’s not all that this mountain city has to offer.
Also, most of the city has forest cover. There are many different ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Whether hiking to the Blue Ridge Mountains or learning the history of the Biltmore estate, natural beauty is abundant, waiting to be explored.
Biltmore Estate Equestrian Center
Biltmore is the original home of George Washington Vanderbilt. Experience over 8000 acres of pristine beauty, surrounded by mountains, exquisite gardens, and the original Vanderbilt home.
Although, The Biltmore estate provides the perfect getaway by combining an array of outdoor activities with stays in the 250-room chateau.
So it’s a short drive from the city, you can enjoy a 2-hour private horseback ride with a guide exploring the lands or carriage rides into the estates’ board network of trails.
The 2-hour private horseback rides cost $225 per person and are available for ages eight and above.
If you would rather take the estate with family or friends, look no further than the guided 2-hour group trail ride (with up to ten guests) or the private (up to four guests).
Especially, for nervous riders or those that want to enjoy the majesty of horses without holding the reins, the private carriage rides (30-minute, 1-hour, or 90-minute) will be perfect.
So, to participate in activities, guests must have a Biltmore Annual Pass, a daytime ticket, or stay at one of the estate’s overnight properties. Two-day reservations are required.
Address: One Lodge Street Asheville, NC 28803
Sandy Bottom Trail Rides
Besides being a family-run business, Sandy Bottom Trail offers rides on their secluded ranch to everyone from beginner to experienced riders.
Even so, Sandy Bottom Trail Rides passes through picturesque forests and mountain meadows.
Therefore, nothing compares. Located a few minutes away from Asheville, you can experience what cowboy life is.
Whether you’re looking for an hour’s ride that has a slow pace or a 2-hour ride that takes you deep into the forest.
The guides all make sure each rider is matched with the correct horse, proper instruction is given on technique, and everyone feels safe and comfortable before heading out.
The rides offered at Sandy Bottom are perfect for people of all ages and riding abilities.
They don’t have an age limit for their riders and will work to ensure that every rider’s needs are met.
One Hour Horseback Rides – $55 Cash, $65 Card, or Online
This ride offers just the right amount of time on the saddle. The one-hour ride is perfect for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for a slow-paced ride or a beginner rider, you cannot go wrong with this ride.
Enjoy panoramic views of the North Carolina Mountains and the fresh mountain air.
Two-Hour Horseback Ride – $85 Cash, $95 Credit Card, or Online
Starting in the same place as the one-hour ride, prepare to enjoy all the splendor that sandy bottoms offer as your guide takes you higher and into the hills, where you are sure to learn something new and snap a couple of photos for a keepsake.
3-hour Horseback Ride – $120 cash $130 card
It’s one of the more popular rides. Prepare to go over rolling hills for approximately one hour and take an hour’s break at the Little Pine Gem Mine.
This is where you can dig for tailings and experience the joys of gem hunting firsthand.
After the hour is done, mount again and follow the trail that goes high into the mountain for views of Big Ball Mountain and Tennessee.
They offer double riding for children under five years at half the price. In addition, private lessons are also available.
- They have a 250 lbs weight limit.
- Cancellations should be made 24 hours in advance, or a full charge will be made.
- Arrival time is 30 minutes before your ride’s departure.
Address: 1459 Caney Fork Road, Marshall, NC 28753
Phone: (828)649-3464 , (800)959-3513
Smoky Mountain Trail Rides and Bison Farm
Feeling at peace and merging with nature has never been easier. Located minutes from Asheville, Smoky Mountains trail rides provide riders with over 500 acres of trails.
They are filled with towing oak trees, views of Madison county, and greenery that makes North Carolina so popular.
Providing guided horseback rides perfect for younger kids to adults, step into your new home away from home.
Whether it’s your first or 30th time, you will be amazed by the incredible ranges of views, bison grazing the land, and the beautiful horses.
Not only do you get to experience some of the best trails, but you can experience firsthand Bison farming.
- 1-hour ride is $65
- 2-hour ride -$95
- 3-hour ride – $130
Also available by appointment is overnight camping. You will find yourself among other like-minded nature lovers, having sing-alongs, spotting different wildlife, and finishing off with a cooked meal.
Cancellations must be made 24 and 48 hours before a holiday schedule reservation.
- The maximum weight is 270 lbs
- They have a $10 up charge for double riding.
Address: 1959 Walnut Creek Rd, Marshall, North Carolina 28753
Phone: 828 768 9339
Asheville is the perfect base for setting out and looking for the perfect trails for you and your horse. Whether it’s trails filled with waterfalls and creeks or a trail with a steep incline, there are numerous forests and state parks with the perfect trail.
Dupont State Recreational Forest
Dupont is located 50 minutes from Asheville. The trail provides outdoor enthusiasts with 10,000 acres of multi-use trails, several mountain lakes, creeks, and loops that take you to some of the most beautiful waterfalls; High Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls.
Equestrians are welcome on almost all trails except on the lower section of Triple Falls and the pedestrian bridge at the Hooker Falls access area.
However, equestrians must present their horse’s Coggins papers for entry into the park.
- There is no entrance fee
- Open seven days a week, 5 am to pm
- At the trailhead, you can find the visitor center, public bathrooms, and free WI-FI
- Tie-out location and watering sources are available.
- Parking for horse trailers is available at the Guion Farm Access and Lake Imaging areas.
- Restrooms and changing rooms at the Hooker Falls access area
- Access areas are well signed
- The terrain is gravel roads, so be sure to fit your horse with their shoes.
- Steep inclines
Address: Hendersonville, NC 28793
Managed by: North Carolina Forest Service
Blue Ridge Parkway
Known as America’s favorite scenic drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile drive connecting Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountain.
In Asheville, the Parkway offers incredible views of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River and access to some of the best trails.
For equestrians, creating an itinerary will be the hardest part of your journey, plus appreciating the breathtaking views.
Although horseback riding is limited to a few trails, you cannot miss seeing the vast forestland, towering cliffs, and spotting white-tailed deer frolicking.
- No admission fee is required for entry.
- The Parkway is easy to explore and open 24/7 year-round
- The Parkway features high elevations of upto 6053 feet
- Navigation is through stone markers found at every mile
- Managed by National Park Service
Pisgah National Forest
Filled with old-growth forests, high mountain peaks, and thundering waterfalls, Pisgah National Forest offers over half a million acres of the Appalachian Mountains for recreational activities.
There are numerous trails inside Pisgah National Forest. Although they all provide some stunning vistas, the Mt Pisgah Trail provides stunning views of downtown Asheville, Pisgah Inn, the Shining Rock Wilderness, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Other connecting trails can add mileage to the Pisgah Trail. However, for first-timers, it’s better to only start with the out and back trail to avoid tiring your horse and yourself.
- Out and back
- 2.6 miles round trip
- Moderately difficult, with steep inclines
- Pet friendly. However, pets must be leashed.
- The terrain is mostly flat with rocky steps on the climb up to the summit
- An observation deck at the top is perfect for those 360 views
- The trail isn’t well marked. Consider getting a map beforehand
- Well maintained trail with a few tall blades of grass here and there
- No entry fee is required for entrance to the forest
Address: 160 Zillicoa St.Suite A, Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: 828 257 4200
Horseback riding in North Carolina provides a thrilling experience. With the fresh mountain air, rolling hills providing refuge to different species of wildlife, and numerous water features, North Carolina quickly feels like home for children and adults alike.
And remember to practice no trace left behind. Pack out what you packed in. You can’t go wrong at a private stable or one of the numerous state forests.