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Guide to Horseback Riding in Western North Carolina

Western North Carolina is a great place to go horseback riding. Not only is there ample opportunity but the natural beauty of the area is astounding. When you rent a stayNantahala cabin at nearby Nantahala Lake, you're a short distance from many horseback riding opportunities and trails. This is also a great activity for the family to try. Regardless of how you do it, come enjoy the beauty and fun of Nantahala horseback riding.

There are two options when it comes to horseback riding in western North Carolina: guided tour or on your own. Each has their benefits and can be fun in their own right. Guided tours are a great place if you're new to horseback riding or if you don't have your own horse. On-you-own adventures can open a wider variety of trails and places to explore. There are plenty of opportunities for both around Nantahala Lake.

Nantahala Village Riding Stables

  • Address: 9400 U.S. Highway 19 West, Bryson City, NC
  • Distance from Nantahala Lake: 25.1 miles
  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Nantahala Village Riding Stables sits west of Bryson City and offers horseback trips for $30 per hour up to four hours. There are also all-day and overnight trips available. If you're new to horseback riding, the experts here will help you best prepare before taking off on one of the many top horseback riding trails in North Carolina. Reservations are requested.
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Carolina Bound Adventures

  • Address: 35 Slope St., Bryson City, NC
  • Distance from Nantahala Lake: 35.2 miles

Explore the Nantahala National Forest with a guided horseback tour from Carolina Bound Adventures. Rides cost $35 per hour for each person with rides lasting up to three hours. You can explore the beautiful scenery of western North Carolina including Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains. You don't need any riding experience but advanced reservation is recommended.
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Chunky Gal Stables

  • Address: 1306 Hot House Road, Hayesville, NC
  • Distance from Nantahala Lake: 40.9 miles
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Chunky Gal Stables has a little bit of everything. Visitors can enjoy trail riding, lessons, training and boarding. Trails rides come in one hour, one and a half hours, two hours and four hours, offering a great experience of Nantahala National Forest horseback riding. The stable does encourage kids to come along, making this a great way to spend time as a family. If you don't have any horseback riding experience, the experts here will help you.
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Smokemont Riding Stables

  • Address: 135 Smokemont Riding Stables Road, Cherokee, NC
  • Distance from Nantahala Lake: 50.7 miles
  • Season: March to November

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular destination and Smokemont Riding Stables allows you to explore the park. The stables offer four different rides in varying lengths including a wagon ride. You don't need any experience riding to enjoy the tours from Smokemont Riding Stables. All riders must be on their own horse.
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Tsali Recreation Area

  • Distance from Nantahala Lake: 30.9 miles

Nantahala National Forest is a great place for horseback riding. Tsali Recreation Area features 40 miles of trails for both horse riders and mountain bikers. There are specific days for bikes and horses so be sure to check the area's website for the official schedule. There are four trails all rated moderately difficult. 
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Distance from Nantahala Lake: 47.4 miles

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the best horseback riding in North Carolina. While the park sits along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, there are plenty of horseback riding trails on the North Carolina side. About 550 miles of the park's hiking trails are open to horses. If you do decide to bring your own horse, please have a map.

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