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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers some of the most beautiful  scenery on earth and there’s no better way to see it than by horseback. With approximately 550 miles of  hiking trails designated for use by horses, you’ll find many horseback riding opportunities throughout the park.  What better way to smell the leaves, study the forest or listen to the creeks than by horseback? 

If you are interested in horseback riding in the park, there are several privately owned stables within the park’s boundaries that can assist you, or if you prefer, you may also ride your own horse in the park on designated horse trails. Frontcountry horse camps (with drive-in access) are available at Cades Cove, Big Creek Cataloochee, Round Bottom and Towstring. Backcountry horse camps are also available and require an advance reservation. Camps are usually closed in winter, but a mild climate allows other riding opportunities throughout the year. 

Seeing the Smokies by horseback is an adventure you won’t soon forget, and a memory that will last a lifetime. 

Stables in the Park:

  • Cades Cove, near Townsend, TN  (865) 448-6286 (hayrides and carriage rides also available)
  • Smoky Mountain, near Gatlinburg, TN (865) 436-5634
  • Sugarlands, near Gatlinburg, TN (865) 430-5020
  • Smokemont, near Cherokee, NC (828) 497-2373

Bringing Your Own Horse:

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.

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.

Horse camps are open from April through October. Reservations are required aHorse camps are open from April through October. Reservations are required and may be made for all five-horse camps through the National Park Reservation Service by calling 1-800-365-2267 (park code GRE) between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.nd may be made for all five-horse camps through the National Park Reservation Service by calling 1-800-365-2267 (park code GRE) between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

Each campsite has a limit of six people and four horses. If you have more than six people or four horses, you will need to reserve another site. Sites vary, but generally you are permitted to have two vehicles and two trailers (horse or camping) at each site.

A cancellation fee will be charged if you cancel your reservation or if we cancel your reservation because you fail to show up. You will also be charged for one night's camping fee if you cancel on or after the day your reservation begins or you fail to show up. To make changes to your reservation or to cancel, please call 1-800-388-2733. If you will be arriving late (i.e. after noon of the second day), please phone 865-436-1230 to hold your reservation.

Auto-access horse camps have picnic tables, grills, designated parking spaces (usually gravel), refuse containers, hitch racks and space to pitch a tent or two. Big Creek has flush toilets with cold water. Other horse camps have portable toilets and no drinking water. Water is available for horses either in the campground or at a nearby stream.