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Taking in the scenic mountain views while horseback riding in North Carolina is one of the many activities in the western part of the state for those who seek a little adventure. This idyllic setting is home to a labyrinth of trails that give horseback riders a perfect panoramic backdrop to enjoy nature. For many, it doesn’t get any better than this.

The state is home to several iconic national forests and mountain ranges that are all mapped for horseback riders to enjoy specific trails either on their own as experienced equestrians or during a guided excursion. Experience North Carolina’s diverse landscape on horseback regardless of your experience level. We’re sure it will be a ride to remember long after the other vacation souvenirs have faded away.

Where Can I Go Horseback Trail Riding in North Carolina


Where Can I Go Horseback Trail Riding in North Carolina?

There is a network of great trails through North Carolina for horseback riders to explore. A large concentration of trails stretches across Western North Carolina through the scenic Plateau region. The trails are often equipped with maps that can be downloaded to better plan your trip and of course markers keep riders on track.

Gorges State Park

The western portion of the 7.20-mile Auger Hole Trail is the only portion of the park where horseback riding is permitted. The trail enjoys close proximity to the popular North Carolina family vacation destinations of Highlands, Cashiers and Sapphire.

Pisgah Ranger District

Explore the trails of Pisgah National Forest by horseback gives visitors a two-in-one adventure along Pisgah Ranger District and get breathtaking views of the various waterfalls located in the region. It’s easy to access the network of trails in the forest from Lake Toxaway, Glenville and the Sapphire Valley.

DuPont State Recreational Forest

A few miles east of Pisgah National Forest, visitors will discover Bridal Veil Falls. Fans of either the “Hunger Games” or “Last of the Mohicans” will recognize the spot from the big screen. However, riding enthusiasts flock here to take in the stunning views from the trail making for a good day trip while visiting the region.

Nantahala National Forest

Horseback riding on the trails throughout the western region of the Nantahala National Forest near Franklin offers 20 miles of horseback trails in the Standing Indian area of the forest. In close proximity is the Wine Spring area with 15-miles of designated horse trails. Elevations in this sector can reach 4,000 feet in some places so riders will have a unique vantage point from the saddle.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are perhaps the best way to hit the trails via horseback. Visitors to the state have a variety of horseback trail guides to choose from whether planning for a large group or a more intimate experience. The guides know the area and provide tips and interesting facts along the way while making sure everyone stays safe and does not wander into unknown territory.

Western North Carolina is home to a number of riding services. The guided tours at Arrowmont Stables & Cabins and Whitewater Equestrian Center take horseback riders along a network of trails through what’s known as the North American Rain Forest. Another option is Chunky Gal Stables with trail rides ranging from an hour up to four hours. If your trip to this region of North Carolina includes a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, schedule time to go horseback riding on the exquisite trails throughout the property. The guided tours must be reserved and private trail rides are also available for up to eight people with advance notice. 

Is Horseback Riding Year-Round


Is Horseback Riding Year-Round?

Horseback riding is quite popular in North Carolina regardless if on the coast or in the mountains. One of the main questions most have is whether horseback riding is year-round. The answer to that question in general is yes. However, in certain regions of the state it may depend on weather conditions and safety.

While riders may be used to starting the day on horseback, it’s not uncommon for some to wait for it to warm up each morning before heading out to the trails in the region or a training session for an upcoming competition.

North Carolina’s mild summer climate is a great time to go horseback riding in the mountain region. Often visitors will want to ride along the beaches in the state, especially those located on the islands of the Outer Banks. But indeed, horseback riding is available throughout the state year-round. The nice summer breezes in the mountains turn to snow a few months later in the winter. Caution needs to be taken when putting on gear to saddle up. Riders will need to add layers to their attire to stay warm and be alert while on horseback in case weather conditions become unsafe and it’s necessary to return to the stable. It just takes a little extra planning to go horseback riding year-round.


What to Wear Horseback Trail Riding During the Season?

Safety is the first thing to consider when figuring out what to wear while horseback trail riding during the season. We advise wearing a helmet, especially if you are not an experienced rider. A riding helmet is required for anyone age 15 and younger. Of course, closed-toe shoes are a must too, preferably boots to better grip the stirrups.

Next, attire while horseback riding will depend on the season. In North Carolina, the elevation of the mountains, home to many horseback riding trails, require attention to time of day if the temperature dips, or it rains and then even the change of seasons.

If going out with a guide, it’s best to get advice about what to wear during the ride.

Typically, long pants like jeans are good since they are durable but are comfortable enough to sit in a saddle for long periods of time. Think about mounting and dismounting a horse when it comes to pants too; you’ll want a pair that are flexible enough to stretch. A more advanced rider may invest in actual riding pants or britches. Whether jeans or britches, having legs covered while horseback riding is highly encouraged since the terrain of trails may cause scratches from tree limbs or insect bites.

A lightweight jacket is always good to pack just in case it turns a little chilly during the ride. Depending on what time of day the ride begins, riders may start out wearing a jacket or sweater and decide to shed it later as things warm up. However, during other times of the year the ride may begin in the heat of the day and by the return, a jacket comes in handy to stay warm as the ride ends.

Visitors can browse the collection of boutiques throughout the region to find suitable gear for horseback riding whether in a casual setting or more trendy styles to suit your taste. Western North Carolina is known for outdoor activities for nature lovers and horseback riding is high on the list of things to do.


Tips for Packing to Ride Horseback 

When giving thought to planning the perfect North Carolina mountain vacation pack for all the things you plan to do including horseback riding.

A winter vacation in North Carolina can mean frosty mornings in the mountains so we advise dressing for the weather. Many of the boutiques calling this region home stock wide selections of gear that will keep riders warm on horseback and still be fashionable and flexible.

In the spring and summer, the sun may be high in the sky and the temptation is to wear shorts, flip-flops and other seasonal attire. However, reserve those items for relaxing on the patio at the vacation home or strolling into town for dinner. Our tip is that while on horseback, still plan to wear long pants and close-toed shoes for safety. 

And on last additional tip, opting for a short-sleeve t-shirt is okay, but consider shirts that allow for cool-wick or moisture-wick can add needed relief when the temperature rises on the trail. 

Tips for Packing to Ride Horseback

Vacation Rentals Near North Carolina’s Horseback Riding Trails

When visitors are ready to check off horseback riding in North Carolina from the bucket list, make sure to reserve the best accommodations in the area. An exclusive Landmark Vacation rentals is the perfect spot to relax after a thrilling day out on the trails. Plan your trip in advance to secure a luxury property near the riding trails located throughout the region. Those planning to bring their own horse will find several options for boarding nearby. Interested in trying out horseback riding for the first time or planning to schedule a guided tour, the region is home to several riding facilities that can accommodate the trip. Once the location of the trip has been narrowed down, contact Landmark Vacation Rentals today at (877) 926-1780 or browse our portfolio of North Carolina vacation rental properties to select one to fit your needs while visiting to go horseback riding.