Featured HORSE TRAILS
In the 521,000 acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Noland Divide Trail descends steeply through a sub-alpine spruce-fir forest with rosebay rhododendrons, flame azaleas, mountain laurel thickets, and stands of white pine. Following the crest of a razorback ridge, it runs along the divide that separates the drainages of Deep and Noland Creeks and is best ridden in a day from north to south, ending at Deep Creek Campground.
Southwest of Asheville and Bryson City, the famous Tsali loops are Left Loop, Right Loop, Thompson Loop, and Mouse Branch Loop. These trails are shared on alternate days with mountain bikers. There are two loops are open each day to the respective riding groups.
East of Dillingham in the Pisgah National Forest, the Laurel Gap Trail is a 7 mile horseback riding route. The horse trail follows a gated road over Big Andy and Walker Ridges with nice vistas. There are several side trails including Staire Creek Trail, Walker Creek Trail and Elk Pen Trail.
Near Blowing Rock, the 3,500 acre Moses Cone Memorial Park has 27 miles of carriage trails open to horseback riding. The most popular route is the 20 mile Craftsman Trail loop.
Near Cashiers in the Nantahala National Forest, the Panthertown Valley has 30 miles of horseback riding trails over 6,700 acres. It is known as the Yosemite of the East due to the number of granite domes and waterfalls.
West of Greensboro near Connelly Springs, the 13,000 acre South Mountains State Park is located in the heart of the rugged South Mountains. The park includes elevations up to 3,000 feet, a waterfall dropping 80 feet and more than 29 miles of horseback riding trails.