[Updated September 6, 2023] For many people, horseback riding in Asheville NC is the ideal weekend getaway.
For those looking to explore the North Carolina mountains on horseback, we’ve put together an extensive list of riding companies and equestrian trails for horseback riding in Asheville NC and nearby.
Whether you’re traveling with your own horses in a trailer or seeking a guided horseback riding tour while on vacation, these are some of the top places for riding horses near Asheville.
READ MORE: The 30 Best Things to Do in Asheville NC
Horseback Riding In/Near Asheville NC Guide
(Arranged geographically and alphabetically)
- Biltmore Estate Equestrian Center (Asheville)
- Blue Ridge Horse Adventures (Spruce Pine)
- Hobbit Hill Farm & Stables (Alexander)
- Pegasus Hill Farm (Alexander)
- Sandy Bottom Trails (Marshall)
- Smoky Mountain Trail Rides (Marshall)
- The Stables at Bucktown (Burnsville)
- Willow Pond Stables (Arden)
- Cedar Creek Stables (Lake Lure)
- Dupont State Recreational Forest
- Pisgah Forest Stables (Pisgah National Forest)
- Saddle Up Trail Rides (Pisgah National Forest)
- Shea Rose Farm (Etowah)
- Shoal Creek Farm (Hendersonville)
- Dutch Creek Trails (Vilas)
- Banner Elk Stables (Banner Elk)
- Carriage Run Carriage Service (Blowing Rock)
- Doughton Park (Laurel Springs)
- Stone Mountain State Park (Roaring Gap)
- VX3 Trail Rides (Blowing Rock)
- Carolina Bound Adventures Horseback Riding (Bryson City)
- Deep Creek Horse Camp (Bryson City)
- Nantahala Village Riding Stables (Bryson City)
- Nantahala National Forest
- Smokemont Riding Stable (Cherokee)
Horseback Riding Close to Asheville NC
1. Biltmore Estate Equestrian Center
One Lodge Street, Asheville NC • 828-225-6398
The famous Biltmore Estate– the former home of philanthropist George Washington Vanderbilt– offers private two-hour excursions for horseback riding in Asheville NC.
Theirs are the only Asheville horseback riding tours within the city limits, exploring the trails of the historic property.
In order to go on this ride, participants need a Biltmore day pass or annual pass or an overnight room at the estate.
All horseback riding tour reservations should be made at least a couple of days in advance.
2. Blue Ridge Horse Adventures
PO Box 428, Spruce Pine NC • 828-460-2165
For a unique horse experience, Blue Ridge Horse Adventures offers half-day farm tours, including non-riding interactions with their horses.
Equestrian enthusiasts will get a chance to brush, pet, and walk with the horses through a wildflower-strewn meadow.
It’s also possible to book stays for time with therapy horses and take beginner or advanced horse-riding lessons.
Spruce Pine NC is 50 miles northeast of Asheville, and 8 miles north of the unique tourist town of Little Switzerland.
3. Hobbit Hill Farm & Stables
223 Cody Embler Rd, Alexander NC • 828-808-7929
Located about 8 miles west of Weaverville in the small town of Alexander NC, Hobbit Hill encompasses 75 acres that includes stables, facilities, camp, and a horseback riding trail system.
In short, there’s an awful lot of things to do at the farm, which offers extensive boarding and training options.
Their summer camps are extensive and perfect for kids. Even if they’re not entirely sure about horses, they also have fun arts and crafts activities.
The stable is also big on shows and events, participating in many every year, and they sell horses as well.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Hotels in Asheville NC to Visit
4. Pegasus Hill Farm
217 Flint Hill Rd, Alexander NC • 828-337-7993
Located about 20 minutes north of Asheville (near Weaverville NC), Pegasus Hill Farm has beautiful rolling hills that make it as pretty as a picture.
It’s a great place to stable your horse, but you can also take horseback riding lessons there.
Although this farm does not offer trail rides, there are still unforgettable experiences available, including spectacular boarding amenities, training packages, and show coaching for competitors.
Their lessons are catered to each student’s needs and ambitions, and are offered to riders of all ages and ability levels, from beginner children and adults to intermediate and advanced.
5. Sandy Bottom Trails
1459 Caney Fork Road, Marshall NC • 828-649-3464
Sandy Bottom Trails offers 1-hour, 2-hour, and 3-hour tours for horseback riding near Asheville.
The 3-hour ride includes a stop for a picnic and a chance to try your hand at gem mining for treasures at the Little Pine Gem Mine.
Even though the terrain varies quite a bit on the rides, the gentle trails are easy enough for beginners of all ages.
READ MORE: The 15 Best VRBO Cabins in Asheville NC
6. Smoky Mountain Trail Rides
1959 Walnut Road, Marshall NC • 828-768-9339
Located 30 minutes from Asheville, Smoky Mountain Trail Rides (which is part of a Bison farm) has trails running throughout their 550-acre property.
The rides are mostly shaded by stately oak trees, climbing from high hilltops down into valleys and providing overlooks of the Eastern Smoky Mountains.
Camping on the property includes a campfire and hot meal.
7. The Stables at Bucktown
5904 Bald Mountain, Burnsville NC • 828-678-9370
Formerly known as Wolf Laurel Stables, The Stables at Bucktown is located in the charming town of Burnsville NC, about 40 minutes north of Asheville.
The Stables offer 1-hour and 2-hour horseback riding tours through the forest that surrounds the property.
Equestrian therapy is also available, and children can get 30-minute horse riding lessons in the facility’s arena.
“Barn Time” is another option here, offer non-riders a chance to meet some of the stable’s friendly residents.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Burnsville NC
8. Willow Pond Stables
50 Lance Rd, Arden NC • 828-684-0447
Located 14 miles south of Asheville, near the mountain town of Arden, Willow Pond Stables is a family-owned and operated business focused on horse boarding and Western-style riding lessons.
Their vivid green pastures look like something out of a storybook, with a Peaked Prairie-style barn at the heart of the gorgeous property.
They have a bunch of great testimonials from happy customers, which stand as a testament to the quality of their instructors and the services they provide.
Willow Pond Stables is open on weekdays from 10 AM to 5:30 PM, but note that they’re closed on weekends.
Horseback Riding in Hendersonville NC
9. Cedar Creek Stables
542 Cedar Creek Road, Lake Lure NC • 828-625-2811
Cedar Creek Stables offers 1-hour and 1.5-hour rides that include a creek and mountain trails.
They’re located in Lake Lure, which is famous as a filming location for Dirty Dancing and one of the best lakes in North Carolina.
The horse trails here meander through thickets of North Carolina Wildflowers (including rhododendron and mountain laurel), with plenty of fresh air and shade.
Their horseback riding tours have a minimum age of 7 and a maximum weight of 240 pounds. They’re well-suited for first-timers, including an instructional lesson before departure.
For those who are new to or nervous about riding, The Stables at Bucktown offers private 1-hour lessons as well.
10. Dupont State Recreational Forest
Guion Farm Access Area (Sky Valley Road) or Lake Imagining Access Area (Staton Road) • 828-877-6527
For those with their own horses, the Dupont State Recreational Forest has miles of multi-use trails that are open to equestrian riders.
One of the best horse routes in the forest includes several mountain lakes and creeks.
Coggins Papers (a test for Equine Infectious Anemia) are required for all horses. There are random checks in the parking lot, and visitors without papers will be asked to leave.
11. Pisgah Forest Stables
Pisgah National Forest NC • 828-883-8258
Pisgah National Forest has dozens of miles of horse trails available to those traveling with their own animals, as well as guided horse tours for those looking to rent.
Pisgah Forest Stables offers rides through the national forest, including a 1-hour ride to Perry Cove, and 2-hour or 2.5-hour rides up to the tops of some stunning North Carolina mountains.
They also have pony rides available for younger riders.
Pisgah Forest Stables is open seasonally, from April 1 to October 31, and operates six days a week (Monday through Saturday).
All of their guides are First Aid and CPR-certified.
12. Saddle Up Trail Rides
Pisgah National Forest NC • 828-768-9025
Rather than riding on a private site, customers of Saddle Up Trail Rides explore the North Mills River and Turkey Pen areas of the Pisgah National Forest.
Saddle Up has 1-hour, 2-hour, and 2.5-hour guided horse rides to choose from. The 1-hour ride is dry, while the other two rides both have water crossings added to the trip.
Riders at Saddle Up need to be at least 10 years old and weigh under 240 pounds. Rides are given by reservation only.
13. Shea Rose Farm
410 Eade Rd, Etowah NC • 704-578-9020
Located 11 miles west of Hendersonville in the small town of Etowah NC, Shea Rose Farm has extensive horseback riding lesson options.
This family-friendly farm offers something for riders of almost every age and skill level.
They have a unique horseback riding opportunity, where they spend the night out on the trail to get the authentic feel.
The farm also offers customizable birthday party packages, which are great for kids who have an affinity for horses.
Check out their summer camp for kids, which offer a fantastic opportunity to learn about horses in-depth!
14. Shoal Creek Farm
31 Hickory Mountain Ln, Hendersonville NC • 828-551-2225
Located just outside DuPont State Forest, about 13 miles southwest of Hendersonville, Shoal Creek Farm is an excellent place to take horseback riding lessons.
They offer both English and Western-style instruction, as well as excellent boarding options. But note that their prices do fluctuate at certain times of the year.
Shoal Creek also has a cool 1920s farmhouse on their property that can be rented for weekend getaways in NC.
During the summer, they also offer day camps for kids to help them get more comfortable around horses.
READ MORE: The 20 Best NC Swimming Holes for Summer
Horseback Riding in Boone NC
15. Dutch Creek Trails
793 Rubin Walker Rd, Vilas NC • 828-297-7117
Horseback riding near Boone NC is easily accessed at Dutch Creek Trails, in the tiny town of Vilas.
These are basically horse trails through the woods and fields of the NC High Country.
Guided horseback riding tours take a little over an hour, so they’re great for a quick trip, with plenty to see and hear about farm life in the NC Mountains.
Wagon rides are also available upon request, and the cowboy lifestyle is a big part of the attraction here.
READ MORE: 20 Best Things to Do in Boone NC
16. Banner Elk Stables
796 Shomaker Road, Banner Elk NC • 828-898-5424
Located near Beech Mountain (which is famous for snow skiing in North Carolina), Banner Elk Stables has a fleet of horses to take visitors around the wilderness.
Some of their gorgeous horses have appeared in major films such as Shallow Hal, Cinderella, and National Treasure.
Guests are also welcome to take photos with Banner Elk’s only water buffalo, Bruno.
This is a family-friendly ride/company that requires advance reservations, and tries to offer a memorable horseback riding experience for family vacations.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk NC
Horseback Riding in Blowing Rock NC
17. Carriage Run Carriage Service
1 Bass Lake Drive, Blowing Rock NC • 704-600-5403
For those who are not interested in horseback riding, but would like a more passive experience, Carriage Run Carriage Service has you covered.
The Blowing Rock-based company offers horse carriage rides on well-maintained routes.
Leaving from Bass Lake at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, their horse carriage rides last approximately 2.5 hours.
Departures are available in both the morning and the evening, making them a great choice for romantic sunset rides.
18. Doughton Park
49800 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Laurel Springs NC • 828-348-3487
It’s located on Grassy Gap Fire Road, along Grassy Creek, and is designed for people who have their own horses.
The trail can be accessed via Longbottom Road, which lies at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hikers are also allowed on the trail, but motorized vehicles and bicycles are strictly prohibited.
19. Stone Mountain State Park
3042 Frank Parkway, Roaring Gap NC • 336-957-8185
About five miles down Longbottom Road from Doughton Park, Stone Mountain State Park also has a great equestrian trails for horse owners.
The equestrian area is in the parking lot closest to Longbottom Road, where the road is still gravel.
There is a 2-mile loop, the Bridle Loop Trail, that can also be extended for an out-and-back ride along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Western North Carolina.
The Bridle Out-and-Back Trail offers a total four miles of beautiful horseback riding.
20. VX3 Trail Rides
PO Box 1154, Blowing Rock NC • 828-963-0260
Operating in a place that’s legendary among equestrian enthusiasts, Vx3 offers guided horse tours on the 30+ miles of trails at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.
Moses Cone Park is a premier place for horseback riding in the NC mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
In our opinion, the park is arguably the top spot for horseback riding in North Carolina!
VX3 offers customized 2.5-hour tours with a seasoned guide, Tim Vines, on well-trained horses and easy trails.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock NC
Horseback Riding in Bryson City
21. Carolina Bound Adventures Horseback Riding
35 Slope Street, Bryson City NC • 828-569-6699
A full-service adventure company in Bryson City, Carolina Bound Adventures can help with paddle boarding, train rides, mountain biking, and horse riding near Bryson City NC.
Guided horseback riding trips are available to kids over 5 years old and adults who weigh under 250 pounds.
All of their guided trips takes guests through the Nantahala National Forest, with 1-, 2-, and 3-hour tours available.
Note that same-day booking is not guaranteed, so it’s best to reserve in advance if your travel itinerary is tight.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Maggie Valley NC
22. Deep Creek Horse Camp
750 W. Deep Creek Road #11, Bryson City NC • 828-736-1270
Bryson City is a great place for families to vacation and explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Deep Creek Horse Camp is located just a mile from the Deep Creek trailhead, and they have all the necessary facilities for those traveling with horses.
Their campsites offer 30-amp hookups and water hookups, and the campground also has a full bathhouse with hot showers and toilets.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Waynesville NC
23. Nantahala Village Riding Stables
9400 Hwy 19 West, Bryson City, NC 28713 • 828-488-9649
Nantahala Village Riding Stables is located 9 miles west of Bryson City NC, offering rides near the Fontana Dam in the Nantahala National Forest.
There are 1-hour, 2-hour, 3-hour, and 4-hour guided horseback riding tours available, as well as all-day and overnight guided trips.
All of their tours offer magnificent views of Fontana Lake, one of the prettiest reservoirs in Western NC.
The stables are open from 9AM to 5PM, and customers are invited to visit anytime during business hours.
Horseback Riding in Cherokee NC
24. Nantahala National Forest
The Nantahala National Forest is riddled with equestrian trails and horse camps that are perfect for long-distance and overnight adventures.
It’s fun to investigate all the areas open to horseback riding, many of which offer facilities for taking horse-bound camping trips near Asheville.
These include the Tsali Recreation Area, the Standing Indian Area, the Fires Creek Area, and Harmon Den Horse Camp.
25. Smokemont Riding Stables
135 Smokemont Riding Stable Road, Cherokee NC • 828-497-2373
They offer several different rides, including a 3-mile trip on the Oconaluftee River, a 2.5-hour waterfall ride beside Chasteen Creek, a 4-hour ride along a creek with a few cascades, and wagon rides on Old Turnpike Road.
All of the Smokemont horses are seasoned and appropriate for beginning riders.
Note that all horse riders must be age 5 or older and weigh 240 pounds or less. –by Jonathon Engels; lead photo via Canva