5 of the Best Horseback Riding Experiences in Pigeon Forge, TN


Planning a Pigeon Forge vacation and want that true mountain experience? Schedule a day for horseback riding through the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a great way to see the Smokies up close, bond with a beautiful animal, and experience how travel used to be in the Appalachians. Plus, many horse riding stables have fun extras, like petting zoos, pony rides for small kids, ziplining, fishing, gem mining, carriage rides, and hayrides! 

When a day on a ride means cool mountain breezes, a variety of wildlife, and a backdrop of rolling hills, fields of wildflowers, and tree-studded mountains in the distance, it’s no wonder horseback riding is so popular in and around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Riding horses on your family vacation, romantic getaway, trip with friends, or business retreat should be enjoyable and memorable, so we’ve put together a list of the 5 best horseback riding experiences in the Pigeon Forge area! 

1. Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa

Looking for a place to spend a day playing and relaxing in the great outdoors? Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa is perfect for you! Their horseback rides follow a 3½-mile trail through the enchanting mountains, and with 80+ horses of varying strengths, there’s no weight limit. Safety helmets are available upon request, and small children can ride V.I.P. There’s a loading ramp so you won’t have to worry about lugging yourself upwards to reach your ride. The stables are well maintained and kept clean, and they have a 5-star safety rating from Gillingham & Associates. 

Along with guided horseback riding, you can check out the petting zoo, go pond fishing, visit the charming heritage museum, mine for gems, have a picnic, grab a bite from Chow Boys Cafe, and stop by the General Store for souvenirs — all on the ranch! It’s an awesome place for a full day of fun outside, with family, friends, and horses. 

Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa
Operates: year-round, weather permitting
909 Little Cove Road
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

2. Five Oaks Riding Stables

Ride along cascading streams, through towering trees, and past stunning Smoky Mountain views when you opt to go horseback riding at Five Oaks Riding Stables. The guided ride lasts about an hour and covers a 3½-mile trail. While reconnecting with nature, you’ll hear about the area from an experienced guide and even glimpse a neat, authentic moonshine still from the past. 

Tandem riding is allowed with small kids (ages 3-5), and group rates are available. You must be under 270 pounds to ride during normal conditions and under 225 if it’s rainy or wet so the horses aren’t overworked. Best of all, Five Oaks also features ziplining, and you can combine your tickets for more outdoor fun and a better deal!

Take a sneak peek at the Five Oaks horseback riding trail!

Five Oaks Riding Stables
Operates: year-round, weather permitting
1630 Parkway
Sevierville, TN 37862

3. Goldrush Stables

Conveniently located about 4 miles from Parkway attractions and nestled across from Dollywood and Splash Country, you can play in town, ride roller coasters, swim under the sun, then take a leisurely horseback ride through the hills of Pigeon Forge at Goldrush Stables. With acreage in the Loveday family since 1909, these guides know their 5 nature trails forwards and backward and love taking visitors along. 

On these fun guided trail rides, you’ll travel through a shallow creek, between stretching trees, into the hollow, past rolling pastures, and up mountainsides, where you can take incredible photos of the scenery. Riders must be 250 pounds or under to ride, and children between the ages of 3 and 5 can ride tandem. 

Goldrush Stables
Operates: year-round, weather permitting
2202 Goldrush Road
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

4. Deer Farm Riding Stables

Oh, deer! If you want to ride horses and love animals — you have to check out Deer Farm Riding Stables. Not only do they offer horseback riding near Pigeon Forge, TN, they also feature pony rides and a petting zoo with animals like Rocky Mountain elk, reindeer, emu, donkeys, kangaroos, miniature horses, and camels. You can even feed, pet, and walk among a herd of precious Fallow and Sika deer!

Back to riding horses, you can lead even your littlest on an adorable pony along an easy path. Of course, there’s also guided trail riding for older kids (ages 5+) and adults that’s great for any level, and tandem riding is allowed for small children. The trails feature views of the Smoky Mountains and are quite woodsy and mostly covered in shade so you can beat the heat on horseback. Helmets are available upon request, 250 pounds is the weight limit, and there’s a loading dock to make getting on and off your horse easy-peasy. 

Check out this unique farm!

Deer Farm Riding Stables
Operates: year-round, weather permitting
478 Happy Hollow Lane
Sevierville, TN 37876

5. Horseback Riding in the National Park 

One of the best horseback riding experiences in the Pigeon Forge area has to be in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park — with about 550 miles of trails for horses. Multiple stables focus on quality time with happy horses in the mountains. You can even bring your own horse to ride! Trail rides, including carriage rides and hayrides, usually take place from mid-March through November

  • Cades Cove Riding Stables 

See historic structures, wandering wildlife (like foxes, turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bears), and beautiful valley scenes on an intimate 1-hour trail ride with up to 9 riders. Carriage rides and group hayrides are also available, so you can experience Cades Cove more intimately. Horseback riders must be at least 6 years old and have a maximum weight of 250 pounds.

Cades Cove Riding Stables
10018 Campground Drive
Townsend, TN 37882

  • Smokemont Riding Stables 

At just over an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge, this horse riding facility is well worth the easy trip! Ride across the Oconaluftee River, go through a tunnel, and around a mountain. Opt for the waterside route to the Chasteen Creek Waterfall. Or take a 4-hour journey on horseback through woods, alongside creeks, and by 2 cascades. They also have historic wagon rides available. Horseback riders must be under 240 pounds and at least 5 years of age.

Smokemont Riding Stables
135 Smokemont Riding Stable Road
Cherokee, NC 28719

  • Smoky Mountain Riding Stables

Go horseback riding in the peaceful setting of the Smokies, where you just might spot a few wild turkeys, a herd of grazing deer, or black bear cubs. The 40+ trail horses are well trained and experienced on the rougher mountain terrain, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride, with a knowledgeable guide to lead the way. Riders must be at least 5 years of age and under 225 pounds.

Smoky Mountain Riding Stables

1720 East Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

  • Sugarlands Riding Stables

Experience the Great Smoky Mountains on a leisurely horseback ride with Sugarlands Riding Stables. Eager to escort visitors through beautiful woods and to impressive mountain scenes, the guides are waiting for you. Large groups are welcome, and you must be at least 4 years old and less than 225 pounds to ride. 

Sugarlands Riding Stables
1409 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Other Horseback Riding Stables in the Smokies

Our list of the best horseback riding in Pigeon Forge, TN, can’t include all the local stables. But if you need more options, then check out the rest below.  Some even have additional outdoor activities!

  • Jayell Ranch 
  • Davy Crockett Riding Stables 
  • Next to Heaven Ranch — ziplining and unguided horseback rides
  • French Broad Outpost Ranch — overnight cattle drives, whitewater rafting, square dancing, hiking, and more (1+ hours drive)

Trail Riding Tips

  1. While trail riding horses are well trained, being aware of general horse behavior can help make your experience more enjoyable. They are prey animals and can spook if startled, so remember to take the ride slow and steady.
  2. If you notice anything that seems out of place or unusual, don’t be afraid to speak up and let your guide know. Just in case is always better than…a bad experience. 
  3. Horses may be big animals, but they are quite gentle souls. When you pet, keep this in mind. Hard taps and slaps aren’t the way to go…
  4. It’s important to listen to all instructions before and during your ride, no matter how distractingly adorable your horse is!
  5. Wearing closed-toed shoes is a must on the trail — and almost always a requirement. They help keep your feet steady in the stirrups and protected from any accidents at the stables. 

More Outdoor Fun in Pigeon Forge

Beyond horseback riding, Pigeon Forge offers plenty of outdoor fun. You can hit the trails for a day of hiking, play miniature golf, go fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, check out the historic buildings in Cades Cove, duel zipline at Anakeesta, find a swimming hole on a hot day, or go whitewater rafting with River Rage Tubing

Pigeon Forge TN Cabins

After a day of trail riding and outdoor activities in the Great Smoky Mountains, head back to your cozy cabin to relax, unwind, and recharge. Whether you’re in Pigeon Forge for a retreat or reunion, a birthday trip with friends, a secret elopement, a solo getaway, or a family vacation, Pigeon Forge TN Cabins has you covered! 

From 1-2 bedroom charmers to spacious large group lodges, we have cabins for 1-60+ guests. Amenities include private indoor pools, outdoor hot tubs, big screen TVs, game tables and arcade units, fireplaces and firepits, full kitchens, free high speed Wi-Fi, theater rooms with projectors, king and queen beds, indoor jetted tubs, saunas, community pool access, mountain views, and MORE!

Ready to plan your memorable stay in the Great Smoky Mountains? Book your cabin online or give us a call at 1.866.513.7885 today. Get ready to live the Pigeon Forge life, kicking back at your log cabin and riding horses across the breathtaking mountainsides!