horses in Cades Cove
January 31, 2023

The Cades Cove Riding Stables is preparing to open for another exciting season at the beginning of March, so don’t miss the chance to enjoy this family-friendly destination! This is the only national park-authorized riding stables of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cades Cove, and they offer several unique ways to experience the stunning beauty of the Cades Cove section of the park! Here are 3 fun activities at Cades Cove Riding Stables for the whole family:

1. Guided Trail Rides

woman riding a horse in the Smoky Mountains

If you always wanted to explore Cades Cove by horseback, this is your chance! The Cades Cove Riding Stables offers guided trail rides that depart continually throughout the day and are about 1 hour in length. The trail rides are kept with a maximum of 9 riders per group, so this makes riding with your guide like riding with one of your friends! The horses that you’ll be riding have been handpicked for their calm temperament, athletic ability, and willingness to please, and each horse is matched with your experience and skill level. You’ll also receive an orientation so that you feel comfortable with your horse before heading out on the trail! Safety helmets are recommended for all riders, which are provided free of charge.

2. Guided Carriage Rides

Another one of the fun activities at the stables for the whole family is a carriage ride! If you’re not up for horseback riding, this is the perfect alternative as you simply can sit back, relax and enjoy your very own horse-drawn carriage ride! Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the gorgeous forest trails of Cades Cove while sharing the history of the area and pointing out the native plant and animal life! The carriage rides are approximately 30 to 45 minutes in length and depart regularly throughout the day. Note that while there is no age or weight limit, the number of passengers is limited to a maximum of 6 people.

3. Guided Hayrides

horses grazing in Cades Cove

The most enjoyable way to explore the famous Cades Cove Loop Road is with one of the hayrides at the Cades Cove Riding Stables! You’ll hop aboard a comfortable truck-pulled trailer filled with hay and set off on the road, where you’ll be surrounded by preserved 19th and early 20th-century farming communities. Keep your eyes open as Cades Cove is a fabulous area for wildlife viewing, so you might catch a glimpse of white-tailed deer, raccoon, or even the park’s famous black bear! The hayride is fully narrated, so the guides will entertain you with the tales of the early settlers and how they made a living from the land while creating a new community. The hayrides last between 1.5 and 3 hours depending upon the traffic on the road, and there are at least 3 rides daily throughout the season.

Now that you know about some of the fun activities you can look forward to at Cades Cove Riding Stables, learn about the fascinating history of Cades Cove to prepare for your visit!