Horseback riding is an excellent way to experience the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Steeped in history, the isolated valley of Cades Cove in Tennessee contains an 11-mile ring road connected to miles of hiking and riding trails. Snaking through old pioneer and Native American settlements, the trails are full of wildlife and unspoilt scenery.
Guided horseback rides and tours are available from Anthony Creek Stables, which is the only authorized stable within Cades Cove. The guided tours offered here are suitable for riders of all levels and last about an hour. Children are welcome, though those under 16 are encouraged to wear a safety helmet. The tour takes visitors through pristine and protected parkland full of local wildlife where wild turkey and white-tailed deer sightings are a common occurrence. As a policy, tours only consist of up to 9 riders, so making reservations in advance is highly recommended.
Due to the weather, horseback riding is only available from mid-March through late November or early December each year. During this time period, the stables are open each day from 9:30am to 4:30pm with the exception of Thanksgiving Day. Age and weight restrictions apply.
One of the more relaxing ways to explore the mountainous forests of Cades Cove is with a carriage ride. Departing throughout the day from Anthony Creek Stables, carriage rides are an excellent choice for both couples and families of up to 6. There are no age or weight restrictions, making it a suitable alternative to horseback riding for smaller children and the elderly.
Lasting 30-45 minutes, passengers will have the opportunity to interact with their carriage horses and learn about their surrounding from their knowledgeable carriage guide. Due to it’s popularity, advanced reservations are recommended.
Hayrides are a great way to experience the full Cades Cove loop. Available from March – May and from August through to the end of the season, visitors of all ages are welcome to climb into hay-filled trailers and enjoy the 1.5-3 hour journey through the historic Cades Cove settlement. Fully narrated, tour guides provide insight into the history of the region and how its early settlers lived and worked the land. The ride will pass several historic locations and photography enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their cameras along for the ride.
Hayrides depart 3-4 times per day and are subject to a 15 person minimum and 65 person maximum. Reservations are not required for parties under 15 persons.
Popular throughout the season, Anthony Creek Stables transports its visitors back in time to when the area was a pioneer settlement. Here in this small, isolated valley within the Great Smoky Mountains, there is so much to discover. Exploring the area by hayride or horse provides a more authentic experience and also allows visitors to get closer to the native wildlife. Before heading out to the Cades Cove stables, bear in mind the advanced reservation recommendations and that all departures are subject to weather conditions.