Tuesday ยท July 11, 2023
Cherokee National Forest: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

Exploring the great outdoors on horseback is an exhilarating experience, and for horse enthusiasts, Cherokee National Forest offers some of the most breathtaking and diverse trails in the United States. Nestled in the heart of Tennessee, this enchanting forest offers a plethora of stunning horse trails that cater to all levels of riders. Whether you are seeking a leisurely ride along scenic riverbanks or an adventurous trek through rugged mountain terrain, Cherokee National Forest has something for everyone. In this article, we will highlight the top horse trails in Cherokee National Forest that are sure to captivate both your heart and your horse's spirit.


1. Big Frog Mountain Trail:

If you're up for a challenging ride that comes with stunning panoramic views, then the Big Frog Mountain Trail is the perfect choice. Located in the southern portion of the Cherokee National Forest, this trail leads through lush forests and up to the summit of Big Frog Mountain. As you ascend, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail is approximately 11 miles long and offers a mix of single track and old logging roads, making it ideal for intermediate to advanced riders.


2. Benton Falls Horse Trail:

For a more relaxed and family-friendly ride, the Benton Falls Horse Trail is an excellent option. This trail meanders through the peaceful forest, passing by a beautiful waterfall and crossing several creeks, providing ample opportunities for your horse to cool off. The trail is relatively easy, making it suitable for riders of all skill levels. After a leisurely ride, you can take a break at Benton Falls, a 65-foot cascading waterfall, where you and your horse can enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.


3. Cherohala Skyway:

If you're looking for a scenic drive that is also horse-friendly, the Cherohala Skyway is an unbeatable choice. This 43-mile national scenic byway traverses the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, offering stunning vistas of mountains, meadows, and forests. Several pull-off areas along the way provide parking and access to the forest trails. You can choose from shorter loops or longer rides, with various options depending on your time and experience level.


4. Indian Boundary Recreation Area:

For a true equestrian campground experience with ample trails nearby, head to the Indian Boundary Recreation Area. This family-friendly campground offers modern amenities, such as horse stalls, a wash station, and easy access to numerous trails. The campground is situated around a beautiful lake, providing a serene setting for your equestrian adventures. From here, you can explore various scenic trails, including the nearby Bald River Falls Trail and the Starr Mountain Horse Trail.


5. Chestnut Mountain Horse Trail:

For those seeking a challenging trail with varying terrain, the Chestnut Mountain Horse Trail is a must-visit. This 15-mile loop trail winds through picturesque forests, meandering streams, and steep hillsides, allowing riders to experience the diverse landscapes of Cherokee National Forest. The trail provides stunning vistas and opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. It is recommended for intermediate to advanced riders due to the trail's varying conditions and elevation changes.


Before setting out on any of these horse trails, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the forest's rules and regulations. Ensure you have a sturdy, well-fitted saddle, appropriate tack, and plenty of water for both you and your equine companion. Also, be mindful of the trail conditions and weather, as they can change rapidly in this mountainous region.


In conclusion, Cherokee National Forest is a haven for horse lovers, boasting a wide array of trails that cater to riders of all skill levels. From challenging mountain trails with breathtaking views to peaceful rides through serene forests and alongside picturesque waterfalls, there is a trail to suit every adventurer's preferences. So saddle up, explore the beauty of this national treasure, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy trails!