Pisgah National Forest, spanning over 500,000 acres in western North Carolina, offers breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and a plethora of outdoor activities. For horse enthusiasts, the forest boasts an extensive network of horse trails that wind through dense forests, cross picturesque streams, and lead to stunning mountain vistas. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the best horse trails at Pisgah National Forest. Here, we have narrowed down some of the standout trails that guarantee an unforgettable equestrian adventure.
1. Daniel Ridge Loop Trail: Located near Brevard, Daniel Ridge Loop Trail offers a moderate 5.2-mile loop trail that is perfect for horseback riding. This trail winds through lush forests and follows alongside the pristine Daniel Ridge Creek. Riders will enjoy a variety of terrain, from easy to moderate slopes, with several natural water features along the way. The breathtaking views of Daniel Ridge Falls provide a delightful reward at the trail's halfway point.
2. Sycamore Cove Trail: A hidden gem within Pisgah National Forest, the Sycamore Cove Trail showcases some of the most scenic views in the area. This 9.3-mile trail is moderately strenuous and features dense woodlands, wildflower-filled meadows, and beautiful creek crossings. Riders will encounter awe-inspiring panoramic vistas, including the majestic Looking Glass Rock, which visibly looms large in the distance.
3. Big Creek Trail: If you are looking for an immersive equestrian experience, head to the Big Creek Trail, situated in the northwest corner of Pisgah National Forest. This 6-mile trail, which is part of the Appalachian Trail, winds along the Big Creek, offering riders stunning views of cascading waterfalls and serene pools. The trail's easy-to-moderate difficulty level makes it suitable for riders of all skill levels.
4. Farlow Gap Trail: For more experienced riders seeking a thrilling adventure, the Farlow Gap Trail is the trail to conquer. This challenging 8.7-mile trail winds through the Shining Rock Wilderness area, taking riders to beautiful overlooks and through dense forests. With its steep ascents and descents, rocky terrain, and technical sections, this trail is best suited for advanced riders and well-conditioned horses.
5. Trace Ridge Trail: Located in the Middle Prong Wilderness, the Trace Ridge Trail offers a diverse and enjoyable riding experience. Stretching for 6.5 miles, this moderate trail takes riders through dense forests, open meadows, and lush valleys. Riders will also encounter several creek crossings, adding to the scenic beauty of the trail. The stunning views of the surrounding mountains make this trail a must-ride for any equestrian enthusiast.
Before embarking on any trail in Pisgah National Forest, it is essential to be well-prepared. Ensure that your horse is adequately trained and conditioned for the terrain, carry necessary supplies like water, snacks, and first aid kits, and be prepared for variable weather conditions. Additionally, always follow the forest's guidelines, including obtaining any required permits or passes.
Pisgah National Forest is a paradise for horseback riders, offering a wide array of trails suitable for all riding abilities. Whether you prefer a leisurely ride along a babbling creek or a challenging adventure through rugged terrain, the forest has something to offer every equestrian enthusiast. So saddle up and explore the stunning horse trails at Pisgah National Forest – an unforgettable experience awaits you and your equine companion.