NCNatural's NC National Forests
North Carolina National Forests
Forest Use Tips - Bikes & Horses

Some trails are open to horses and non-motorized bikes. Over 257 miles of trails are designated for mountain bikers. Some are open to bikes only from October 16 to April 14, when fewer hikers are on the same trails. A list of mountain bike trails is available from any National Forest office.

Favored areas for mountain biking include the Tsali Recreation Area in the Cheoh District of the Nantahala National Forest -a mecca for mountain bikers and horseback riders, the trails of Uwharrie National Forest, and the Golden Ridge Trail, Mill Ridge Trail and the trail along the Laurel River in the Pisgah Nat. Forest - Appalachian Dist., near Hot Springs. For some strenuous road riding, try the routes at Linville Gorge.

Horse Sense

For specific information on where to ride horses in North Carolina's National Forests, get the NFS brochure on horse trails (in PDF format).

Good areas for horseback riding are the Standing Indian Basin (southwest of Franklin) which offers horse camping at Hurricane Primitive Horse camp and Bristol Horse Camp, and Harmon Den (east of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I-40 near the Tennessee State line), which now also has a group horse camp. The Uwharrie National Forest also has horse camps with toilets, water, and hitching posts near Badin Lake and at Deep Water Trail Camp.

Riding on horseback extends the distance you can travel and can be a lot of fun. However, horses require special consideration. They can be hard on the trail because all their weight is concentrated on the small spot where their hooves rest. Horses' feeding and manure also make a big impact on the land, especially where you rest or camp. Here are some tips to lessen your impact:

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