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With hundreds of miles of multi-use trails between Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest, there are plenty of opportunities in Transylvania County to giddy up. Here’s The Adventurist’s round-up of horseback riding tips for Transylvania County.
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Whether you lack experience, equipment or an equine buddy, there’s no easier way to channel your inner cowboy than through Pisgah Stables. This professional outfitter can have the tenderest of tenderfoots saddled up and ready to hit the trail in no time. Proprietor Jimmy Dean has been riding in Pisgah National Forest for 21 years and offers a variety of trail options, from a 1-hour “Backwoods Ride” to a half-day “Waterfall Ride” that saunters up Buckhorn Gap to Twin Falls.
Directions: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest. Go north 2.2 miles. Turn right on FS 477. Go 2 miles. The stables will be on your right.
Have your own horse but want someone to help you get familiar with the local trails? Dale and Jan Sorrells are the folks to call. Together, they head up Mountain Horse Adventures, which offers trips in Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Park. This dedicated couple is deeply involved in the horse culture of western North Carolina. Together, they lead the Backcountry Horsemen of North Carolina and take an active role in the maintenance of horse trails in Pisgah National Forest. Both have been riding for years and offer guided trips custom designed for your interests — from one-day rides to multi-day backcountry trips to guided horseback fishing trips. You can find them at mtnhorseadventures.com.
He also recommends it for the many streams and rivers that crisscross the trails, making it easy to keep thirsty horses well watered. Dean cautions first timers to the area to be prepared for any weather conditions (thunderstorms can come up fast and without warning) and other trail users. The trails in Pisgah National Forest are multi-use, so keep your eye out for hikers and mountain bikers. But Dean praises the way that all these different users get along. “Most everyone has a lot of respect for each other. And most people understand you can’t spook a bike — but you can sure spook a horse.”