Clear Creek Ranch offers all the hands-on horsieness of a typical dude ranch but at laid back, and budget friendly rates.
Clear Creek Ranch, NC
$$ – Budget
Dude ranch vacations aren’t for the faint of heart—early morning rides and cattle herding is fun, but also a heck of a lot of work. For those looking for a horseback riding vacation experience that’s more at a trot than a gallop, there’s Clear Creek Ranch.
Located in the Pisgah National Forest in the northwest corner of North Carolina, the small, well-run ranch is serious about horses. They’re also serious about fun: Marshmallow roasts are a part of the official cuisine. Weekly all-family rodeos are a highlight of the summer program. And giving the horses their own custom paint jobs is an official (and favorite) Clear Creek activity. There’s also a real teepee for kids to play in, line dancing, fishing, hiking and biking…the list of extra-horsericular activities really does go on and on.
That said, it’s really the horses that take center stage. Clear Creek is home to 40+ “happy horses” and its clear that visitors and staff alike love and respect each and every one of the four-legged residents. That love is seen in the custom-tailoring of horse to guest. The right horse, the right temperament, the right trails and training—that’s what brings horse lovers back again and again. And no matter if you’re a newbie who’s only saddling up for a few hours a day or an experienced rider heading out for challenging, multi-hour rides, everyone experiences the beauty of the Smoky Mountains from horseback, a pretty spectacular vantage point.
Accommodations are simple and spacious with just enough southern hospitality to make you feel right at home. Let’s saddle up ya’ll.