As part of our "trying new things challenge', my husband surprised me with a trip to Leatherwood Mountains. This beautiful resort/equine center is located in Ferguson, NC with gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When we arrived he told me that he had booked us a 2-hour trail ride on the horses! How fun!
When we arrived, the staff were setting up seating for a wedding that was to be held there that evening! After parking, we signed our waivers, chose our helmets and a received a briefing on basic horse-riding safety. Our guide Katie helped us mount our horses and we got started with our ride! My horse was named Webby, and Gabe was on a mule named Cayenne Pepper. Katie led us first through the meadow for a little while, then we reached the trails and started riding up. I was a little nervous, having only ridden horses a few times before, but the horses did not go faster than a walk and were fairly compliant, except for the times when they saw some delicious weeds they wanted to snag along the way!
Because of all the recent rain, there was a lot of mud on the trails and it was a little bit of bumpy ride, so we didn’t take pictures while up in the higher elevation areas since we were holding on and guiding the horses more. We encountered a family of deer laying down in a meadow, and several deer along the trails as well, which was so neat! We also passed several of the rental properties and saw some guests relaxing in the hot tubs, enjoying breathtaking views of the mountains from their cabins. We would definitely love to come back to enjoy one of these cabins for a romantic getaway! It was a beautiful and relaxing way to spend an afternoon in nature, and I imagine it will only get prettier as the leaves continue to take on their Fall colors in the coming month.
Our guide recommended we try some of the delicious comfort food on the menu in their restaurant, so we wished we had been there at meal time to try a burger and their Mac N Cheese Bites! Beside the restaurant, they have a small gift shop with some trail snacks and unique souvenirs from the area, so definitely check that out as well.
For those interested in the trails, you’re allowed to bring your own horse to explore the property without a guide or time limit. For the guided trail rides, they have both 1 and 2-hour rides available. The 1-hour ride stays in the meadow (flat) area only, so it won’t take you up on the more adventurous trails that you will find on the 2-hour ride. I like that they have options for whatever your riding preference is. If you’re not a horse person but still want to get away to the mountains for the weekend, you might enjoy their upcoming Oktoberfest Celebration!
My advice if you go riding there:
- Dress warmly – even on a bright sunny day, it was cool in the shade of the forest trails
- Hydrate before your ride
- Go when the restaurant is open to enjoy a meal there before/afterward
- Wear thick jeans or riding pants and boots – you’ll be grateful when you go through branches/weeds
Thanks for reading about our mountain experience. I hope this inspires you to go explore the High Country of NC, whether it be Ferguson, Boone, Asheville or somewhere else!