Tuesday ยท February 6, 2024
South Mountains State Park: A Haven for Equine Adventures
Author: Admin
South Mountains Camp Horse Campsite in North Carolina | Top Horse Trails

In the heart of Burke County, where the undulating landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains meet the inviting foothills, South Mountains State Park stands as an equestrian haven, beckoning riders to embark on a journey into the heart of nature. Just 55 miles east of Asheville, this park transcends the ordinary, offering an unrivaled backcountry experience.

Elevations that Soar, Trails that Beckon

With elevations reaching a majestic 3,000 feet, South Mountains State Park unfolds as a vast playground for outdoor enthusiasts. A tapestry of nearly 50 miles of trails crisscrosses the terrain, creating a paradise for hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers alike. Every trail tells a story, leading adventurers through dense woodlands, beside bubbling creeks, and to scenic overlooks that unveil the breathtaking beauty of the region.

Nature's Cascading Symphony: High Shoals Falls

Amidst this natural wonderland, the crown jewel is the High Shoals Falls, an 80-foot cascade that adds a symphony of nature's music to the park's allure. The sound of rushing water becomes a companion to the rhythmic hoofbeats of horses, creating a sensory experience that transcends the ordinary.

Water Adventures: Jacob Fork River and Clear Creek

For those seeking aquatic adventures, the Jacob Fork River awaits, its waters designated as trout haven for fishing enthusiasts. To the far west, the Clear Creek access introduces visitors to a picturesque lake that mirrors the serenity of its surroundings. Here, water recreation becomes a complementary chapter in the diverse tale of South Mountains State Park.

A Haven for Four-Legged Companions

South Mountains State Park isn't merely a destination; it's a haven for equestrians. Horseback riders find a plethora of trails to explore, each offering a unique perspective of the park's beauty. The bond between rider and horse deepens amidst the whispering pines and open meadows, creating memories that linger long after the hoofprints fade.

Come, and discover South Mountains State Park—a realm where the spirit of adventure is as boundless as the mountain vistas, and every trail invites you to embark on a journey into the heart of the wilderness.


South Mountains Camp offers the following facilities and amenities:

  • Amphitheater
  • Auditorium and classroom
  • Picnic shelter
  • Visitor center and exhibits
  • Bathhouse
  • Horse trailer parking (at Jacob Fork and Clear Creek)
  • Tent sites (including backpacking sites)
  • Trailer and RV sites (some with electric hookups)
  • Equestrian campsites
  • Showers
  • Fire Ring W/Grill
  • Firewood 
  • Equestrian Trails
  • Barn-Sawdust Bedding 


The amenities listed, except horse trailer parking, are available only at Jacob Fork access. Clear Creek has horse-trailer parking and no other amenities at this time.


Activities at Jacob Fork: Hiking (47 miles), Biking (17 miles), Horseback riding (35 miles), Fishing, Picnicking

Activities at Clear Creek: Hiking (3.5 miles), Horseback riding (2 miles), Paddling, Fishing


Cost Details:

  • Primitive - $12.00
  • Picnic Shelter - $105.00
  • Horse Stall - $12.00-$17.00
  • Equestrian Electric - $23.00
  • Campsite Non-Electric - $23.00
  • Campsite Electric - $28.00



  • Camping facilities are located at the Jacob Fork access only. There are currently no camping facilities at Clear Creek access.
  • There are no fees required to access South Mountains State Park for day use. Fees are charged for camping, certain, event permits, and facility reservations. 
  • Reservation: 1-877-722-6762
  • Contact Details:  828-433-4772 & south.mountains@ncparks.gov


If you want to discover and explore other campsites and horse trails, here are some of them that you may visit:

SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK - Chestnut Knob, Sawtooth, Horseridge, Possum and Shinny Trail Loop

South Mountain Standard Reverse



South Mountains Camp does require reservations for overnight accommodations. Please visit their page here on Top Horse Trails - South Mountains Camp for more information.