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This is my horse, Tess. I've lived in Ridgetop Acres, one of the area's equestrian communities, for fifteen years. I ride often, and I've ridden all the trails so I know the area very well.

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Big South Fork is known as "The Trailriding Capital of the Southeast" for good reason; the trail system  spans the Tennessee/Kentucky border with 125,000 acres and 180 miles of trails And that's just the national park! East Fork Stables, just south of town, has 12,000+ acres and 100 miles of private trails which are available to their campers, to season-pass holders, and to day riders for a small fee. 

Big South Fork Trail Map

East Fork Stables Trail Map

As far as the riding itself, there's something here for everyone. Big South Fork is rugged country, to be sure, so horses need to be fit and should be shod or booted. But trails vary from wide, sandy roads where riders can ride side by side to wide woods roads to single-file trails through the woods. This area has old-growth forest so it's largely shaded during summer months and, up here on the Cumberland Plateau with 1,600 feet of altitude, it's five to ten degrees cooler than "down below."

The horses pictured below are fording the Big South Fork River at Station Camp Crossing, designated for just that purpose, in order to access trails on the Oneida side of the gorge.

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Big South Fork, Tennessee, is a destination for trail riders, and many who have come to ride in the Big South Fork National Park have come to stay. There are several equestrian communities here; each has its own unique characteristics.

The Highlands

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The Highlands at Big South Fork is a beautiful private gated residential equestrian community focused on trail riding and offering 35 miles of private trails in a planned community on 3,500 acres.
In Phases One, Two, and Three, lots range from a half-acre to two acres. Ownership includes two stalls and storage area in an Owners' Barn, and this is what makes The Highlands unique. There are no boarding fees. Eight-stall owners' barns have 12x12' stalls and walk-outs to allow horses to get

Big South Fork, Tennessee, is a destination for trail riders, and many who have come to ride in the Big South Fork National Park have come to stay. There are several equestrian communities here; each has its own unique characteristics.

The Highlands

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outside in the sun and rain if they want. Spacious storage areas are provided for tack, hay, feed, and stall-cleaning tools. When you invite your guests to ride The Highlands private trails with you, they'll be keeping their horses at the gorgeous 12-stall timber frame Guest Barn during their stay with you. Phase Four in The Highlands is an exciting new opportunity where you can have your horses with you on your property, and you can build your own barn, yet you are still within a community of horse lovers with access to the BEST trails in this area.  

At The Highlands, a massive gated entryway provides exclusivity, seclusion, and security. The horse trails will take you to breathtaking overlooks, along cliffside rim trails, past rockhouses and waterfalls….if not, just sit on your deck looking out at the spectacular rock bluffs and enjoying the ambiance.

Spruce Creek

Twenty years ago, people who wanted to come here for the riding bought parcels of land in Spruce Creek Acres and began to build cabarns (cabin/barn combination) or small cabins. Each one is different and most are tucked into the trees, so it has a very rural look and feel. Deeded trails wind throughout and connect directly to the Cumberland Trailhead, a major gateway into the Big South Fork. Spruce Creek has grown exponentially as those who bought lots years ago retired and moved to this area. As time went on and new phases were developed, larger, more substantial year-round homes were built as people discovered how much this area offers.

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Social life centers around the central pavilion, where you'll find a well-attended potluck supper several times a year, and events

such as movie night, bingo, or impromptu musical jam sessions taking place. It's easy to get to meet people and find riding

buddies. There's always a bonfire in the firepit, and attendees

linger late into the evening, enjoying the ambiance.

The Spruce Creek Acres Trails Association maintains approximately 15 miles of trails within and around the community, including four trails that directly access the Big South Fork

National River and Recreation Area. Spruce Creek trails are open to all for hiking and horseback riding.

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Ridgetop Acres
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There is a popular horse campground located within Ridgetop, Timber Ridge, where campers enjoy the use of Ridgetop trails and also have direct access to the national park just across the road. For a small fee, locals and visitors can park in a designated area in front of the campground.

The communal pavilion gets a lot of use with activities for residents including a monthly potluck, an annual ice-cream social, Board of Directors' meetings, book club meetings, and crafters meetings.

Ridgetop is the equestrian community closest to town. It's only five miles from the center of Jamestown but it has a very rural setting. There are many lovely homes, and deeded trails wind throughout the neighborhood. There is no central barn and most homeowners have a small barn on a few acres. The Ridge Toppers Trail Association is very active with a trail work day every Wednesday. That's the only time motorized vehicles are allowed on the horse trail as they transport brush saws and weedeaters, chainsaws, and loppers. Ridgetop

residents have a strong sense of community, 'adopting' various sections of trail and providing upkeep.

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Pavilion activities that are open to the public include an annual fundraiser pancake breakfast and community garage/yard sale in the spring, and the annual auction/fundraiser and chili cook-off in the fall.

White Oak
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This equestrian community in nearby Allardt has eight miles of community horse and hiking trails, with direct trail access into the Big South Fork National Park trail system. The Mill Creek trailhead is located within the neighborhood.

LOOKING FOR all the right places!















Since this area is a destination for trail riders, the first thing a buyer would want to consider is LOCATION and WHERE THE TRAILS ARE. The next consideration is whether the property has SUFFICIENT ACREAGE for the number of horses. Whether it is LEVEL, and whether it is wooded or has CLEARED PASTURE is a big factor, as is whether or not it is FENCED (and with what).

Riders need to assess the EASE OF ACCESS for their horse trailer and just where the TRAILER PARKING will be. They will want to know if there is an RV/LQ HOOKUP for guests who will want to visit and ride with them. They will be very interested in knowing which property has a BARN and HOW MANY STALLS it has, and whether it has STALL MATS. They will want to make sure that it has a CROSSTIE AREA area where a horse can be tacked up and where a farrier or a vet can work. They'll look around to see if there's a WASH RACK for hosing off a muddy horse. They'll want to know if there's a TACK ROOM, and having an area for HAY STORAGE is going to be very important.

They should also assess each property in light of its RESTRICTIONS and whether there is a HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION, with its annual dues.

And that's before they've even gotten to the house!

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This part of Tennessee is known for its rugged topography and rolling terrain so it's hard for buyers to find a level piece of land. Looking at a plat is not the same as looking at a topographical map; it's the topo that tells the tale. Sometimes buyers are seduced by the number of acres a parcel offers, but it's the realtor's job to advise the buyer on how many are usable acres. A good realtor will have walked the property and will know "the lay of the land," so to speak.

There are two characteristics that increase the desirability of land here in horse country; one is LEVEL, and the other is PROXIMITY TO

TRAILS. Buyers interested in land have to consider a few factors to determine which piece is right for them. If they're making a permanent move, they need more acreage than if they are just coming up for the weekend to ride.

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