HorseTrailDirectory.com
Trail Riders Helping Trail Riders

Reviews for Great Smoky Mtns.-Gilbertson's Lazy Horse Retreat
(click on name for more information)
Townsend, TN

Overall TRAIL RATING with 12 votes:
Overall CAMP RATING with 11 votes:

Enter your Trail and/or Campground Review 

Individual Reviews

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Great place to stay. Cabins were very nice and the Melody is a great resource for information on the trails and local attractions. All of the trails are in the National Park so most are mixed usage with hikers. Trails are typical mountain trails with lots of inclines and descents. I would recommend breast collar for sure and crouper if your horse does not have well defined shoulders to keep the saddle from sliding forward. Although we did not see any bears others that were staying there at the same time did see them. They ignored the people and horses. Most trails require trailering out to the trail head. Roads in the area tend to be narrow with little or no shoulders so navigating them with a long gooseneck can be challenging at times. Barn and stalls were nice and in good usable condition. Also has some outdoor runs and round pen. All were in good serviceable condition.
Reviewed by: Ike Schevers on 10/20/2015 10:32:51 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/16/2015 Hometown: Festus, Mo

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

I couldn't say enough positive things about my stay and the trails. Melody is a gracious hostess, talked me in on the phone to make sure I took the right way in that was "trailer-friendly", provided VERY detailed maps with highlights, is knowledgeable, friendly, and all I can say is I WILL BE BACK to enjoy once again. The horse accomodations were excellent, the cabin was excellent, everything was spotless and clean. Yes you can have a campfire as long as you tend it properly and put it out when done (very, very important). I would live there in a minute if I could! The trails were excellent, although you have to ride the QUIET country road for a bit (maybe a mile) IF you don't want to trailer to a trailhead. I'm very critical and can't think of ANYTHING negative or even NEUTRAL to say about this place. I rate it 50 stars. Melody, thank you for providing a great place to stay at an excellent price. The horses appreciate you too!
Reviewed by: Audrey M on 10/23/2012 5:12:16 PM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 9/15/2012 Hometown: Greeneville, TN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Owner is helpful and knowledgeable about the trails and suggesting rides. She has a large covered porch for campers to use and a nice, clean bathroom. There is only room for two groups to camp and is separate from the cabins which allows some privacy. Horse accommodations were perfect because they were in a paddock with some shelter and stalls were available as needed. The trails were very scenic, the best we have been on. Physically demanding for the horses and a half hour trailer ride, but definitely worth it. We highly recommend Gilbertsons and hope to return soon.
Reviewed by: Tyler on 5/1/2012 7:42:33 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 4/15/2012 Hometown: Union Mills, IN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Spent 5 days at Lazy Horse and it was wonderful. First the trails. They are great but tough. Some rocks and some elevation changes from 2500 to 4500. You will not get prettier trails ANYWHERE than the Smokies but your horse needs to be in good shape and I recommend shoes and pads. You do have to trailer to the trailheads but it is well worth it. There was a easy stock trailer available for rent which is what we did. Most of the trailheads are about 20 minutes away but DO NOT let the idea of trailering make you miss these wonderful trails. The campground is beautiful but small (not a issue). Melody is the owner and what a very nice lady and a pleasure to meet her. She was very helpful and I would stay at her place anytime. The only reason I gave the camping a 4 star was because the stalls we used were a little small for my 16+ guy. I think they were 8x12. It's very private, very safe and very pretty and overall you just will not find a better place. I have trail ridden everywhere from Vermont to Florida and this is one of my top 3 places.
Reviewed by: Michael Bradley on 9/23/2010 11:33:31 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 9/9/2010 Hometown: Gowers Corner, FL

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Beautiful mountain trails on Rich Mountain! We rode in winter, and it was a beautiful sunny day, and at night, billions of stars came out! There was a little snow on top of the mountains, and it was like a magical fairy land! Melody, the owner, is very sweet and makes sure everyone is comfortable. The cabins are very clean, as well as the old fashioned wood planked barn! You feel like you went back in time a hundred years here, and you get the feel of how Cades Cove area was back in the early 1900s. After our ride, we came back to the cabin, built a fire, ate spaghetti and coconut cake, then jumped in the hot tub! When can we move in for good, Melody? lol!
Reviewed by: Marilyn Daugherty on 8/2/2010 10:39:15 PM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 2/15/2009 Hometown: Lake City, TN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

My friend and i have been coming up here for a few years and love it! Even during the winter months, it is wonderful! Melody, who runs it is a very sweet person! Her cabins are cozy and comfy, and it is nice to come back and jump in the hot tub after a long mountain ride. We will be back!
Reviewed by: Laury on 10/15/2009 7:03:46 PM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 2/18/2009 Hometown: Maryville, TN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Hubby and I stayed two nights in the Hideout cabin. Very clean, had everything we needed or wanted there. Melody and her daughter were both very nice and helpful. Melody knows the trails, and is great with directions. The corral was big enough for our two horses and could have held two more comfortably. The cabin was private and secluded enough for us and we had fairly quick access to the local grocery for the few things I forgot! We definately plan to stay there again.
Reviewed by: Karen on 5/19/2008 3:50:23 PM
Experience: Not Specified Ride Date: 1/1/2004 Hometown: Greeneville, TN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

First I must tell you the trails in the GSM are absolutely fantastic .. we (8 of us) have just returned from 5 days at Orchard Cove and we have already booked for next year. Freda and her daughter have an excellent facility .. electic and water at each site .. state of the art barn .. covered arena .. as clean as you own home bathroom facilities .. fire rings and fire wood. You could not ask for a better camp facility .. they have just about finished all of the work but there are still a few things to be done but one of the best facilites I have visited. The trails are all you could hope for .. we rode 6 - 7 hours every day and every day was better than the day before. Do you self a favor .. hook up your trailer and load your best trail horse and head for Freda and Heather's place .. Orchard Cove is really very very nice. You'll write me and tell me I was right after you go there and you'll thank me for writing this.
Reviewed by: Tom Collins on 10/23/2007 11:36:11 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/23/2007 Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

First I must tell you the trails in the GSM are absolutely fantastic .. we (8 of us) have just returned from 5 days at Orchard Cove and we have already booked for next year. Freda and her daughter have an excellent facility .. electic and water at each site .. state of the art barn .. covered arena .. as clean as you own home bathroom facilities .. fire rings and fire wood. You could not ask for a better camp facility .. they have just about finished all of the work but there are still a few things to be done but one of the best facilites I have visited. The trails are all you could hope for .. we rode 6 - 7 hours every day and every day was better than the day before. Do you self a favor .. hook up your trailer and load your best trail horse and head for Freda and Heather's place .. Orchard Cove is really very very nice. You'll write me and tell me I was right after you go there and you'll thank me for writing this.
Reviewed by: Tom Collins on 10/23/2007 11:16:49 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/23/2007 Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Made reservations to tent camp but when we arrived it was not what we expected. She did not have dedicated tent camping spot but that was just a mis-communication between Melody and myself. She was MOST helpful and accomodating in offering us her Cowboy cabin which turned out to be a blessing. Poured 2 nights in a row and rest of week was quite hot. Cabin was very neat and clean with A/C. Trail riding was fantastic. Access to Smokey Mountain trails was about 30-45 minutes away on horseback over small paved road but very scenic. We trailered to other horse trails in Smoky Mountain National Park and they were fabulous. Many trails were rocky and steep but found some that were not as rocky but still fairly steep. Not scary steep however, just typical mountains. Crossed streams and went through lovely forests with many types of trees. Did not see any bears despite talk that the bears were roaming quite a bit and seen by others. Wonderful country!!! Melody is a very gracious, lovely lady and we felt fortunate to have found her place via the internet since this was our first trip horseback riding in the Smokies. She is very conscientious in helping make everyone's stay a pleasant one including the horses. We did not see the other cabins but other guests we met were multiple repeat guests which says a lot. Hope to return soon. Tommy-Tallahassee
Reviewed by: Tommy on 7/26/2007 9:14:36 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 6/4/2007 Hometown: Tallahassee, FL

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Melody, the owner is one of the nicest people you'll meet! We stayed in the Treehouse cabin and loved it. The barn was rustic and nice, and everything was well kept and clean. Down the country road a little ways is the trail head to Turkey Pen and School House Gap, and the views from there are spectacular! I loved this ride along the shady creeks and overlooks -- there was alot to see on these trails. Be sure to take a trail map, so you can explore the many miles of trails there. At night when we came back, we enjoyed a hot tub bath in the cabin.
Reviewed by: lauryn on 4/2/2007 3:20:39 PM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 4/2/2007 Hometown: vonore, tn, TN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

Melody, the owner is one of the nicest people you'll meet! We stayed in the Treehouse cabin and loved it. The barn was rustic and nice, and everything was well kept and clean. Down the country road a little ways is the trail head to Turkey Pen and School House Gap, and the views from there are spectacular! I loved this ride along the shady creeks and overlooks -- there was alot to see on these trails. Be sure to take a trail map, so you can explore the many miles of trails there. At night when we came back, we enjoyed a hot tub bath in the cabin.
Reviewed by: lauryn on 4/2/2007 3:19:26 PM
Experience: Not Specified Ride Date: 4/2/2007 Hometown: vonore, tn, TN

Trail Rating: 
Camp Rating: 

The trails in the Smokies are some of the best mountain riding we have seen. They are easily accessable from Lazy Horse Retreat. You can ride into the park from the cabin, or trailer out a short distance for even more variety. We have been going here about 10 years and have always foun Melody to be most helpful in suggesting route to take and she is a wonderful hostess. The cabins are beautifully decorated with a homey touch and our experiences there have always been the best.
Reviewed by: Connie on 2/29/2004 7:25:37 AM
Experience: Not Specified Ride Date: 2/29/2004 Hometown: Vinton, , VA