Dutch Creek Trails
Dutch Creek Trails, Horseback Riding Adventures in Valle Crucis, Vilas & Boone, North Carolina • "Dutch Creek Trails is located 5 minutes by car from The Mast Farm Inn. Enjoy wooded trails, old farm fields, views of the valley surrounded by beautiful blue mountains, and southern hospitality. Whether you are an experienced cowboy or a little green, our skilled staff and gentle horses make for a pleasant visit. Come on over and we’ll have some fun. Owner Keith Ward is our very own in-house cowboy poet."
Dutch Creek Trails is in The Western North Carolina High Country near Valle Crucis, Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk; in Vilas, North Carolina. The highest mountain peaks east of The Rockies are found right here. We are located near Appalachian State University. Banner Elk, The "Ski Capitol of The South" is right down the road. Come along and join us for a trail ride on horseback with some of the best trail guides anywhere.
Ask for details about party activities and rates. Our ride is a little longer than an hour and covers a wide variety of trails and views. If our basic ride is not what you want, tell us and we’ll see what we can come up with. Keep in mind we are at the mercy of the weather. In the High Country, it is possible to experience all four seasons during the same day. Check the weather forecast using Ray’s Weather when planning your adventure to Dutch Creek Trails.
You will sign up at the house and get on the horse at the guide shack. Our "shuttle service" is a hay wagon ride to and from the place where you will be riding. (Just a little added fun). There is a wide range of terrain and lots of scenery. You will ride wooded trails and old grown-up fields with some beautiful views. We can’t take kids under six but six and up are welcome. They will be on their own horse but we can lead if needed.
We don’t have a credit card machine but cash and personal checks are fine. Our rides cost $50 per person. Rides go out every day in spring, summer and fall at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm, and in the winter at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm. We are closed on Sundays. Call ahead for reservations at 828-297-7117. Call anytime, but during our busy season it pays to call a week or so ahead. If we don’t answer after hours, be sure to leave a message. We will call you back. To see our location and get directions click here: www.goo.gl/maps/kLgK Our address is Dutch Creek Trails, 793 Rubin Walker Road, Vilas, North Carolina 28679
History Of The Farm • The home of Dutch Creek Trails is a 132 acre farm owned by Mr. Bennie Yates. Mr. Yates, now in his 80’s moved here when he was 5 years old. He has told many tales about the place and people who used live around here. For instance, the valley, which you will ride through coming back to the barn is called the Luthrey. It is called that because many years ago a man by the name of Luthrey was found froze to death in the head of that holler; Mr. Yates and his mother planted the silver maple in the edge of the drive; The mountain that is seen from the front porch is called Taylors Mountain; … so many stories. I have ridden the trails with Mr. Yates and he has a story about every valley and knoll. There is an old grave yard and an Indian cave somewhere on the farm that I have yet to find. The views from the trails are stunning. Gazing out across lush mountains and valleys, Grandfather Mountain and Hanging Rock are profiled beautifully in the background.
"Let us introduce our fine staff. My Name is Keith Ward. I grew up on a farm in the mountains of western North Carolina. We raised tobacco, pepper, corn and hay, along with whatever other crops Daddy thought would pay that year. In addition to that, we cut timber and saw milled. We have always, and still do have beef cattle and horses."
Tammy Ward • That pretty little red head and I have been married since June of 1980. Like most wives (if their husbands would admit it) she is the force behind the scenes. Without her and Travis Dutch Creek Trails would be just a pipe dream. In the beginning I was still working full time as a police officer. I counted on Tammy and Travis to keep the place running. They did it all, from booking rides to taking them out. Now Tammy stays in the background for the most part. She lets me have the spotlight and nudges me onward and upward. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she can still put her foot down at the drop of a hat.
Travis Ward • My son, Travis was born and raised in the saddle. He is a “Jack of all trades”. Whatever needs done he can do. In addition to helping out here He takes care of the farm at home and our personal horses. Travis is a great singer and plays in a bluegrass band on the weekends.
Wendell Ray • I first met Mr. Ray several years ago when he brought his daughter Lexie for lessons. He was 80 years old then. He has been 81 ever since. He started taking out trail rides that first summer and still does. He doesn’t miss many rides even if there are enough guides without him. We both just feel better if he is on the ride. Last summer his horse stepped out from under him as he was getting on. He fell and broke his collar bone. He didn’t ride the rest of that day and only rode once the next day. It was two days before he was riding full time again. Guess he is showing his age a little.
Joel Church • Joel is a neighbor in the truest since of the word. All I have to do is call. “Joel, them dang horses are out.” “I’m on it boss”… “Joel, I got my truck stuck” “I’ll get the tractor and be right there.” “Joel I need help with a ride” “I’m on the way.” “Joel, I need these brush piles burnt.” “I’ll load up some empty feed sacks to get the fire started and be there in the morning.” That’s Joel.
Charlie Ward • My nephew Charlie was riding in the saddle with me when he was about three years old. I ask him what he was going to be when he grew up. My heart swelled when he said" I’m going to be a cowboy like you, Uncle Keith." I think of that everytime I watch him leave out with a ride. There is a lot more to being a cowboy than riding horses and working cattle. It’s how you treat ladies and children. It’s what kind of neighbor you are. It’s how you take care of your animals and your kin. It’s about being honist and fair. It’s about being a man. I’m proud to say Charlie is turning out to be a "Cowboy".
Corey Essick • Corey has been working with us off and on since he was about twelve years old. He grew up with horses is a real hand. Like Travis he is good at a lot of differant things. When the two of them tackle a job I have learned it’s best to just get out if the way. There can’t no one accuse Corey or Travis of being lazy.
Pam Dale • Pam is a horse woman from way back. She started here in January of 2012 and is proving to be a real asset. She grew up over in Avery County but has worked on ranches in Florida and Texas. Don’t have a good picture yet but, don’t worry. I’ll get one.
Alexis Minton • A local girl, Alexis grew up on her family’s farm in Zionville. She knows what hard work is all about. Whether it’s taking care of the animals or working with her Father in the construction business she understands "sweat equity".
For More Information
FaceBook • www.facebook.com/pages/Dutch-Creek-Trails/140725662657316
WebSite • www.dutchcreektrails.com
Source & Photo Credits • www.dutchcreektrails.com & www.iin.org/DUTCH-CREEK-TRAIL-RIDE.html