LOVE VALLEY, NC… A Place for Horseback riding!: No cars, thousands of acres of trails!

A while back, one of you readers sent something to me about Love Valley, NC.   So, I looked it up…

Basically, one man built the town because he wanted to be a good cowboy.  No cars allowed downtown.  Thousands of miles of trails.  People are encouraged to come and have fun in the cowboy way.  They host events, have a huge arena, cater to the dusty and offer all different kinds of accommodations from camping to fancyish.

Most of all, they encourage horseback riding.  Bring your own or rent theirs…

Horses.  Horses!  Horses!!

I’ve never been there.  But I think I’d like to go!

Here’s why…


Logo from the website



I’m paraphrasing here, but from what I gathered from the LOVE VALLEY website, one man, Andy Barker,  built his dream – and Love Valley was it.  (Sadly, he passed just last year.)

Barker was a successful contractor.  He wanted to combine his dream of living a Christian life with being a cowboy, so he brought his young family out to the wilderness and built his own cowboy town with a church.  No cars allowed in town, only horses.

(I’m guessing you don’t have to be a member of the church to go there…)

Cool, huh? Can’t you just feel it?_ riding into town on a summer morning, dismounting, railing your horse as you hit he boardwalk and buy a cup of joe?!

No cars allowed!

Here is an excerpt from the website:

  Love Valley is an authentic western town situated in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains north of Statesville, North Carolina. Love Valley is a boy’s dream and a man’s reality. Andy Barker always dreamed of living in a western town. So, at the age of 29 Andy left his lucrative general contracting business in Charlotte and moved his family to his new land in April of 1954.

  His wife Ellenora, daughter Tonda (age six), and son jet (age two) moved to a little one-room shack. Andy used his crew from JA Construction Company, owned jointly with his father, to build the town of Love Valley. The first building they constructed was the Love Valley Presbyterian Church. This was followed by the arena and the rest of the town, including its own post office. Originally the town was built around the arena, but in 1963(the year it was incorporated) Andy decided to move the town to its present day location overlooking the arena.

This is a banner from the Love Valley Mercantile.



I perused the website and found myself in Mayberry crossed with Bonanza.  Clearly this town was still a bit on the edge of Mayberry but with cowboy frayed edges.

I loved that on the official website, they list all the town merchants (first name basis) as well as camp sites available for least and the local real estate agent’s listings.

Here is a snippet from the list of everybody who has a phone and a business in the town…

(I have to speak about the Real Estate portion of the website…  The listing that caught my eye was “Almosta Ranch”.  Ha!   The other listing was from the actual Real Estate Agent of the town called TARHEEL Realty.  Ha again!  The listing was for a “16 acer lot”.    Clearly, this is a lot with 16 acer trees on it.   Or, I wonder if he meant kids who ace exams?   Or, did he mean ‘acerlot’ (like an ocelot?).   Whatever… it makes me want to go there more!)

Another fun tidbit was the photo of a ‘counter’ at the store.

I love that!  When I was a kid, our local Walgreens had a counter where you could sit and eat ice cream.  I totally remember that!  So when I saw this pic, I melted.

Counter in the store



The huge arena that Andy Barker created is quite the venue.  It is large and hosts all types of events, not just equine.

I saw tons of photos from the Breast Cancer Awareness Day as well as the Veteran’s Day Event.

I’m a bit sketchy on the accommodations because I’m not much of a camper.  However, there was much to choose from on this page.

They also have a FB page with lots of pics and current events.

The arena is the focal point.

I liked this as my favorite place to stay…



The website says ‘thousands of acres of horse trails”!!  Wow.

I loved that most of the accommodations provided for your horses, too.  Yay!

However, I would never bring my horse across country when there are probably enough horses in the town that I could fall in love with for a week…  The website lists who rents horses and of course, the Country Store and General Store both rent mounts…  That cracked me up!  I practically expected to see a Livery Stable next to the Saloon with a blacksmith hammering shoes!

Happy Riders! I got this off of the Love Valley FB page!



I loved this photo taken from inside a carriage at one of the Love Valley events.  I never knew that carriages had rear-view mirrors!

I never knew carriages had rear view mirrors!

This was taken during the Veterans Day parade during the Fall. I like to see working drafts!


This is the founder/builder, Andy Barker. He passed last year.



I want to go!  I want to go for a week, rent a horse and stay in that cabin.  Fun!


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


Click image to learn about Spirit, our July Bucket Fund mare!



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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

15 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    Hi: You wrote to the blogger (who has never been there – just writing about an interesting area to ride) instead of the actual facility.
    There are several links in the post. Please contact them or google Love Valley.

  2. dawndi Post author

    Hi: You wrote to the blogger (who has never been there – just writing about an interesting location) instead of the actual facility.
    There are several links in the post. Please contact them or google Love Valley.

  3. michael

    Do you have bath house and stalls for horses and hook ups for horse trailer?

  4. michael

    How many miles of horse trails. Are they some goods hills and water crossing. I like rough and big mountains and lots of scenery . My bunch like to ride 5 and 6 hours at a time.

  5. Dawn Berk

    Any maps of the trails available in this area? Where do I purchase?

  6. dawndi Post author

    Joni: You contacted the blogger (who has never been there) instead of whomever you wanted to contact from the article.
    Please review the article again and click on the link you wanted. Thanks!

  7. Joni Geszvain

    We are thinking of visiting. Curious about trail difficulty.

  8. Dana Summers

    I live in Love Valley. It warms my heart to see post like this about the valley. also on the list of business you missed the Silver Spur Saloon and Restaurant now owned my Kevin and Michelle, you don’t only have to come out during the spring-fall months to ride, we love having visitors all year round, the Spur host bands every Saturday night!! even through the winter time. if its to cold, come have a great dinner prepared by our great cooks Taj and Allen, and enjoy a cold one by the wood stove!! we encourage anyone that wants to come enjoy our simple cowboy town with us to come check it out!

  9. pam williamson

    So glad you found Love Valley! SO FUNNY you mention a blacksmith – I guess you missed that – there is one right in town and for you not to mention it is like not mentioning they serve ice cream at an ice cream store or something!! Charlie is definitely part of the whole essence of Love Valley. He and his crew are there hammering and doing trims and shoeing for a very reasonable price every weekend and stay very busy! And btw do a very professional job and take pride in their work. Charlie owns and operates the blacksmith shop and is well know throughout the state and beyond – he has been working with horses all his life. He is also the Mayor of Love Valley currently. It is a great time hanging out there while your horse is being done, and if you are lucky, Charlie can entertain you with his great stories. His wife Trena can rent you one of their cabins which are really cute and nicely done and right there in town so you won’t miss a thing!

  10. angie

    I’ve been there more times than I can count and we always had a great time!! Then a at Blacksmith Cove had a great cabin we rented and was a great host! I totally recommend her place! I’ve also camped at Caruso Farms at Thanksgiving and they welcomed us in for dinner.. Super great people!!

  11. Gerrie

    The Day I visited Love Valley (with out my horse) There were all kind of riders there. There were several camp areas which were fenced off and had hook ups and there was “stick built ” places to stay as well. Wester riders where the Locals , alot of mules too! But there were riders of all disciplins. I had a little chat with a lady on a big bueatiful walker. She aws a member of an African American Walking hourse club that was there camping ( in RVs) for the weekend. The trails go all over the moutain and as you drive over the moutian there are riders every place. I loved it. My husband who is not a horse person used to live on the moutain. And he said the riders were anoying because they would make you late to work wating for them to cross. Can you imagin living in a place with so many riders around ! Hahaha when he saw it through my eyes he saw what a wonderful jem this place is!

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