If you’re visiting Hawaii and want to experience the landscape like the paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) of the past, grab your saddle and read on! We’ve made a list of some of the best horseback riding in Hawaii, so you can put a little giddy up in your vacation:


Hawaii Polo Trail Rides: Hawaii Polo Trail Rides are the only trail ride on Oahu that takes riders on the beach. Beginners or experienced riders can ride up and down the beach on Oahu’s North Shore in Waialua, and you can’t get much more authentic than that! The company features polo horses, thoroughbreds, quarterhorses, or mixed breeds and offers private or group rides (sunset ride or sunshine ride), polo lessons, or advanced rides. http://www.oahuhorsebackrides.com/

Gunstock Ranch: Nestled in Kahuku on Oahu, Gunstock Ranch offers an abundance of group rides, for those who need lots of options. The site’s menu includes pony rides for children, a moonlight ride at night, and even sweetheart rides for couples. Some of the company’s excursions include meals, such as its picnic ride and sunset dinner ride. www.gunstockranch.com

Happy Trails Hawaii: Happy Trails Hawaii offers just that—happiness in a saddle. Located in Haleiwa above Waimea Valley, the company offers to take small riding groups on scenic outings. And, it’s the only licensed horse ranch on Oahu permitting children as young as six years old to ride their own horses. www.happytrailshawaii.com

Big Island

Paniolo Adventures: Paniolo Adventures is an 11,000 acre working cattle ranch on Ponoholo Ranch on Kohala Mountain in Waimea. In addition to private rides, you can also choose from one of five signature Hawaiian horseback rides that include The Paniolo Ride for all experience levels, The Picnic Ride which combines a wonderful horseback experience with a relaxing picnic, and the City Slicker Ride which is geared toward folks who want a calm and relaxing tour of paradise as seen from a perspective like no other. www.panioloadventures.com

a man on horseback

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ)

When you take part in a horseback ride in Hawaii, like this one in Waimea on the Big Island, you can experience the lifestyle of a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy).

Naalapa Stables: Naalapa Stables has two locations on the Big Island, one in Kahua Ranch and the other in Waipio Valley. At the Kahua Ranch location, riders can journey onto a 12,000 acre working cattle and sheep ranch where the breathtaking beauty of North Kohala will unfold before your eyes. When you book a ride at the Waipio Valley location, you’ll travel through a lush tropical paradise of jungle trails, freshwater streams, taro fields, magnificent waterfalls and incredible vistas. www.naalapastables.com

Dahana Ranch: Located in Kamuela, Dahana Ranch features three different rides, all of which allow riders to experience a significant amount of “free range” riding. The 1 1/2 hour Ranch Ride covers approximately four miles of beautiful ranch lands with breathtaking backdrops of Waipio Valley and stunning views of majestic Mauna Kea. The 2-hour Advanced Ride is tailored specifically for horse owners and competitors who want amore freedom in the open country with a smaller group. And, the company’s 2 1/2 hour Range Station Ride allows riders to actually move a herd of 100 Brahman crossbreds! www.dahanaranch.com


Ironwood Ranch: The Ironwood Ranch is located in Napili and showcases the beauty of West Maui. The West Maui Journey is the most basic excursion, recommended for all riding levels. Take a Sunset Ride if you want to view Maui’s exquisite beauty at sunset. The Hawaiian Excursion starts bright-and-early at 8:30 a.m. For a short-and-sweet adventure, consider the Maile Pai Ride, which lasts only one-hour. The company also offers Exclusive Excursions and caters to Honeymooners looking for some horseback romance! www.ironwoodranch.com

Lahaina Stables: Check out their Lunch Ride, during which you’ll be treated to extraordinary views of Molokai, Lanai and Lahaina Town and Harbor. You’ll ride into Launiopoko Valley where you will dismount for refreshments at our pond that is fed by cool mountain stream water. Beverage, deli sandwich, chips and dessert are included. www.mauihorse.com

Thompson Ranch: Thompson Ranch is perched high on Haleakala’s slopes and overlooking Maui’s Central Valley. So, you can imagine the views you’ll enjoy by horseback. The company offers different rides for different styles and experience levels, but all include a huge area of beautiful horse country, plus cool-and-comfortable temperatures. www.thompsonranchhawaii.com


Silver Falls Ranch: Located near Kilauea Town, Silver Falls Ranch offers riders the chance to experience a wildlife refuge on Kauai’s beautiful north shore. The ranch lies adjacent to the Kamookoa Ridge, a lush inland valley blessed with natural waterways and a beauty unique to this corner of paradise. One of its signature rides takes visitors to Silver Falls, which features a cool refreshing mountain pool and even includes a picnic lunch. The company’s Tropical Trails Adventure includes and the opportunity to swim at Silver Falls. Save money by booking your adventure through Hawaii Aloha Travel,which offers this horseback riding adventurethrough its partner, Esprit de Corps Riding Academy. www.silverfallsranch.com

horseback riders crossing a stream

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Horseback riding on Kauai is a fantastic way to see some of the more remote sites on the island.

Princeville Ranch: Choose from a Waterfall Picnic Ride, Paniolo Ride, or Ride-n-Glide. On the Waterfall Picnic Ride, you’ll ride a bit, then hike a short, steep trail through a rainforest to an 80-foot waterfall. On the Paniolo Ride, enjoy views of the famous Hanalei mountains with the striking blue Pacific in the distance. Learn about Paniolo cowboy history and Hawaii’s magnificent flora and fauna. Finally, the Ride-n-Glide combines a ride with the thrill of three fun, fast ziplines! www.princevilleranch.com/home/

CJM Stables: This horseback riding outfit is located in Poipu in South Kauai and offers two different rides: the Mahaleapu Beach Ride and the Secret Beach Ride. THe Mahaleapu Beach Ride takes riders you through the historic Mahaulelpu area then allows you to cross over a sand bar and stream near one of the most spectacular beaches in Hawaii. The Secret Beach Picnic Ride is ideal for families and small groups. After riding for about an hour, you can dismount to relax and explore the beaches while your trail guide prepares your custom picnic lunch of deli sandwiches, chips, fruit and refreshments. www.cjmstables.com/


Stables at KoeleLocated at The Lodge at Koele, you’ll find helpful cowboys eager to take you on a group or private ride. See The Pineapple Isle as it looked in the 19th century, and soak in the beautiful scenery from atop a friendly and comfortable horse. www.fourseasons.com/koele/services_and_amenities/onsite_activities/recreational_activities/

So, tap into your inner-paniolo! And, take advantage of an extraordinary and unique horseback riding adventure while you’re in Hawaii!


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