Horseback Riding Oahu: The Best Tours & Advice

oceanside horseback riding oahu
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Horseback Riding Oahu: The Best Tours & Advice

Horseback riding is one of the best ways to see Oahu. Slow down and have a unique adventure through some of the island’s greatest sights. 

These are rural areas, way more rugged than the vibrant shorelines of Waikiki. But that’s what makes these excursions so special. You’re seeing Hawaii through the vantage of Paniolo – cowboys who rode these lands for generations. 

Need a break from sunbathing and Mai Tais? Looking for something more soul-stirring than hiking or driving? Horseback riding is a great way to experience the hidden beauty of Oahu, whether you’re an avid horseman or a first-time rider. 

Here are some of the best places to book a tropical horseback ride in Oahu (and tips for making the most of your tour!). 

Tips for Horseback Riding on Oahu

Did you know that there are multiple options for a horseback ride in Hawaii? Each has its own personality and benefits, so choosing the right one may come down to your unique vision. 

Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your adventure:

  • Check on age, height, and weight restrictions before booking. Most horseback tours have a pretty low weight limit, so heavier visitors may be unable to ride. Also, different age and height requirements may limit the younger kids in your group. 
  • You’ll want to wear jeans and closed-toe shoes during your Oahu horseback ride. Cowboy hats and boots are optional. 
  • Just because you aren’t on the beach doesn’t mean you’ll be out of the sun. Remember to wear lots of sunscreen, bring a hat along, and consider long sleeves for more protection.
  • Prepare for safety requirements, like helmets, no-trotting rules, and lengthy waiver forms. 
  • Almost all of the horseback riding tours on Oahu don’t require any experience or skills. It could be your first time riding a horse, and you can still have a great time. 
  • Be mindful of your fitness level. Though you don’t have to be “in shape” to join most tours, a certain level of fitness is involved. For example, you’ll need to walk on the property, mount the horse, sit upright for over an hour, and dismount after your ride. 
  • Hawaii Aloha Travel can recommend a perfect horseback riding excursion based on your unique needs and vision. Contact our Hawaii travel agents, and we’ll be happy to set something up for you. 

Horseback Riding Oahu

Oahu is a vast and busy island, which is why horseback riding here is such a unique adventure. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city, settle into a scenic nook of the island, and hit the trails. Ahead are the spots where you can book a horseback riding tour on Oahu.

Turtle Bay Horseback Riding

When you think of Turtle Bay Resort, you likely envision glistening beaches, emerald golf courses, and torch-lit restaurants. But do you know they have a ranch as well? 

The stables at Turtle Bay Resort offer multiple horse experiences. The most popular is their group tour, which will take you on a 45- or 75-minute tour through the shoreline and woods of the North Shore. 

Horses at stables on Turtle Bay property on Oahu's north shore

Private tours are also available, which are great for a romantic honeymoon or advanced riders who want a more custom experience. There are also horsemanship classes and pony rides for kids who are six years old or younger. 

You don’t have to be a resort guest to book a tour – they’re available to anyone who wants to explore this incredible setting. 

Turtle Bay Oahu horseback riding is an excellent option because it takes you so close to the ocean. Plus, the guides are wonderful, and the hotel is the perfect place for an after-ride meal. 

Group tours permit anyone over the age of 7 and under 225 pounds. Pony rides are for ages 6 and under. 

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Horseback Riding

Kualoa Ranch is a working cattle ranch and private nature reserve that offers a range of eco-tours. One of the most popular options is a horseback ride. This fun adventure takes you through the mountainside landscape and into the lush forests of Kualoa. 

Hawaiian cowboys are called paniolo, and Kualoa Ranch offers a unique experience to experience this unique lifestyle through their Oahu horseback riding tours. 

Kualoa Ranch horses

This is a very rural location on Oahu’s Windward coast – Kualoa Ranch is about halfway between Waimanalo and Turtle Bay Resort. The horseback ride lasts about 2 hours and includes views of the Pacific Ocean along with famous movie backdrops, like Jurassic Park.

Many people book multiple adventures during their day at Kualoa. The ranch also offers ziplining, UTV tours, ocean excursions, and jungle expeditions. 

To ride at Kualoa Ranch, you must be at least 10 years old and 4’6” tall. You also must be under 230 pounds. 

Hawaii Polo Trail Rides 

If you dream of a Hawaii horseback ride on the open beach, Hawaii Polo Trail Rides is the place to go. They offer 1.5-hour tours throughout the day, including a fantastic excursion at sunset. 

Their rides come highly rated thanks to the amazing setting and great staff. The Hawaii Polo Club offers these excursions on their scenic north shore property. 

In addition to their Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Trail Rides, they also have a mountain tour that takes you along the slopes of the Waianae Mountains with panoramic views. Can’t decide which trail to take? Opt for their longer “Surf & Turf” ride, which takes you through the mountains and the beach. 

Hawaii Polo Trail Rides are in Waialua, Oahu, about 1 hour from Waikiki and 40 minutes from Ko Olina. 

You must be over 8 years old and under 230 pounds to ride at Hawaii Polo Club. 

They also offer private rides, Polo lessons, and photo shoots. 

Gunstock Ranch

There is a lot to love about Gunstock Ranch, a Windward Oahu property that offers horseback riding along its rural terrain. The working cattle ranch offers a range of tours, perfect for all kinds of vacationers. 

Their 1 and 1.5-hour group tours take you through their emerald, scenic property, complete with ocean views and iconic TV backdrops. 

Or, splurge on their private sunset dinner ride, where you can dine paniolo-style by a rugged campfire. 

There are also kids’ pony rides, horsemanship classes, and advanced rides. 

Gunstock Ranch is in Kahuku, Oahu, near the Polynesian Cultural Center. 

For private and group horseback riding at Gunstock Ranch, you must be at least seven years old and under 235 pounds. Pony rides are available for kids ages two through seven. 

Palehua Trail Rides

Camp Palehua is a beautiful private campground and conservation property located near Kapolei. Their horseback riding is a great option for Oahu vacationers (or locals!) wanting something different from their horseback excursion. 

Their unique location on Oahu’s southern shoreline means they have beautiful views – plus they’re a little closer for Ko Olina Resort guests. Their group and private rides will take you through rugged terrain, stunning vistas, and dappled forests. 

Group tours are an hour and a half. You must be over eight years old and under 200 pounds. 

Nalo Keiki Paniolo (Kids Only)

Nalo Keiki Paniolo is a kids-only adventure that is often geared toward Oahu residents. But it’s still a great activity for visitors who want the most immersive horse experience for their young kids. 

There are no trail rides at Nalo Keiki Paniolo, so parents can watch as their children are guided through the riding ring. All experiences include grooming and after-care instructions.

Nalo Keiki Paniolo is located in Waimanalo, about 40 minutes from Waikiki.

35-minute keiki experiences are available for ages 2-7, and lessons are available for kids over 8 years old. 

There is also a petting zoo on the property. 

Horseback Riding Oahu: A Ride Through History

Horseback riding is one of our favorite ways to see Oahu. Though it’s not for everyone, you may be surprised by how much you love it.

Be at one with nature as you trek along coastlines and through hidden forests, discovering what life was like when Hawaii was filled with ranchlands, wide open pastures, and Hawaiian cowboys (and cowgirls) who loved the land and its people.