If you’re craving adventure, the island of Maui is the best place to explore. From the scenic pools and dramatic waterfalls of Oheo Gulch to the mesmerizing views of Haleakala National Park, Maui has plenty to offer for adventurers like you. If you’re researching what to do in Hawaii while on vacation, you have so much to choose from! You can go hiking, mountain biking, or zip-lining.
But if you’re someone who loves horses and is looking for a fun and relaxing activity during your Hawaii vacation, you should go horseback riding in Maui. You can easily venture from your Maui vacation rental be it a hotel resort, 2 bedroom villa, or 3 bedroom vacation home, and have the ride of a lifetime.
Whether you are an experienced rider or a beginner, riding horses can offer significant health benefits – physical, psychological, and some say spiritual benefits. If your idea of a perfect Maui holiday activity to make a connection with yourself, a horse, and the tropical environment around you, then horseback riding may just the perfect thing to do on your Hawaii vacation!
Here are the best places to book for horseback riding tours in Maui, Hawaii.
Offering small groups of riders morning and sunset rides where you’ll see the amazing wilds of Maui overlooking Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve where you can catch glimpses of wildlife like axis deer. See the sparkling blue waters of La Perouse Bay where you get great views of the Humpback Whales when they visit in the winter and dolphins all from the over 20,000 acres of Ulupalakua Ranch. You’ll have a perfect view of the outer islands and Maui’s most recent lava flow.
Because their trails are rugged and technically challenging, they recommend that all riders be in good physical condition.
Central & West Maui
The Makani Olu is one of the most popular places in Maui to go horseback riding. Centrally located, they offer trail rides and horseback riding lessons through the mountains of West Maui to all kinds of visitors, including the kids. In fact, they are family-oriented, which makes them an ideal place for families with kids.
For Trail Rides, you can choose between the Waikapu Plantation Ride and Private Ranch Ride. The Waikapu Plantation Ride will take you to explore the scenic landscapes of Mauna Kahalawai Valley on a horseback. If you decide on the Private Ranch Ride, you can enjoy both trail ride and horseback riding lessons. Depending on the package that you opt for, lunch and refreshments may also be served.
The other activities that you can take part in the Makani Olu Ranch are horsemanship lessons and groundwork lessons. Organized by cowboys who will teach you how to establish a relationship with horses and other horseback riding tricks, this experience will leave you an expert on horses.
Dubbed the “Best Place to Find Yourself on Horseback” by Hawaii Magazine’s “Best of Hawaii”, the Ironwood Ranch is the best place to go horseback riding in West Maui. Marvel at the spectacular panoramic views as you explore lush and exotic valleys, pineapple fields, and ironwood forests while on a horseback.
Set high above the West Maui Mountains and surrounded by unspoiled rainforest and farmlands, the ranch features acres of private land isolated to most of Maui. It is indeed the perfect place to explore nature while riding on a horse. Aside from the gorgeous views, Ironwood Ranch has the most excellent horses, so you can guarantee a truly enjoyable riding experience.
They offer various excursions for horseback riding, such as the Guided Eco Nature Walks and the Exclusive Private Excursions. For those who would rather go hiking, they also offer guided hiking tours in the West Maui Mountains of Kaopala and Mailepai.
Upcountry Maui, where you will find most of the island’s ranches. It’s home to the Hawaiian cowboys, locally known as the paniolos. The horse culture in Maui dates back to the late 1800s. Paniolos can be seen riding their horses at the sprawling upland fields of Maui.
Set in pristine and undeveloped land above the Kanaio coastline, the Triple L Ranch is about 15 min-away from Kula on the southwest side of Haleakalā, Maui’s volcanic crater. They offer guided tours of the ranch led by experienced horsewomen and men. Your guide will take you to explore the sprawling area within the ranch and discover some interesting sites.
You can choose from the All-Inclusive Lunch Tour or the Open Ranch Range Tour. The all-inclusive tour will start from the backside of Haleakala and into the ranches cattle country while passing at some historic sites and stopping by the lookout point where you can enjoy a catered lunch. For the Open Ranch Range Tour, you will be riding down to the range as your guide shares some interesting history of the place on your way to the nursery of cows and calves.
If you happen to explore the town of Kula, do check out the Thompson Ranch Riding Stables at Waianu Rd. Set amidst the slopes of Mount Haleakala, this rural ranch is dubbed “the best little ranch on Maui”. It sits in 1,400 acres of lush green pasturelands with views stretching downslope to the coast and the ocean beyond. When you visit this working ranch, you will have the opportunity to take a horseback ride with the Thompson Family and explore the area of Maui that only a few tourists have ever seen. You will also learn about Maui’s ranching history and other interesting facts about the place.
The Thompson Ranch Riding Stables is a family-operated ranch in Upcountry and is definitely family-friendly. It’s the best place to take your kids and explore 1,400 acres of Maui’s mountainous area. The activity is applicable to all kinds of visitors, including first-time horse riders. Couples and solo travelers can join a few others for a fun group ride. The maximum number of people that can join the tour is 4 to 5 adults and 2 kids. Kids as young as six years old can participate in this activity. It’s also possible to book a private ride for your family or group. The adventure will start by going up to a mountain cabin and then going back down the same trail with a 30-minute break in between.
So, if you’re in search of an excellent Hawaii vacation adventure for you or your whole family, consider any one of these amazing Horseback riding experiences. It will be a Hawaii adventure of a lifetime that will always be cherished.