The Best Horseback Riding in Hawaii   

Hey there fellow Hawaii-loving adventurers!

You might not have thought about horseback riding while planning your dream Hawaiian vacation, but let me tell you – it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. I’ve been discovering the hidden gems of these islands for years, and trust me when I say that exploring the lush countryside on horseback is nothing short of magical. You’ll forget all about those sandy beaches and just lose yourself in nature.

The fascinating history of Hawaii’s cowboy culture, dating back to the time of King Kamehameha and the Spanish Paniolo cowboys, adds even more charm to this unique equestrian journey. As someone who has studied these stories and ridden through nearly every trail on each island, I know firsthand what a treat it is for both beginners and experienced riders alike.

But hey, don’t take just my word for it! My boyfriend and I had some of our most memorable moments cantering along oceanfront trails in Oahu or trotting through ancient forests in Upcountry Maui. Not only did we bond over our shared love for horses and nature, but we also managed to get some pretty epic photos along the way.

Warning: Once you saddle up for some great riding in Hawaii, you’ll never want to leave this paradise.


Sunset Horseback Ride at Gunstock Ranch

The laid-back North shore of Oahu is perfect for horseback riding on its stunning landscape. Here, you’ll find Gunstock Ranch in Kahuku and Laie operating multiple tours from their beautiful ranch grounds and offering unmatched views of the Pacific from their riding trails. 

Choose the Sunset Horseback Ride from their many tours, which span 1.5 hours and takes small groups at a time. The ride passes on a scenic trail through the mountains, with views of the ocean and a panoramic viewing point at the top. Riders can stop here to take in the scenic views of the North shore as their horses take a break and graze.

In addition, the expert instructors at the ranch ensure each rider gets matched to a horse of their skill level and guide them well throughout the trip. 

My boyfriend and I are fond of Gunstock Ranch and its many riding tours, as they offer the best horseback riding in Hawaii. Here’s why you’ll agree:

  • They have riding tours ideal for beginners and experienced riders. 
  • Their trails are scenic and serve as great photo ops. 
  • The guides are terrific and share interesting stories throughout the trip. 

Walking Tours at Kualoa Ranch

Go deeper into the North shore’s mountains and valleys with a horseback riding tour at the Kualoa Ranch. The beautiful ranch grounds spread for miles and have been the filming location for movies like Jurassic Park and Pearl Harbor for their lush greenery and landscape.

The ranch is famous for its walking tours, allowing riders to explore the Ka’a’awa Valley at a leisurely pace. You’ll be riding for nearly two hours, going deeper in the valley past forests and World War II bunkers with views of the green Kanehoalani Mountains.

The ranch offers well-maintained riding trails for their tours, which are led by expert horse wranglers that guide you throughout. So the trips are ideal for beginners and even younger children for their relaxed stride. 

You don’t want to miss riding at the Kualoa Ranch in Oahu, as they offer some of the best horseback riding in Hawaii. 

  • Guests of the ranch can also explore their farmlands and horse stables. 
  • Your expert guides narrate Hawaii’s rich history on the ride. 
  • You can also learn horseback riding from guides during the trip.


Mendes Ranch

Upcountry Maui’s lush countryside is the best place for horseback riding on the island, as it’s home to great ranches. Here you’ll find Mendes Ranch, a ranching institution in Maui run by Hawaiian paniolos. The ranch offers terrific riding tours through its grounds and the surrounding mountains. 

Riders can choose between their morning and afternoon rides, which start with safety briefings and saddling at the Mendes Ranch Corral. The tour is a 1.5-hour roundtrip from the ranch towards the Waihee Valley and its green pastures, with beautiful ocean views on your way. 

Enjoy panoramic views of the valley on your tour, and make your way up to the West Maui rainforest with taro fields and plantation homes along the way. 

This was one of the most beautiful riding tours we’ve ever taken, and Mendes Ranch undoubtedly offers terrific horseback riding in Hawaii. 

  • Guides take great pictures of you on the many photo-ops along the way. 
  • The guides pay great attention to your safety throughout the tour.
  • Their riding tours are ideal for beginners and experienced riders. 


CJM Country Stables

Horseback riding in Hawaii is incomplete without a trip down to the beach. And you can ride at one of the most beautiful beaches in Kauai with CJM Country Stables and their oceanside rides. You can choose between a scenic ride through the Mahaulepu Trail or down to Secrets Beach with a waterside picnic. 

The riders are matched to horses and get accompanied by expert guides on the riding tours. On your trip, you’ll pass through Kauai’s agricultural lands and see a range of scenic points from the Mahaulepu Trail’s area. The ride goes at an easy pace for nearly two hours, ending at a stream by the beach. 

My boyfriend and I tried the Secrets Beach Picnic Ride, an excellent trip for families as it goes through an easy trail, and the ride ends early at the beach for lunch. Enjoy the beachside views with your picnic prepared by the guides and unwind on this quaint side of Kauai.

You’ll love CJM Country Stables for its incredible trails and the best horseback riding in Hawaii. 

  • The ranch offers private horse riding lessons with trained instructors. 
  • They have a gift shop on the ranch to buy souvenirs from. 
  • CJM has some of the best horses in Hawaii, which get you comfortable with riding. 

Princeville Ranch

Visit one of Hawaii’s oldest ranches, running since 1978, on the North shore of Kauai. Even today, Princeville Ranch is run by paniolos, offering terrific horseback riding from their widespread ranch grounds, with beautiful views of the Kauai mountains. 

Their riding tours last 2-4 hours, are led by experienced guides, and offer views of the Hanalei mountains and a scenic waterfall. In addition, the tours are great for beginners and experienced riders, as the guides offer opportunities for trotting and cantering throughout the trip. 

Head back to Princeville Ranch after your tour and enjoy a delicious lunch with the guides, which is a great way to wind down after all the riding. 

We love the friendly guides and unmatched riding at Princeville Ranch, as they offer the best horseback riding in Hawaii. Here’s why you’ll agree:

  • You can take private riding lessons with instructors on the ranch. 
  • They also offer ATV and zipline tours from their huge grounds.
  • Their riding trails have great photo-ops. 

Big Island

Waipi’o on Horseback

The Big Island offers some of the best and oldest horseback riding in Hawaii from its vast empty lands. The Waipi’o Valley has been a hub for riding tours on Big Island for its unmatched beauty but is closed to visitors now. However, you can still explore the surrounding area on horseback with great tours led by Waipi’o on Horseback.

From the WOH Ranch, guests can saddle up and mount their horses for a 2.5-hour ride. The tour offers views of the Big Island mountains as riders pass through the ranch’s 500-acre grounds stretching towards the coast. You’ll also pass lovely banana groves, fishponds, and a huge coconut orchid.

In addition, the horseback riding excursion passes by the Hamakua ditch, a historic spot on the island, and lots of lush greenery. We loved riding from the WOH Ranch, which offers stellar views and great riding. Here’s why you have to try them:

  • The ranch has wild horses from the Waipi’o Valley, trained for riding. 
  • You’ll hear the valley’s legends and history from the guides on the trip.
  • The ranch also offers ATV rides on its grounds. 


What island in Hawaii has horseback riding?

You can find great horseback riding in all the major Hawaiian islands, particularly Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, owing to Hawaii’s history of ranching and riding. 

How much does it cost to go horseback riding in Honolulu Hawaii?

Horseback riding tours in Hawaii cost between $50-200, depending on how long the trip lasts, the facilities provided, like lunch, and the activities included in each trip.

Can you ride horses in the water in Hawaii?

Strictly speaking, riding horses on the beach is illegal in Hawaii. However, ranches on the islands have protected oceanside trails leading to beaches, and guests can ride horses during tours.

Wrapping Up The Best Horseback Riding in Hawaii

Horseback riding is a must when you visit Hawaii, as the island has age-old ranches providing riding tours. You’ll find the ranches in Hawaii run by paniolos, who teach Hawaiian-style riding to visitors. 

My boyfriend and I have been riding for years in Hawaii, and its lush countryside, rainforests, and oceanside trails offer incredible horseback riding. 

Looking for private tours for horseback riding in Hawaii? Head to CJM Country Stables and Princeville Ranch in Kauai.

Want to ride horses in the lush countryside and valleys? Head to the Mendes Ranch in Upcountry Maui and WOH Ranch on the Big Island.

Need a break from the tourist crowds in Oahu? Visit the Kualoa Ranch and Gunstock Ranch in North shore Oahu.

So don’t miss out on horseback riding when you visit Hawaii!

Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Brigitte