Aloha, fellow equestrian enthusiasts!
If you’re anything like me, discovering the wonders of Maui goes beyond just basking at its sun-kissed beaches or marveling at its cascading waterfalls. I recently ventured into Upcountry Maui with my boyfriend, and boy did we discover a hidden gem—horseback riding across the island’s picturesque ranches and vibrant plains. Intrigued? Well, saddle up, partner, because I’ll be sharing our thrilling experience along with some top-notch recommendations for the best horseback riding in Maui.
Now, as someone who adores everything equine-related and has been researching this topic for quite some time, trust me when I say that Maui is a truly unique paradise for horse lovers. The island not only offers diverse landscapes dominated by verdant forests and sprawling fields but also boasts an intriguing history of paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) and age-old ranches passed down through generations.
But before we dive right into this wild adventure, let’s address what may be on your mind: Why should you even care about exploring these gorgeous ranches tucked away in Kula or Makawao? Well dear reader (and fellow adventurer), if you’ve ever dreamt of straddling a magnificent steed while galloping through lush pastures with jaw-dropping views as your backdrop – then believe me when I say that it doesn’t get any better than this.
Warning: Once you experience the exhilarating feeling of horseback riding on this Hawaiian haven – which both my boyfriend and I can absolutely attest to – it might leave your heart racing with pure joy every time you spot a pair of worn cowboy boots.
So there you have it – if trotting around one-of-a-kind trails nestled amidst breathtaking panoramas sounds like something right up your alley, then join us as we embark on our unforgettable journey exploring the finest horseback riding spots that Maui has to offer.
Maui Horseback Riding Tour at Mendes Ranch
When it comes to horseback riding in Maui, there’s no place better than Mendes Ranch in Wailuku, which local paniolos have run for years. They offer scenic riding tours on their grounds and through the Upcountry Maui mountains and landscape with guides.
You’ll start with a forty-five-minute safety briefing and mounting session at the ranch, followed by a 1.5-hour ride. Then, you’ll trot the horses across green country pastures towards Waihee Valley, ride along the Pacific Ocean, and see panoramic views of the valley.
Finally, gradually make your way up the mountain, passing by taro patches and plantation homes, on the return trip to the Mendes Ranch.
We loved taking this tour at the Mendes Ranch; theirs is undoubtedly the best horseback riding in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The guide team is very professional and takes good care of rider safety.
- You get to learn about the ranch’s history on your tour.
- There are great photo-ops along the way, and guides snap photos of you.
West Maui Mountain Waterfall and Ocean Tour via Horseback
Enjoy riding horses on the beach with Maui Mountain Activities’ oceanside trails, which give stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This tour includes viewing mountains and waterfalls on a two-hour long tour and offers unmatched views of the island’s West Coast.
Based on your riding ability, you’ll get matched to a horse on arrival by experienced guides who later lead the tour. The ride up the valleys of the West Maui Mountains is a breathtaking experience as you pass through gulches and see waterfalls in the distance. Then, the tour heads down to the oceanfront trail and rides alongside the Pacific Ocean.
Experienced riddles will enjoy this tour as there are opportunities to canter or gallop if the weather stays well. In addition, guests can visit a petting zoo as part of the tour with sheep, ponies, and rabbits.
This tour was one of the best horseback riding experiences in Maui, and here’s why you’ll agree:
- The tour provides all riding equipment and refreshments afterward.
- Your guide gives insights into the local landscape and culture.
- The ride takes you to an overlook with views of Pu’u Kukui, where scenes of Jurassic Park were filmed.
Private Horseback Riding Tours at the Triple L Ranch
If you’re looking for a place with private horseback riding tours, come to the Triple L Ranch in Kula, which offers half-day excursions around the Haleakala region. The tour lasts 3.5-hours and includes amenities like lunch and refreshments, which is a much-needed treat after riding for hours.
On our last trip to Maui, we tried this tour, and the scenery was breathtaking on the trails. You’ll start on the Haleakala’s backside, wind through the ranch’s cattle country, and cross the ancient warring grounds past Pi’imoi cinder cone rich with Hawaiian plants such as Hale Koa and the Wili trees.
The trail ends on a lookout point with unmatched views of the Kahoolawe and Molokini islands. The paniolos treat you to a hearty feast of fresh grilled Triple L Ranch Burgers, plenty of savory treats, fresh fruits, and desserts.
Don’t miss a trip to the Triple L Ranch on your next trip, as they offer the best horseback riding in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- Their private tours include you and a local guide and teach you paniolo-style riding.
- They’re conscious of your food allergies and restrictions and prepare a lunch according to them.
- There are great farm animals on their ranch, which guests can see up close.
West Maui Journey at Ironwood Ranch
There’s something special about riding on private property through undisturbed lands, which is what you get at Ironwood Ranch. They’re located in the gorgeous Napili Area in West Maui, with exotic valleys, ironwood forests, and pineapple fields within their private grounds, accessible via riding trails.
Riders get a safety briefing, saddling, and mounting session at the ranch before starting, which lasts around forty-five minutes. Then, the private riding with a small group starts and tours above the Napili region alongside trained guides. The round trip lasts 1.5 hours, and you’ll ride over rolling hills and beautiful forests with aerial views of the outer islands.
In addition, you can schedule a one-on-one tour with a guide, which is great for beginners to learn the skill.
My boyfriend and I loved the experience at Ironwood Ranch for their unmatched views, and they offer some of the best horseback riding in Maui.
- The guides are terrific and keep riders entertained throughout the tour.
- The tour is very relaxing, as riders go at their own pace.
- You’ll hear interesting stories about the ranch and its lands on the way.
Morning Ride at Lahaina Stables
One of West Maui’s best places to ride is the Lahaina Stables, where local paniolos train horses and offer trail rides at different times. Guests can pick between early morning rides, a midday ride with lunch, and a beautiful sunset ride.
The guides at Lahaina Stables match each rider to a horse, so based on your skill level, there might be big stallions or calm ponies offering an excellent ride up the mountains.
We chose their popular morning riding tour lasting nearly 2 hours and starting in the late afternoon. This tour includes a peaceful ride through the area with a 15-minute hike in the beautiful West Maui Mountains above the Lahaina Road Stead. You can also opt for the lunch ride that’s a bit longer and includes a fresh deli lunch spread.
Make your trip memorable with a riding tour at Lahaina Stables, as they offer some of the best horseback riding in Maui.
- The guides are amazing and even narrate the history of places you pass by.
- You can bring a carrot or apple and feed it to your horses after the ride.
- The riding here is family-friendly.
Waikapu Plantation Ride at Makani Olu Ranch
The Makani Olu Ranch sits on the Waikapu Valley in the West Maui mountains, with unmatched views of Haleakala. They’re a small, family-run horseback riding and trail ride activity ranch, offering private rides, youth day camps, private riding lessons, and trail rides into the majestic Waikapu valley.
Guests can choose between a three-hour trip, including lunch, or a shorter trip without a meal. We’ve tried their morning ride that travels through the eastern slopes of the West Maui Mountains, with lots of photo ops of Haleakala and the central valley in the background. The two hours spent on these slopes were incredible and some of the best riding we’ve done in years!
Stop by Makani Olu Ranch on your next trip, as they offer the best horseback riding in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- They provide high-quality personalized services, so each guest gets individual attention.
- Their instructors provide hour-long private sessions in training for horsemanship.
- The ranch is ideal for families as younger children can learn to ride here.
Can you ride a horse on the beach on Maui?
Riding horses on the sand is illegal in Hawaii. However, you can take horses out on oceanside trails led by trained guides. Hit the trails with Maui Mountain Activities for incredible beachside riding.
Can you horseback ride in Maui, Hawaii?
Yes, horseback riding is a must-try activity in Maui, which paniolos have been fostering for years in the Upcountry. You can find private ranches and stables throughout the island, with access to horseback riding tours through the Maui landscape.
What island in Hawaii has horseback riding?
Horseback riding has a rich history in Hawaii, and each island offers terrific riding from age-old ranches. You can find the best horseback riding in Hawaii on the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu.
Winding Up The Horseback Riding in Maui
Maui’s sprawling landscape has so many hidden gems, which you can only explore through riding trails on private lands in Upcountry and West Maui. Owing to Maui’s rich history in cattle ranching, you’ll find tons of old ranches operating since the 1900s and providing excellent riding services.
Looking for a private horseback ride in Maui? Head to the Triple L Ranch.
Want to explore unseen parts of the Napili region in Maui? Try riding at the Ironwood Ranch.
Looking for family-friendly and beginner-level riding? Head to Lahaina Stables and the Makani Olu Ranch.
Horseback riding in Maui has something for everyone!
Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Brigitte