Big Island Horseback Riding Tours

A wonderful way to view The Big Island is from the most natural perspective – horseback. Taking a horseback riding tour gives you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to view the island in a way that can’t be viewed by car and would be too exhausting by foot. You can cover hundreds of acres of untouched land and secret waterfalls on a simple one hour horseback ride.

The Big Island is the youngest, but the largest island in the Hawaiian Island Chain offering you many opportunities to explore places that have remained still as time has gone by. There are still ancient trails that you can follow on horseback that were once used by Native Hawaiians to gather food and water. These trails have withstood time and still provide the same breathtaking views from the mountains to the ocean as it did in ancient times. You will see great areas of open land untouched by the encroachment of industries.

Horseback riding on The Big Island also gives you an idea of what life was like in the early days of island settlement. The paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) raised herds of cattle that became a large income making industry for the island, next to its sugar plantation days. Today you can still see cattle being raised to provide meat to islanders and sheep roaming freely across acres of land.

The open lands, with no industrialization, keep The Big Island rural and frozen in its natural beauty. By horseback you are able to experience the freedom of viewing the island from high elevations to sea level in just one day. You can go from a cold and windy climate to a sunny hot climate in a matter of minutes. There is no other island that has 11 different climate zone than The Big Island. Viewing the island by horseback is a perfect way to experience the true beauty and essence of what makes The Big Island unique and why it has a relaxing atmosphere that you can feel from the moment you exit the plane.

Naapala Stable – Kahua Ranch and Waipio Valley

Naapala Stables, located in the region of North Kohala, offers you two diverse horseback riding adventures to explore the mysteries of The Big Island. The famous Kahua Ranch Horseback Adventure takes you on a horseback riding experience across almost 12,000 acres of land where you will come up alongside grazing cattle and sheep in their natural environment. You will see majestic views of the Kohala Mountains and the beautiful Kona and Kohala coastlines. No experience is needed for this tour that runs seven days a week. Beginner to advanced horseback riders are welcome on the tour. You just need to be eight years of age or older, weigh less than 230 pounds, and be in excellent health. It is recommended that you wear long pants, a shirt, and light jacket, as well as bring along water. The Explore Waipio on Horseback tour has the same requirements for the tour as the Kahua Ranch Horseback Adventure, but operates only from Monday through Saturday for a 2.5 hour tour either in the morning or afternoon. You will meet your tour guide at Waipio Valley Artworks where you will then travel by 4-wheel drive to the bottom of Waipio Valley for your horseback riding tour. The horses are kept at a stable in the valley. You will travel along the base of the valley through water streams, a black sand beach, and tropical forests to the bottom of a waterfall.

Dahana Ranch

Dahana Ranch is a privately owned ranch by a Native Hawaiian family, with lands that have been passed down from generation to generation since 1951. At the 3000 feet elevation you will travel through beautiful pasture land and take in the beauty of The Big Island’s mountains and coastline. There is no set trail that you will take. The horseback tour is on open land, free for you to explore. Riders should be three years old or older and weigh no more than 300 pounds. The entire tour is approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours taking you from the high elevation to the coastal area. You will see free-roaming cattle, sheep, and horses as well as the beautiful Waipio Valley and Mauna Kea volcano. It is recommended that you wear long pants, closed toe shoes, a shirt, and a light jacket or sweatshirt.

Kings Trail Rides

Kings Trail Rides is located in Kealakekua in the Kona region. This is an ancient horseback trail ride that lasts approximately two hours on horseback, traveling from a high elevation of Kealakekua down to Kealakekua Bay.  It will take you through forests of native plants and flowers that have withstood the test of time. This trail was said to be used often by Native Hawaiians to gather food and water in ancient times. At the end of the trail, you will be able to enjoy a picnic lunch and swim or snorkel in a private location above Kealakekua Bay. It is like your own special area on the island with no other visitors.

Cowboys of Hawaii at Parker Ranch

The Cowboys of Hawaii horseback riding tour at Parker Ranch gives you a first-hand experience of the most popular established ranch on The Big Island, which is home to the first paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys). The tour covers approximately 175,000 acres of land where you will view the original Parker family home sites, the Blacksmith shop, original stone corrals, and the first racetrack where many horses were bred and raced to break outstanding records. The tour operates seven days a week at 8:15 p.m., 12:15 p.m., or 4:00 p.m. You must be seven years of age or older. No experience is needed with horseback riding. If you are over 300 pounds you will need to contact the ranch directly before confirming your reservation. Private tours are also available if you want a more personal experience. It is recommended that you wear long pants, closed toe shoes, a shirt, and a light jacket. Refreshments are served on this tour.

Waipio Ridge Stables

Waipio Ridge Stables offers two tours allowing you the opportunity to experience Waipio Vally differently. The Valley Rim Ride is a 2.5 hour tour around the rim of Waipio Valley through Native Hawaiian forests. The tour starts at Kukuihaele Village. You will travel by sugar cane fields that were once home to Hawaii’s largest plantation and responsible for most of the immigration, alongside taro patched, and to the top of Hawaii’s tallest waterfall, called Hiilawe. You will travel along the stream that leads to the great Hiilawe waterfall and be able to take in the spectacular views of the valley as well as its coastline that is a great surfing spot among islanders. The tour takes a stop where you can have a picnic lunch. The Hidden Waterfall Rim Ride is a five to six hour tour that also travels along the rim of Waipio Valley and goes along the streams leading to Hiilawe. In addition, you will continue to travel through tropical forests and discover many hidden waterfalls of various sizes where you can have a picnic or even take a short swim.

Paniolo Adventures

Paniolo Adventures is located at Ponoholo Ranch on the Kohala Mountain. It covers approximately 11,000 acres of land from the island’s rainforest to the dry coastline. There are five different tours that are offered by Paniolo Adventures, including a private tour if you want a more serene adventure. The Paniolo horseback tour is approximately 2.5 hours and is great for beginner to advanced riders. You will see the vast views of the open land areas of the mountains and the Kawaihae and Kohala coastlines. The Picnic tour is three hours and includes a picnic lunch near Native Hawaiian trees and plants in an open field area with fantastic views of the island. This picnic lunch is included in the price of the tour. The Wrangler tour is for intermediate to experienced riders only. It is a four hour tour through the open acres of land with freedom to experience the panoramic views of the island. You must be 12 years or older for this tour. The Sunset tour starts at the 3,000 foot elevation of Ponoholo Ranch where you will have a clear view of the amazing Hawaiian sunset. Beginner to advanced riders are welcome on this tour. The last horseback tour option is the City Slicker. It is a relaxing tour that is evenly paced with views of the Kona and Kohala coastlines. It is designed to give you a sense of peace and calmness from the hectic life of the city. The tour lasts for approximately one hour.