Maui Horseback Riding
Several riding stables and working ranches are located on Maui and they offer vacationers a chance to enjoy the view from the saddle. All will want to know your level of experience so you can be matched up with a horse that will be appropriate for your riding ability. If you're a beginner, don't worry, you'll learn quickly (horses steer just like a car). If you're a veteran equestrian we have rides that are a bit more challenging. All rides require closed-toed shoes and long pants. All in all, we can safely say that your ride here on Maui will be one of the most beautiful and fun you have ever taken. Horseback riding has limited availability so they book up in advance ... don't wait until you arrive on Maui. Reserve NOW!!!
Current special: All rides are $99 per rider (last year's rate was $110).
Journey into an actual working cattle ranch nestled in the heart of West Maui and ride the range. Descend upon crashing waves overlooking pristine shorelines. Mendes Ranch offers a 1.5 to 2 hour ride at 8:45am and 12:15pm and the cost is $99 per person. (Closed on Sundays ... minimum age 7 ... maximum weight 250 pounds)
At the end of the morning ride (or the beginning of the afternoon ride) you may enjoy a western-style open pit BBQ with Alan Mendes' own marinated "Azeka-style" ribs, generous portions of rice, baked beans, potato salad, gourmet cookies, and more at a cost of $15 per person.
- AM RIDE: $99 per person ($114 with lunch)
- PM Ride: $99 per person ($114 with lunch)
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Cruise Ship Clients
NCL cruise ship passengers are able do Mendes Ranch on the morning or afternoon of their second day in port in Kahului. This is a 10-12 minute cab ride to the ranch, or we can arrange a rental car with shuttle pick-up at the harbor for $39 per day. This can also work for Lahaina cruise ship passengers on the afternoon of their first day(as long as your ship is running tenders until at least 8pm) or on the morning of their second day in port but you will need a rental car and the drive time is about an hour. For rental cars with cruise ship shuttle pick-up see our rental car page.
Makani Olu Ranch
Makani Olu Ranch is a family oriented working cattle ranch and equine facility in Central Maui. Their unique location gives guests the opportunity to ride through diverse agriculture at the Maui Tropical Plantation and then up into scenic Waikapu Valley which offers a unique perspective of Haleakala, the north and south shore, and views back into the heart of the West Maui Mountains. Waikapu stream flows year round, and riders cross the stream twice on their ride.
The thing that sets Makani Olu Ranch apart from many other horseback rides in Hawaii is that the emphasis here is on small groups and providing a personal touch and the aloha spirit. Group rides are limited to a maximum of 8 guests, and private rides for one or two people are offered. Makani Olu Ranch rides are offered 7 days a week.
Plantation Ride with Lunch: A small group tour with maximum of 8 riders; check in is at 9:30am. This mostly walking-paced ride crosses Waikapu Stream, heads down to the Maui Tropical Plantation, and then up to a reservoir located higher up in Waikapu Valley where lunch is served. Total event length is 3 hours and total time in the saddle is between 1 1/2 to 1/ 3/4 hours. $125 per rider
Plantation Ride (no lunch): Same ride but without the lunch stop at the reservoir. Total event length is 2 hours and time in the saddle is between 1 1/2 to 1/ 3/4 hours. $105 per rider
Private Ranch Ride: For one or two people ... this ride caters to those who have some horseback riding experience but would like to improve their skills. Horsemanship and handling techniques that are easy to understand are demonstrated and explained. The exact route and pace of the ride will be based upon the guest's level of experience. Total event time is 3 hours with approximately 2.5 hours in the saddle. $150 per rider
Youth Horsemanship Day Camp: Correct horsemanship skills are instilled with riding instruction and classroom work. This is quality horsemanship with a designed program discussing everything from correctly approaching a horse, their anatomy, saddling, bridling and exploring the gaits of the horse. This day is fast-paced and loaded with fun from 9am to 3pm and students come away with new-found knowledge and confidence with horses. $150 per student(minimum class size is 2 students)
Maximum rider weight is typically 220 pounds (may be able to extend to 230 for tall individuals; may be lower for very short individuals). Minimum age is 10 and minimum height is 4 feet 11 inches. Any exceptions to these minimums must be approved in advance when reservation is confirmed. All participants must sign a waiver of liability and riders under 18 require the signature of a parent or guardian. No pregnant riders permitted.
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Cruise Ship Clients
NCL cruise ship passengers are able do Makani Olu ranch rides on either their first day or the second day in port in Kahului (yes, this is one ranch that does operate on Sunday). This is a 10 minute cab ride to the ranch, or we can arrange a rental car with shuttle pick-up at the harbor for $39 per day. This can also work for Lahaina cruise ship passengers but you will need a rental car and the drive time is about an hour. For rental cars with cruise ship shuttle pick-up see our rental car page.
Nestled along the slopes of the West Maui Mountains, Lahaina Stables offers a 2 hour morning ride for $120pp, a 2.5 hour lunch ride for $145pp, and a 2 hour sunset ride for $130pp. Our recommendation is to do the sunset ride ... this is the most beautiful time of day as you watch the evening colors paint the ocean ... and the islands of Lanai and Molokai across the channel. This ride is probably the best choice for experienced riders as there is more freedom to cantor. Maximum weight is 230 pounds, and their minimum age is 8 (except by special permission for experienced young riders). Lahaina Stables operates every day except Sundays.
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Cruise Ship Clients
NCL cruise ship passengers are able do Lahaina Stables on the first day in port in Kahului (for the lunch ride or sunset ride) and the second day in port (for the morning ride or lunch ride). Drive time is one hour, and we can arrange a rental car with shuttle pick-up at the harbor for $39 per day. For rental cars with cruise ship shuttle pick-up see our rental car page. Lahaina cruise ship passengers who are in port for just one day can do the lunch ride. Those who are spending two days in Lahaina can also do the sunset ride on the first day or the morning ride on the second day in port. This requires a very short cab ride of 5 minutes from Lahaina Harbor.
Many people don't realize that Hawaii has a rich cowboy tradition and that ranching is big in the islands. The Hawaiian language even has a word for cowboy ... "Paniolo." You'll tap into that history if you do a horseback ride on Maui. Because horseback riding takes place in small groups, reservations should be made well in advance of your arrival ... we suggest three weeks as a minimum.
Makani Olu Ranch is a great recommendation because their emphasis is on horsemanship and providing a more exclusive experience for a more exclusive clientele. This is NOT the kind of experience where you sit as a perched passenger on a 1200 pound animal that has a mind of its own and is taught to ignore you and follow the tail of the horse in front of it. There are plenty of places that feature rides like that. If you love horses, this is the best experience for you on Maui.
Mendes Ranch is the largest and most well-known horseback riding operation on Maui. They have stunning ocean views from their ranch which is nestled at the top of a 1,000 foot bluff along the north shore of the West Maui Mountains. You ride from the upper ranch down a gently sloping trail that leads all the way to the ocean and then back again. This ride has a slow enough pace for beginners who have never been on a horse before, but there are one or two places where the more experienced can canter for short distances. This ride scores well on scenery; less so for the actual horse experience as these horses seem to be in control of the rider and not the other way around. Overall it's a good experience for beginners, or for more advanced riders we recommend their private rides. Mendes Ranch recently changed the length of their rides from 2 hours to an hour and a half. They said that the 2 hour ride was taking 2 and a half hours, so they adjusted the ride to 90 minutes so that it now takes 2 hours ... haha. I think it's safe to say the ride there will last between an hour and a half and two hours depending on the speed of the group. A nice affordable BBQ lunch is available with either the morning or afternoon ride, but if you plan to eat lunch we recommend you do the morning ride and then eat lunch. The afternoon ride eats lunch and THEN goes on the horseback ride, and if you eat too much you might feel more like taking a nap than riding a horse!
Lahaina Stables certainly has a convenient location close to Lahaina town. When doing their ride I found their horses to be responsive and spirited (i.e.. hold onto your hats!). Their location is HOT during the day and lacks shade ... which iswhy we recommend the sunset ride (that's a great time of day to enjoy this area). The views coming back down at the end of the ride at sunset can be stunning as you see the sun setting over the Pacific with Lanai and Molokai across the channel.
Please note maximum weights and minimum ages for riders when making your reservations.