THE TROPICAL FORESTS, cobalt-blue sea and towering mountains of Maui lure thousands of visitors to this beautiful Hawaiian island every year. But only a few opt to see it from the back of a horse. Exploring the West Maui Mountains on horseback is a treat, and the Makani Olu Ranch, just 30 minutes from Lahaina, can provide you with that experience. Managed by horse trainer Yod Neal, the
ranch resides on private property
and features riding through a
variety of terrain, typically in small
groups of two to four riders.
The ranch’s two- to three-hour
ride takes you through pastures
and manicured gardens with
plumeria, palms and mango trees.
After crossing a stream that comes
from Mauna Kahalawai—the
Hawaiian name for the West Maui
Mountains—you ride through a
plantation that is home to Hawaii’s
largest herd of Texas
“The plantation is
peaceful, and riders
switch back their
way to the top of
the slopes, where
the bicoastal views
of Kahului and
take your breath
away,” says Neal. “Guests love
having the opportunity to ride
through pastures with the cattle,
and at times see cows with their
newborn calves.” The trek also
includes riding through the
organic farmland of Kumu Farms,
where the aroma of fresh basil and
rosemary fills the air.
Once on top of the valley, you
can enjoy a catered lunch and
relax to the sounds of rushing
stream water from Pu`u Kukui,
one of the wettest spots on earth.
“Pu`u Kukui is the highest peak
of Mauna Kahalwai, and o;ers
majestic views,” says Neal.
Riders of all experience levels are
accommodated at Makani Olu. All
guests are given a horsemanship
lesson before mounting, and are
encouraged to continue their
involvement with horses after
Say Aloha to Hawaii
Makani Olu Ranch on Maui offers an idyllic Hawaiian riding experience.
RIDING DESTINATION » BY AUDREY PAVIA / PHOTOS COURTESY MAKANI OLU
Guests ride through a working plantation,
complete with fruit trees and longhorn cattle.