Note: effective February 2022, access to the valley road is restricted, indefinitely. As such, access to tourist activities in the valley is prohibited.
I have to admit that I looked forward to the van ride down into Waipio Valley almost as much as the horseback ride. As we began our 25% grade (the equivalent of a 45 degree angle) decent, my heart started racing a bit. We were advised to open the van doors and not fasten our seat belts in case the van tumbled off the road, we’d be able to get out of the vehicle quicker. Gulp!
Though thrilling, our van ride was uneventful, thankfully. Once we arrived at Na’alapa Stables, the heart rate returned to normal. The slow and steady pace on horseback provided just the right speed to soak in Waipio’s verdantly green valley. As I guided my horse on the dirt road and through several streams, I was able to admire the fertile farms and canopy of trees. I could visualize how this valley had once sustained thousands of Hawaiians centuries ago.
While in the valley, I could finally see the many pencil-thin waterfalls flowing down the valley walls. I had heard about them, but had never been able to see them from the lookouts above the valley. The most impressive waterfall seemed to be perfectly positioned in the middle of the valley and its height is at nearly 1300 feet.
One of the most surprising things I saw in the valley was an abundance of wild horses. Though wild, they may have been wearing watches as they seemed to know the feeding time for the horses of Na’alapa Stables. They showed up to steal some nibbles promptly at lunch time.
After thanking our horses for the gentle ride, we hopped back into the van for the vertical ride up out of the valley. That was one last adventure that completed the tour.
We saw a few hikers that made the trek down and painfully steep climb back to the top. I feel like we got to see a lot more of the valley via horseback than if we’d hiked it. Certainly, this horseback riding tour is more time efficient than hiking it.
We both enjoyed this slow paced view of Waipio Valley and definitely recommend this adventure as a great Hawaii vacation activity.
What to know when you go:
– Na’alapa Stables offers a morning and afternoon ride Monday – Saturday. We took the morning ride, which we liked, but I hear the afternoon ride is nice as well.
– The nice staff will match your riding experience and skills with the horse.
– Definitely pay attention to the instructions. The staff know the horses and their tendencies. Listen to their instructions that will keep you out of trouble.
– The price is $88.54 which includes tax, but not gratuity. This tour is well priced for a 2.5 hour adventure! (There’s a shuttle-only service that’s $50 alone.)
– Wear long pants and shoes with a covered toe that you wouldn’t mind getting wet. (I wore these shoes.) We crossed several streams.
– I recommend bringing mosquito repellant to be on the safe side. Mosquitos love my blood, so I wore it and didn’t get bitten. Andy didn’t wear any repellant and didn’t get a single bite.
– You might want to bring a bottle of water.
– You can see all the photos we took from our Waipio Valley horseback riding adventure. Please bear in mind that it’s difficult to take a photo one-handed on a moving horse.
– For more information and directions, see the Na’alapa Stables website.
Mahalo to Na’alapa Stabels for sponsoring our tour.