Believe it or not, tropical Hawai`i’s history includes cowboys and ranching! The first European explorers to Hawai`i gifted King Kamehameha with 5 head of cattle in 1790. The animals were initially considered sacred, and just 20 years later thousands of wild cattle were roaming the landscape and wreaking havoc. The solution? Mexican cowboys (known as paniolos) were brought to the islands to help run the new cattle ranches. While visiting, you can live that legacy today on horseback with scenic trails and romantic sunset rides on secluded North Shore beaches.
Horseback Riding Oahu: The Polo Grounds
Whether donning your best fancy hat and attending a Saturday polo match (beware the steaming divot!) or making your significant other’s romantic fantasies come true with sunset horseback riding in Oahu on the beach, the North Shore Polo Grounds are fun for couples and families alike. During the polo season crowds come to fill the grandstands or watch the exciting action from the beach, and the live music and post-match parties are always popular. Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Trail Rides offers guided tours (day trips, sunset tours, or you can add on a polo lesson) that take you through miles of wilderness trails and onto the pristine sands of the North Shore. Your guide will tailor your ride to your experience level and abilities, so all are welcome. The stable features group tours during the day, at sunset, or with polo lessons. Private rides are also available for romantic getaways. Located in Waialua, individual rides range from $88 to $128.
A Jungle Up There
If you want to let a horse do your hiking, Happy Trails Hawaii is located on a ridge overlooking the scenic nature preserve of Waimea Valley and offers horseback riding Honolulu trail rides through the jungle forests. Views of the Waianae Mountains, Kaena Point, and North Shore beaches will take your breath away. Sample tropical fruits including mango, starfruit, banana, lilikoi, and strawberry guava, and inhale the intoxicating scent of the flowering forest all around you.
Many a visitor – and local – has climbed the 1,048 steps to the top of Koko Head crater, the prominent landmark rising 1,208 feet above the lagoons of Hawaii Kai. Far fewer know about the lush botanical garden that winds through the interior of adjacent Koko Crater. Accessible from the north side, the gardens feature Hawaiian wilderness and native plants in pristine conditions. Koko Crater Stables offers one-hour, guided horseback riding Oahu trail through this natural wilderness in the hidden tuft cone of the extinct volcano. Riders get to meet and greet their horses and can even try out their skills on the parade ground (if comfortable).
If you are of the opinion that 4 legs are better than 2, make sure to book your horseback riding Honolulu trail ride today. Just remember, you cannot bring your new equine friend back to your condo at Ko Olina, so be sure to take a camera to capture all of your memories!