Paniolo Adventures

Paniolo Adventures-Open-Range Horseback Rides on 11,000 Working Ranch
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Paniolo Adventures offers five horseback riding adventures on the Ponoholo Ranch. The ranch occupies 11,000 acres, has 6,000-8,000 head of cattle, and covers three climate zones. Riders of all levels are welcomed, and the guides offer cantering and trotting opportunities. Private rides are available for special occasions or for entertaining business guests.

- The Local Expert Team

Have you ever dreamed of being a cowboy? What about riding the open range or claiming you’ve been horseback riding on a Hawaiian mountain? You can do all of these and more at Paniolo Adventures. The word “paniolo” is Hawaiian for “cowboy.” And at Paniolo Adventures, you’ll not only get to ride a horse like a cowboy, but you can dress like one, too. Paniolo Adventures will supply you with boots, hats, chaps, and Australian dusters for your ride. 

What makes Paniolo Adventures extraordinary is that they are part of the Ponoholo Ranch. This working ranch sprawls over 11,000 acres and has between 6,000-8,000 cattle, making Ponoholo Ranch the second largest on the island. As if that weren’t amazing enough, the ranch is in three climate zones, including the tropical rain forest at 4,800 feet down to the ocean. As a rider on one of their adventures, you’ll have picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, Kohala and Kona coasts, and the volcanoes Mauna Loa, Hualalai, and Haleakala on Maui. 

Paniolo Adventures offers five horseback riding packages. They offer packages for novices and adventures for experienced riders. Here are the five horseback rides in more detail.

Morning Paniolo Ride
Check-in: 9:30 AM 
Duration: 2.5 hours

Once you’re dressed to look like a paniolo and paired with your horse, you’ll explore the vast 11,000-acre ranch. You’ll marvel at the jaw-dropping views of the ocean, volcanoes, and coastlines. You’ll see ancient Hawaiian ruins and meander near the grazing cattle. All experience levels are welcomed, and if you’re interested, you’ll get the chance to canter and trot.

Afternoon Paniolo Ride
Check-in: 1 PM
Duration: 2.5 hours

This adventure is like the morning ride but later in the day. And since temperatures on Kohala Mountain are 10-15° cooler than at sea level, this ride isn’t as hot as you’d expect.  

Wrangler Ride
Check-in: 8:30 AM
Duration: 4 hours

If you’re an experienced rider or have ridden at least 50 times in the last five years and are over 12-years of age, this is the ride for you! This adventure gives you more opportunities to trot and canter and more saddle time. Like the Morning and Afternoon tours, you’ll see Hawaii in a way most never do.

Sunset Ride
Check-in: varies by season
Duration: 1.5 hours

Picture yourself on horseback at 3,000 feet, watching the sunset over the Pacific’s horizon. As the colors change, the ocean, coastline, and surrounding ranch acreage transform into a picture-perfect moment, one you’ll remember forever. Trotting and cantering opportunities are available, too.

City Slicker Ride
Check-in: 1:30 PM
Duration: 1 hour

There’s no shame in being a tenderfoot, so Paniolo Adventures created the City Slicker Ride. This “walking only” ride is for those who want a horseback adventure that’s calm and relaxing. And your rear end will thank you for the shorter saddle time!

Private Ride
Check-in: same times as any of the other adventures
Duration: varies per adventure

The gist of this package is that you pick one of their rides and times, and then it’s just you (or your group) and your wrangler. This ride is perfect for honeymooners, special occasions, or entertaining business associates. 

Paniolo Adventures offers top-notch horseback rides for every level of experience. We think you can’t go wrong booking any of their five adventures. Their horses are well-taken care of, the staff is courteous and professional, and the setting is stunning. 

Insider Tip:
If you’re concerned about getting a sore rear end, Paniolo Adventures has pillows. Placed on the saddle, it helps buffer the bumps to the bum.