When a person pictures the Hawaiian islands, the first landscapes that often pop into mind involve sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and luaus with tropical backdrops. Such iconic images are, after all, iconic for a reason. Yet, go beyond these standard postcard shots, and you’ll find a whole other side of Hawaii waiting to entrance you. Princeville Ranch is an excellent example of this.
Princeville Ranch is a unique attraction offered at the Princeville Resort on the island of Kauai. This resort is conveniently located on the northern end of the island less than a mile down the road from Princeville Airport. Driving here from anywhere on the island is relatively easy thanks to its prominent location off one of the island’s main highways, Highway 56.
The Princeville Resort offers several fantastic attractions, but it is the Princeville Ranch that has earned some of the highest praise and excitement by visitors. At the Princeville Ranch, guests can experience another side of Hawaii — one that includes horseback adventures and zip lines across the island’s interior countryside.
Don’t think a horse ranch is authentic Hawaii? Think again. Cattle ranching became an integral part of Hawaiian culture at the start of the 19th century. Today, cattle and calves are Hawaii’s third most important commodity. Thus, a visit to the Princeville Ranch likewise offers a great way to learn more about that history and to check out the Hawaiian countryside from a different perspective. Curly and Gale Carswell opened their own 2,500-acre horse and cattle ranch operation to the general public in 1978. Today, their children lead operations and offer visitors a variety of exciting adventures including trail riding, arena lessons, and more.
Trail Riding Lessons
The trail riding “lessons” offered by Princeville Ranch Adventures are rather relaxed and open to individuals of every skill level. The private instructor or instructors work with each member of a party to match them with the right horse and educational materials per their skill level. Once acquainted with general horsemanship, the instructor leads the party across the ranch’s gorgeous private landscapes for a one-of-a-kind trail riding experience.
Horseback Arena Lessons
This activity is ideal for those individuals looking for a more in-depth understanding of natural horsemanship. Here, students learn a more holistic approach to riding and general horse care. An instructor will lead in classes on grooming, tacking, groundwork, spatial awareness, and both English and Western-style riding. While you can book just one horseback arena lesson, consider paying the discounted $400 package that includes four lessons.
Waterfall & Private Horseback Rides
These two adventures are not always available, tending to be offered only during off-season months, so it is important to call Princeville Ranch directly before planning this style adventure.
But those lucky enough to book one of these trips will find themselves in for a real treat! Remember, the Princeville Ranch spans an incredible 2,500 acres and these private trail adventures allow individuals to interact with such a great expanse all on their own. Included on the property is a trail through dense natural Hawaiian rainforest that ends in a stunning (and private) 80-foot waterfall.
No matter your age or riding ability, the Princeville Ranch will have something for you. If horses aren’t your preferred way of traveling, then be sure to ask after their on-site zip lines that offer another exciting perspective of the Princeville countryside. Or ditch the hooves and opt for an ATV adventure. With so many ways to explore Kauai, it’s no wonder that Princeville Ranch consistently ranks as among the top outfitters and attractions for the northern part of the island.
Princeville Ranch follows strict height-to-weight ratios for the safety and comfort of riders and horses. Be sure to check their online chart before booking a trip. If this excludes a party member, consider asking after their ATV adventures.