Here in the United States, many titans of industry and historic businesses have risen and fallen. Names that were once prominent in history have faded in living memory, like the famed Gilded age family of the Vanderbilts that was once a household name and now a Gilded Age footnote. But in Hawaii, you will find several families and businesses that have continued to be center points of their communities. Haleakala Ranch is one such business and the Baldwin family is one such family.
Haleakala Ranch became an incorporated business in September of 1888 when Hawaii was still being ruled by a monarchy (King David Kalakaua to be exact). A few short years following incorporation, Henry Perrine Baldwin, a businessman and entrepreneur already making a name for himself via partnership in the Alexander & Baldwin company, joined as a shareholder and made some major investments in the physical land to become the ranch. Baldwin was shortly thereafter elected as the President of Haleakala Ranch.
In 1925, Baldwin’s sons took succeeded his leadership role in Haleakala Ranch. Harry Baldwin became the new President of Haleakala Ranch and Sam Baldwin became its Manager. The two work side-by-side to consolidate operations and really create the enduring legacy and community ranching institution it is so well known for today, well over a century after its initial creation.
So what exactly is Haleakala Ranch, you might be asking yourself. Haleakala Ranch, as its name suggests, is a massive cattle ranching operation. The corporation behind it holds over 30,000 acres in the heart of Maui’s Upcountry. This land is largely used for the care and maintenance of the group’s cattle herds, but it also gets used for other partnership activities. The Baldwin family and other Haleakala Ranch leaders, both past and present, have also taken island conservation very seriously. The ranch actually was once much larger but tens of thousands of acres were donated to Haleakala National Park for the enjoyment of all Hawaiians and all visitors to Hawaii.
Back to those partnership activities, however. While Haleakala Ranch is itself a functioning ranching operation that does not do their own on-premise tours, they do partner with a company that can help you get a bit closer. That company is Skyline Eco-Adventures.
Skyline Eco-Adventures was founded in 2002 as the very first zipline country in the United States. They have zipline tours across the Hawaiian islands, but one of their most popular ones is that which zooms over part of the Haleakala Ranch that has been left more wild and free.
You can choose from three Haleakala adventure tours via the Skyline Eco-Adventures group. There is the Haleakala Classic Sunrise Tour, the Haleakala Sunrise & Zip Tour, and the Haleakala 5-Line Adventure Tour. All of these take place at Haleakala Ranch and feature soaring over the spectacular landscapes that is this part of the island. Note that while you will be on part of the ranch’s property, you are not apt to see cows as this area is generally removed from the more useful grazing lands.
Another way to experience Haleakala Ranch is via dining. All of the cattle they process are grass-fed and pasture-raised without the use of any added hormones or antibiotics. This means delicious, pure cattle raised on the beautiful grassy slopes of Haleakala. Every pound of beef they sell is marketed and sold under the greater Maui Cattle Company brand, which can likewise be found in just about every market across the Hawaiian islands. You will also find many of Hawaii’s restaurants sourcing some or all of their beef products from the Maui Cattle Company.
A good place to get guaranteed Haleakala Ranch beef is at Mama’s Fish House. While they are known more for their seafood-driven Hawaiian menu, they also have several entrees that feature this local staple. You’ll find Mama’s Fish House on the northern shore of Maui with an oceanfront dining space in Paia.