Maha’ulepu is a very sacred area located on Kauai. It is without a doubt the most picturesque coastal region you’ll ever see. Some people might even argue that it surpasses the majesty of California’s Big Sur in its own extraordinary way. Maha’ulepu is a source of renewal. An undeveloped, secluded retreat for the soul. And you guessed it, the perfect place to go horseback riding.
I don’t even remember the last time I went horseback riding. I must have been around five or six-years-old. What I do remember is telling myself that if I were to ever get on a horse, again, I’d make sure it was a ride somewhere absolutely breathtaking.
Recently, I had that opportunity — thanks to the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau. They invited me out to the island to experience all of the splendor and adventure it has to offer those seeking the ultimate vacation in paradise, including a scenic beach and valley ride with CJM Country Stables, $110 plus tax.
CJM Country Stables is located on Kauai’s South Shore in Poipu, a place that’s pretty much drenched in sunshine year round. It also has one of the most pristine stretches of coastline and scenic views you’ll ever lay eyes on.
When you imagine the type of scenery you expect and hope to see on Kauai, this is it. This is what you have been daydreaming about. That’s because the trails traverse through Maha’ulepu.
This trail ride is approximately two hours on horseback, and once it’s over and you begin heading back to the stables, you’ll wish you could ride all day (unless you have a sore okole afterwards). The only aspect that may disappoint some visitors is that you won’t actually be riding much on the beach itself, which means no splashing through the ocean like you see in the movies. However, after exploring the countryside, there is a trail that will lead you down to a magnificent beach where you can experience what it’s like to ride along the sand for a few minutes and listen to the crashing waves. Close enough, right?
Keep in mind that this particular choice of trail ride is also walking only, with the occasional fast trot. So, if you are a more experienced rider and are looking for a thrill, you may want to book a private ride, $140 per hour.
Owner Jimmy Miranda was my guide. He grew up on a small ranch on the Big Island. It was a 35,000 acre cattle ranch with 7,000 cattle. Consider yourself lucky if he leads your trail ride. He is incredibly informative and has one hell of a personality. Throughout the tour he provided constant narration of the scenery, including the wonderful variety of animal and plant life, and told us the story of the island along the way.
My horse, Lil’ Joe, would probably make even the most inexperienced rider comfortable. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant at first about saddling up, but those apprehensions faded once I realized how well-trained and composed the horses were.
Just pay attention to Jimmy’s advice during the orientation on how to get your horse to go forward, go backward and stop, and you’ll be just fine. Other than that, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. It’s like riding the carousel at an amusement park, except you don’t go ’round and ’round in circles.
The tour ends back at the stables, where you can take in the beautiful view before embarking on your next adventure.
CJM Country Stables offers three choices of trails rides: a Scenic Beach and Valley Ride, a Secret Picnic Ride, or a Private Custom Ride. They also offer free monthly rodeos that feature Hawaiian Cowboy events and host Western themed parties.
Are you ready to experience Kauai on horseback? Remember to bring a camera to capture all the unforgettable sights.