Haeleele Ridge Road Trail Horseback Riding
The MOST popular equestrian trail in Hawaii.
Wednesday 20 July 2016 04:05 GMT
North of Waimea on Kauai, the Haele ele Ridge Road is a 10 mile out and back route open to horseback riding. This red dirt road through the Puu Ka Pele Forest Reserve can be challenging since the elevation ranges from 3,150 to 1,300 feet, and it can be quite slippery when wet. There are several side trails and roads worth exploring.
To reach the trailhead from Waimea, head north on SR550 (Waimea Canyon Drive or aka Kokee Road) for 12 miles. At milepost 12, turn left on Haeleele Ridge Road sign. Head west on winding dirt road for 1.5 miles past the Lua Reservoir. Park near intersection with Contour Road.
Here are some notes on adventuring in Hawaii. First, unlike mainland forests, the tropical island forests can grow very dense and can mask dropoffs. Plus, the trails can be very wet and slick most of the year (December to February is the main rainy season, but expect rain all year round). Stay on the trail to avoid disorientation. Second, speaking of disorientation, be aware that most Hawaiian topographic maps use the Old Hawaiian Datum. When trying to use the latitude/longitude from those maps with a GPS unit, you will think you are 0.4 miles south/southeast of where you really are. Kind of important in a dense jungle. Third, the bacteria Leptospirosis is found in the local waters and mud. It causes flu like symptoms within 2-20 days of contact, and can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics. Fourth, when hiking about, walking sticks can be very helpful for stablity in the slick conditions, for probing mud hole depths and clearing webs of the tiny crab spider.
Overall, Haeleele Ridge Road Trail is the 1st most popular horse trail of all 19 horseback rides in Hawaii. Several of the better horse trails are nearby Haeleele Ridge Road Trail including Kauhao Ridge Road, Powerline Trail, Princeville Ranch, Keapana, Esprit De Corps, Mahaulepu and Silver Falls Ranch.