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“Great but here are some additional tips!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pony Express Tours

Pony Express Tours
Haleakala Ranch, 18303 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, Maui, HI 96790
+1 808-667-2200
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Ranked #6 of 21 Activities in Kula
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Owner description: Pony Express Tours no longer operates rides into Haleakala National Park (Haleakala Crater). We are, however , continuing to offer guided horseback tours across historic Haleakala Ranch in up-country Maui. 2 and 1.5 hour rides are offered at 8:00AM and 11:00 AM respectively.
new york
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Great but here are some additional tips!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

I have been on a horse several times before, but this was definitely rather intense yet unmistakably fun! I highly recommend this tour because it is extremely scenic & a "must-do" while on Maui. Some of the drops were steep for the horses, but they were very calm, careful, and safe. They know the trails extremely well and all you have to do is pay attention and be prepared for leaning back or forward depending on whether you are heading upward or downward. The one thing I did NOT like about this trip was our guide, Ra. He was friendly to me the entire time, but was rude to one of the other guys on the ride (not with us). He raised his voice to him because he pulled too far back on the reins, and Ra thought the horse would back down/sit. It was really uncalled for, and he tried to set a very serious tone for the ride. Although you do need to be careful, you also should try to make the trip fun for your guests. We had fun anyway, but I was very disappointed with our guide. REMEMBER TO BRING A HAT, WARM CLOTHES, A BANDANA (to protect eyes from ash) --- can be very chilly at the top, and it's a very ashy ride so protect your eyes SOMEHOW. Bring lots of high SPF sunscreen too because you are SURE to get burnt. Drink water before you go too so you can adjust to altitude and so you don't dehydrate. Consider a small bottle of sanitizer too. It's a dirty (but well worth it) ride and you eat lunch in the crater, so freshen up a bit with that before eating. Also, the ride up the mountain was scary, but just be careful & drive slow. The elevation is 10,000 feet, but I'm afraid of heights and don't regret going. So, if you have this opportunity, take it and just be cautious! :) Have fun.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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131 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Columbus, Ohio, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Hard, dusty ride, but worth it”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

First, I agree with everything said thus far minus the "total rip off" part. We also had Ra as a guide. It's a long hard ride. I've ridden several times and knew going in how hard a two hour ride is on your body. Therefore, I was a little hesitant to sign up for a four hour ride. When you get off of the horse at the bottom, your knees will probably ache and you'll walk a little funny for a few minutes, but this goes away. The views of the "crater" (which isn't actually a crater after all) from the inside are, simply put, incredible. The landscape completely changes multiple times on the way down, and seeing it from the top just doesn't do it justice. To address walking it instead: I walked around at the bottom and the ground is loose, somewhat like walking on sand. So I really don't know how realistic it is to walk back out of there yourself. Seems to me you would be expending more energy than each step actually gains you (like walking on ice). Based on that alone, horseback was definitely the way to go. We actually went up for sunrise and explored a bit before doing this tour, which made for a long day. Your trip will be much more pleasant if you know the following: You will be covered head to toe with dust. Wear your worst outfit. You will inhale a lot of this dust over four hours. A handkercheif over your mouth and nose will provide invaluable. Also, wear tight fitting sunglasses as this dust will go for your eyes as well. If you have a nice camera, make sure you have proper dust protection and dust removal tools (lens covers, etc). If you have light hiking boots, it is worth bringing them over wearing tennis shoes. It's cold at the top and hot at the bottom, so wear layers. I wore a winter coat the entire time but for taking it off at the bottom. Bring gloves or wear sunscreen on the tops of your hands, as they will get burnt. Long socks also help, as your jeans will ride a little high when you're sitting on the horse. You'll need $10 cash to get in to the park. I think that's about it. The sandwiches at the bottom were quite tasty. Also, bring your own water, as we were given juice at the bottom. We went through 2 bottles each.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Once in a lifetime experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

We went into Haleakula Crater yesterday on horseback with Ra, our guide. He was very attentive and matched the horses up to the people, taking time to make sure your saddle, stirrups, etc. were just right. Be prepared for a long day. We are staying on West Maui, and it is about two hours to the park. Also bring plenty of water. The elevation dehydrates you. We met Ra at 9:15 at the summit and were back at the summit at 4 pm. It is not a baby trail! Wonderful views, exciting switchbacks, and exhilarating cliff trails. I have to admit I closed my eyes a few times and relied on my horse, Hopa. It is definitely worth the $ but be prepared to spend the day and be exhausted afterwards. I thought Ra was great! He is nice and mellow!

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Odessa, Delaware, United States
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Not the typical nose to tail ride”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Although the horses are nose to tail, the trail itself is steep and rocky. In some areas, the horses actually have to navigate 18" drops or climbs depending on which way you are going. The views are amazing! Ra is not very talkative, but that did not bother me. I was videoing and taking pictures the entire time. Quite frankly, I enjoyed the silence so I could observe. I am adventerous and I found this to be a satisfactory experience. Worth the money!

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Disappointed...don't believe the hype”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

This is the first review I am writing on tripadvisor but felt compelled to do so after our recent experience on the Sliding Sands Trail at the Haleakala Crater with Pony Express. The ride itself is 4 hours of riding (2 hours down and 2 hours back up) with about a half hour stop at the floor of the crater for lunch. The views were tremendous and riding on horseback certainly gave you a unique way to view the crater. However, this was by far the low point of our trip to Maui (which was filled with lots of fun adventure besides this trip). The trail is steep and rocky and the Guide, Ra, provided little to no guidance. We were put on horses that were clearly exhausted and not equipped to make the ride. I was actually extremely worried on the way back up the trail that my horse was not going to make it! I would have preferred to get off the horse and walk up the mountain. Ra had very little regard for keeping the group together and offered almost no commentary on the ride. The little that he did offer was extremely brief and often the people, like us, towards the back of the line could not hear. He made little to no effort to keep the group together when horses fell back out of exhaustion. I am a total adventurer and just didn't think the ride was fun at all and it was way too long. One hour would have been plenty. My advice would be to skip this excursion, it's a total rip off.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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