Volcano Ride on Maui with Video

Horseback riding into the crater of a volcano on Maui tops my list as one of the coolest equestrian adventures.

by Darley Newman



At Haleakala National Park, I was challenged with descending twenty-five hundred feet from the summit to the crater floor on horseback.

The horses that undertake this journey from around ten thousand feet to approximately seventy-five hundred feet, have to be fit and adventurous, as do the riders.

I could hear the crunch of cinders beneath my horse’s hooves as we conquered switchbacks down the Sliding Sands Trail, passing by the prickly Haleakala Silversword, a rare otherworldly looking plant found only here. 

I looked out to the volcano’s abyss of jagged red, brown, purple, and green peaks. In the distance giant, powdery mounds of cinder arose. The cinders are so fine, you’d expect them to blow away, yet they remain.

Though Haleakala is an active volcano, it is not currently erupting. Its last eruption is thought to have occurred in 1790, which is not so long ago, geologically speaking. At some point, another is due.

Even though the sun can be intense during this ride, I still had a slight shiver as a wave of puffy clouds began to cross the open bowl towards me. Having visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island earlier in the trip, where a volcano is currently erupting, it was easy for me to imagine the loud rumble and violent lava flows happening here.

This dynamic crater is home to many rare insects and its own particular ecosystem, which makes keeping to the trails important. This made filming here a challenge, but one that our small but mighty crew embraced. 

When else would we be able to enjoy such an unusual ride?

Stay tuned for more of Haleakala National Park on Equitrekking's on PBS stations. Haleakala is featured in Equitrekking Great National Parks and Equitrekking Maui. Purchase DVDs in our store.

Head to Maui and conquer the volcano on a horseback riding vacation with EquitrekkingTravel.com. The Maui self drive tour is open to riders and their non-riding companions.