Month: January 2021

Feel the Raw Nature at Thompson Ranch

An interesting fact about the Thompson Ranch is that it looks more or less the same today as it did a century ago. One of the conditions of the sale of the property to the Thompson family was that it remains raw and undeveloped. The horses available are experienced and sufficiently trained to accommodate even the most novice of horse riders, while the terrain is sufficiently rugged and engaging for the more experienced riders. The Thompson Ranch has high caliber horses that are well cared for and work the cattle. The guides are quite passionate and knowledgeable about horse lore and speak enthusiastically about the preservation of native forest species and ranching operations.

The ride starts at the stable at four thousand feet and takes you uphill through the forests and ranch lands. The break at the cabin gives you an opportunity to enjoy stunning views of Haleakala as well as rolling fogs sliding across the hillside. It is a common phenomenon during the ride to be swathed with clouds creating a beautiful and dreamy atmosphere. As you make your way downhill back to the stables, the clouds lift revealing a panoramic view of both the north and south shores of the Island of Maui, as well as the large blue ocean beyond.

To get to Thompson Ranch in Maui, drive up the Haleakala Highway also known as HI-route thirty-seven going through residential areas featuring traffic lights, then going through a rural place referred to as Kula as you go further uphill. As you drive uphill, you will see a green park located to your left known as Rice Park, then go past Kekaulike Highway’s upper junction. Slow down as you approach Polipoli Road located to your left. Polipoli Road begins just before mile marker sixteen. Turn left, take the Polipoli road and proceed uphill towards the end of the road where it splits. Keep left and be on the lookout for signs to Thompson Ranch located to your left. You will soon reach an open gate. Enter and drive up for about a mile until you approach a flat area with a grassy guest’s parking spot on the left and a house located to the right. Park your car in the designated area, and a member of the Thompson family will guide you to the stables where your horseback riding adventure will begin.…

The Horseback Ride Adventure at Thompson Ranch

After acquiring the land, Jerry Thompson tried to keep up and maintain the ranch, but, facing an inheritance tax of over one million dollars, he decided to sell the ranch and remain with thirty acres. The ranch was purchased by a couple who established a Bed and Breakfast on the property and called it the Silver Cloud Ranch. Soon after, Oprah Winfrey developed an interest in the property as well as the Bed and Breakfast and offered to buy it from the new owners (with a little help from Allied International). Meanwhile, Jerry Thompson still owned the thirty acres and maintained the trail ride but was not able to make ends meet. Jerry was approached by a realtor, informing him of a wealthy buyer who was willing to offer quite a generous sum in exchange for the land. Jerry agreed to the deal and acquired a new piece of land where he built a home and re-established the Thompson Ranch on Polipoli Road. Oprah on the other hand did an extensive renovation of the twelve-bedroom Bed and Breakfast, and also built a new house behind the establishment

Thompson Ranch on Polipoli Road gives you the opportunity to enjoy the “big sky” of upcountry Maui while taking a delightful horse ride on the family-operated ranch. This fantastic adventure presents you with rare horseback access to fourteen hundred mountainous acres and an opportunity to enjoy the ride, slow down, and relax. There are a variety of activities you can indulge in, from easy to moderate, based on your level of horse riding.

Individuals or couples can join a few other people and embark on a group ride. The maximum number of people allowed in one group are two children and four to five adults. If you would prefer a private ride for your family, this can also be arranged. The minimum age of children allowed to embark on the horse bark rides is six years.

The horseback ride comprises two to two and a half hours of adventure all the way up to the mountain cabin and downhill using the same trail. There is a thirty-minute snack break at the cabin, and the ranch provides water, apple juice, and potato chips. Something worth noting is that individuals with back problems may find this activity a bit stressful due to the uneven steep terrain. The cost ranges from $100 to $150 per head depending on the size of the group.

Every year, the Thompsons host a ranch experience and horseback ride. Grazing sixty heads of cattle, about 1000 goats, turkeys, and chickens are the mainstays of the ranch, but the guided horseback rides are what the younger Thompson generation is passionate about due to their love for horsemanship. The experience is superior to the standard commercial horseback rides where you arrive by the busload. Instead, the Thompsons offer a more intimate approach to horseback riding where you are treated like family and feel quite at home. The setting of the ranch is reminiscent of a time that has long passed and takes you back to a century ago.…