Surrounded by steeply rising hillsides, a river stone wall, and a green garden, a horse and a mule graze on valley grasses. The Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii is a highlight for everyone who experiences it. And it is an experience. Getting into the valley requires a four-wheel drive vehicle and conviction as you drive down a narrow road with a steepness grade of 45% in some places.
Once at the valley floor, visitors are met by a wide river, taro patches, and a rugged road winding through green farms and homes of many who prefer the solitude their deep valley offers. For those who want to tour beyond a few miles, donkeys and horses like these are pressed into service by locals with land-crossing agreements. Tours take riders upstream and plunge deep into the lush valley while guides tell equally vibrant stories and history of the land.