Just an incredible journey, a mule ride is the only way down the pali (cliffside) besides hiking, but be prepared – this is not an easy ride. You'll be sore afterwards, even if you're an experienced rider ‒ and it's a safe bet that you've never experienced a ride like this one. Make reservations for the mule ride well in advance.
At some points the trail is only 2ft wide, nearly vertical in places, and yet the mules carefully pick their way down. The mule skinners and sure-footed animals are very skilled, so settle back and enjoy a natural thrill ride.
You'll need to be quick with the camera if you want to get shots of the stunning views, because the mules don't stop for photo ops. (Hiking down would offer better chances for good pictures.) It takes about 45 minutes going down and one hour going up. Remember your mule's name so that the guides will put you back on the right one for the trip up! Tours include a short riding lesson from real paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys), the Damien Tours bus tour and lunch. Advance reservations for these popular rides are essential. They can advise on transfers from the airport and elsewhere on the island.