Before the cowboys of the American West, there were the Hawaiian cowboys, paniolos, of the Big Island. With over 17,000 head of cattle spread across the rolling country between Kohala and Mauna Kea, Parker Ranch is not only the largest active cattle ranch in Hawaii, but one of the biggest and most historic ranches in the United States.
Explore cowboy life on the Big Island with a tour of Parker Ranch. Many guided tours of the Big Island include a a drive through the ranch’s scenic pastures, in addition to visiting island waterfalls, rain forest, and volcanoes. Those interested in learning more about the Parker family and Hawaii’s paniolo culture can take a free, self-guided tour of the ranch homes that includes a short film about the ranch’s history and exhibits about the Parker family.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Parker Ranch is a must-visit for those interested in Hawaiian history.
- Self-guided tours of two Parker Ranch homes, Puuopelu and Mana Hale, are free.
- The Parker Ranch Store sells souvenirs such as Hawaiian-style beef jerky, handcrafted jewelry, and paniolo apparel.
- Taste grass-fed, pasture-raised Hawaiian beef at Village Burger in the Parker Ranch Center shopping mall near the ranch.
How to Get There
Parker Ranch is located in the town of Waimea, in the central northern region of Hawaii’s Big Island. Most visitors arrive by car on their way from Hilo to the Kona coast or as part of a guided tour of the Big Island.
When to Get There
Parker Ranch can be visited year-round, and the ranch homes are open for tours Monday through Friday. The ranch holds rodeos and horse racing events over the 4th of July and Labor Day weekends. Stop by the visitor center in Parker Ranch Center in Waimea to find out what’s happening at the ranch.
Parker Ranch Rodeos
See the Hawaiian cowboys in action during the annual Parker Ranch 4th of July Rodeo. The Independence Day tradition includes team roping events, barrel racing, and horse racing, as well as local foods and pony rides for the kids.