Lest you think the only thing to do in on the North Shore of Kauai is go to the beach, we’d like to introduce you to one of the many additional activities that await you on your Princeville vacation. Princeville Ranch Adventures offers exclusive ziplining, kayaking and hiking tours on 2,500 acres of private lands on the North Shore of Kaua`i. These guided tours take you away from crowds to pristine areas that are otherwise inaccessible to the public. Their guides are entertaining and well educated on Hawai`i’s history, flora and fauna. The groups are kept small for everyone’s enjoyment. These lands are very special to us. Come and Play!
The History of Princeville Ranch Adventures
Princeville Ranch Adventures was opened by David and Denise Carswell in February of
1999. After David and Denise were married in 1997, they frequently hiked the ranch
together to the various swim holes and waterfalls. Their adventures led them to realize,
“This ranch is so much more than just cattle and horses; we should open a hiking
company!” Thus, Princeville Ranch Hiking Adventures was born.
Denise guided the first tour offered – the “Waterfall Excursion” hike – and her mom,
Jeannie, answered the phones and took reservations. This hike was offered twice a day
(too often for such a new tour). Denise would come back from the morning hike (with
only 2 people) and Jeannie would say “I got a phone call-you’re going out with 2 more
this afternoon”. Denise was very excited when this happened. “Wow, 4 people today.”
That was a good day.
About a year later, David was on horseback looking for a lost cow in the back portion of
the ranch. At the top of a ridge he heard the sound of water rushing. Later he hiked back
with a machete and found a twin waterfall. He went home very excited that day. “We
could figure out a way to kayak up the stream and do kayak tours to that waterfall!” After
much hard work trail building and clearing, the second tour was created – the “Jungle
Waterfall Kayak Adventure.” Thus, Princeville Ranch Hike & Kayak was born.
During this time the staff grew from two to six. Still on staff today are Janis Lyon and
Brady Cushway. Jeannie passed away in 2001, leaving behind some of her creative
endeavors such as painting. She is fondly remembered whenever we look at our precious
office cats Tabi and Hiker, as she was their original caretaker and gave them their names.
She is deeply appreciated for her role in starting up Princeville Ranch Hiking Adventures.
Cruise ship business was added on for the hike tour, and the staff soon grew to about ten.
As the company got busier and busier, even more crew was hired. In the fall of 2003,
David and Denise traveled to Costa Rica to research a tour they had heard of called “zip
line tours” or “canopy tours,” as they are known in that country. A new idea emerged,
“We could offer this kind of tour on the ranch!” After much hard work (the hardest
endeavor yet) and lots of trials and tribulations, the “Zip N’ Dip Expedition” was created,
and Princeville Ranch Adventures (PRA) was born. A few years later, two zip lines were
added to the Jungle Waterfall Kayak Adventure, and this tour was renamed the Jungle
By 2008 the company had grown to employ over 40 crewmembers. PRA was serving an average
of 75 guests per day during the slower seasons and 175 during busy times. This was a big change
from four guests a day back in 1999!
March 2010 brought additional exciting change when Princeville Ranch Adventures merged with
sister company Princeville Ranch Stables, under the Princeville Ranch Adventures banner.
David’s parents Gale and Donn Carswell had started this successful business in 1978, offering
guided horseback rides to inland waterfalls and to bluffs overlooking the ocean. David’s sister
Karin Carswell Guest came on board as part-owner, overseeing the horseback operations and
also continuing to manage the cattle ranching. With a staff of about 75, PRA now welcomes up
to 215 guests a day in the busy summer season!
Denise and David never imagined that their little hiking company would exceed a staff of 5.
Along with Karin, they remain grateful for the opportunity to own a company that shares the
pristine, natural beauty of inaccessible lands with Kauai’s visitors and residents alike.