25 Jun 2021
Few places in the world offer the incredible freedom and scenic beauty of cycling on the Big Island of Hawaii. Bicycle routes on the Big Island are as ubiquitous as the roads, with a new adventure around every turn. While there are few places to go wrong on the island, some trips are safer and more enjoyable than others. Below you will find a list of some of the best bicycle paths on the island.
Biking on the Big Island of Hawaii
Honokaa to Waipio Valley via Highway 240 (9.5 miles one way)
Honokaa is a charming, old-style Hawaiian town that offers some of the best food on the island. It’s also a great place to start a fairly forgiving and beautiful bike ride to spectacular Waipio Valley. It’s best to start in the town of Honokaa, where ample free parking is available, and then proceed westward on Highway 240. The road is fairly uncrowded and contains a shoulder which varies between narrow and wide all the way to the end. The ride contains scenic views of the Hawaii countryside, lush forests and tropical ravines. At the end of the bike ride, you will be treated to the Waipio Valley Lookout - with beautiful views fit for a Hollywood movie.
Kiholo Bay to Puako via Highway 270 (19 miles one way)
The Queen K Highway is part of the world-famous Iron Man triathalon for a good reason. It features long straight-aways with wide shoulders and few steep gradients. The highway is the perfect set-up for long-distance biking and endurance training.
The Queen K Highway is surrounded by a moonscape of various historical lava flows. As a result, this bike path’s scenery is distinct from some of the island’s more tropical locations. The major resorts along the Kohala Coast can serve as pit stops for bikers looking to re-stock on food and water.
Be aware that afternoon temperatures can become uncomfortable during the summer months, so many bikers chose to take this route during the morning hours. Strong trade winds can add a level of difficulty while also making the daytime heat more comfortable.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (various routes)
Some of the most beautiful and rewarding cycling trails in the state can be found at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park has a wide variety of landscapes - from smoldering volcanic craters to cool rainforests and sunbaked lava fields.
One of the most scenic long-distance cycling trails in the park, “Escape Route to Mauna Ulu,” commences near the entrance to the famous Thurston Lava Tube. Cyclists on this trail are treated to views of high-altitude rainforests and misty lava flows. The area’s high elevation keeps the temperatures cool and the air damp. The trail is an old trucking road, so conditions can become muddy during periods of heavy rain.
A more detailed resorce on biking in the National Park can be found here.
Kohala Mountain Road via Highway 250
One of the most scenic bicycle routes in the state follows Kohala Mountain road between Kapa'au and Kamuela. The road travels across sloping pasture land with excellent views of the coastline. Starting in Kapa'au, the route steadily traverses to the southeast with a gradient averaging 8%. The road reaches a maximum altitude of 3,500ft after eight miles. The downhill return trip is nearly effortless and a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Highway 250 has a narrow shoulder, so cyclists should be aware of vehicles, particularly on tight turns. Moderate to strong trade winds and light drizzle are hallmarks of Kohala Mountain, so be prepared for periodic wet weather.
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