Big Island of Hawaii Mountain Bike Trails
WE DO NOT OFFER DAY TOURS, SO DON'T CALL UNLESS YOU PLAN ON A COMPLETE VACATION WITH DREAMRIDE! This is a small sample of trails utilized on the Big Island of Hawaii as routes included in multi-sport vacation packages. Trails listed here are open to the public without special permits, so you may use this listing as a guide for your particular skill level and as a source of ideas and information as Dreamride prepares your specific itinerary. Take into consideration that this is only a partial listing and that there are many, many other trails available to Dreamride clients on the Big Island of Hawaii, as well as a vast number of water sports locations accessable via mountain bike and 4WD roads.
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Novice to Intermediate Trails on Hawaii
Puna Coast Road
A rugged, poorly maintained road on the very edge of the Puna Coast presents you with visits to beaches, side spurs and resorts along the way. The ride begins at a remote beach park that offers expert surfing and excellent shoreline fishing. Beach parks along the way feature hot springs and spectacular lava cliffs. The turnaround spot for this twenty mile ride ends within sight of the newest volcano vent on the island.
Mana Road (out and back)
Leaving from just a few miles from our Wiamea accommodations, this ride is simply beautiful and reminds us of areas of northern California with Eucalyptus trees and lovely lush rolling green hills. The big difference is Kohala's green color resulting from the misting this area gets constantly year round. The surface of the trail is hardpack and the technical challenge in mild. There is a bit of climbing here and there and the ensuing descents are moderate. Land on either side of the road is Parker Ranch lands.
This is a great beach ride with some mild to moderately challenging deep sand and sharp lava in spots. The main attraction is the ocean and the opportunity to swim or surf nearby. This is also a great spot for a night ride during the full moon. Very close to Kailua, this ride enables us to enjoy nearby restaurants, entertainment and services.
Around Kiluea Caldera
Circle the Volcano on pavement and singletrack. Views are spectacular and visits to the riff zone and the crater are geological treats. A visit to the Jagger Museum and other Volcano National Park attractions are optional. This ride is not recommended to anyone with any sort of respiratory problems like asthma. Gases escaping from the vents can be a hazard to pregnant women especially.
Volcano Escape Road
This 4WD road created in the late 1800's to shuttle tourists and supplies to a ocean boat launch from Kiluea Crater. It is now used as an emergency escape road and is suitable for 4WD, hiking and horseback riding. The trail can be fast and furious, but we must watch out for the occasional 4WD or equestrian or hiker. The road leads you through tunnels of fern and over areas of bumpy lava rock. This route can be done as a shuttle, an out and back, a loop or part of a figure eight.
This scenic trek is an easy ride technically, but with a steady climb (really pleasant and easy if done as a one-way downhill with a shuttle at the bottom). Pu'uhue Road is in North Kohala and takes you through private ranch lands with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the island of Maui. A good suggestion for advanced snorkelers is to combine this ride with a challenging snorkel in North Kohala. We know of a wreck that can be explored by snorkelers who are experienced enough to play around at twenty feet down.
This is one of our favorite interpretive rides that features a number of interesting historic sites along the trail. Close to the Pu'uhue Road, these two rides can be done as part of a single excursion with a small lunch and hike in between.
The first section of this steep trail is fine for strong novices. The wide trail is packed cinder and does not present you with anything much in the technical arena, but it will bust your lungs if you insist on hammering up. Options off of the main trail are only for intermediate to advanced riders.
Intermediate to Expert Trails on Hawaii
Volcano Figure Eight
We love this ride for the astounding geological features and events, and the Volcano National Park's variety of scenery, wildlife and weather. Nothing too technical here, but distance, noxious gases and sustained climbing add up to the need for endurance and strength that only strong intermediate to gonzo riders possess. Speed can happen here. Pavement also happens and links us to the various singletrack and 4WD roads that comprise an all day ride.
Torture in the Ginger
How about a trail through dense ginger, deep mud, twisting tropical forest and along a one thousand foot cliff on a narrow singletrack that seems to be lathered with axle grease? It is definitely not for everyone. Actually it is not for 99.9% of the mountain biking public, but for the one tenth of a percent it is pure joy. For the majority it could be fatal. For some playing on this horrifying singletrack brings a wide smile and a sense of pride. If you have a death wish worse than Charlie Bronson, this ride is prime. The narrow singletrack takes you along an old irrigation canal that may be easier to ride in than the actual trail. Vegetation is so thick that you cannot see where the singletrack borders the deep canal. Mud is everywhere and at times will suck your wheel one foot under and stop you cold. Like I said, it ain't for everybody, but for some it is just what they are looking for.
Not much technical challenge, but a workout nonetheless. The road takes you across ranch land in North Kohala with the standard gorgeous pastoral views and cool climate associated with this area.
The beginning of this ride is gentle and easy but five miles into it the trail steepens and gets more and more physically challenging. A shuttle to the top of this trail presents you with a truly exciting downhill run, if you are of the freeride persuasion. Not much technical difficulty, but the ride has 4500 feet of vertical change. Water bars make great jumps on the way down.
A rare treat, but only for the most extreme mountain bikers. Mauna Kea's extreme altitude can be a problem, but the experience of getting to the top on a bike, playing on the snow (if it is there) and visiting the observatory are well worth the trip if you are into the extreme end of the sport. There is not much technical challenge here, but if you want a ton of elevation change, a bomber run on a gravel and pavement downhill from 13,000 feet, and views of the entire planet, then mention this ride as we prepare your private itinerary. Got to have a strong heart for this one! We can shuttle you to the top for a ripping ride back down, but be sure to take winter clothing.
The best dirt distance ride in Hawaii, Mana Road travels around Mauna Kea through Parker Ranch lands across rolling green pastures with incredible views of the most idyllic landscapes in all of the islands. The one way shuttled ride is 43 miles long, perfect for a four to six hour outing. The ride is also equally sensational as an out and back from Waimea. The terrain is rolling with a very few technical sections, but it never gets too rugged. Really fun. Truly beautiful.
If you want technical singletrack through tropical rain forest, or just a romp through the woods on 4WD roads, Kulani delivers. The area is accessed easily from Hilo, but requires a drive over Saddle Road from our accommodations in Waimea. Home to local races, Kulani Forest is frequented by quite a few local riders. You may want to visit this place twice during your stay; once at the beginning and once you have gained more skill on the wet roots and rocks of Hawaii's singletrack.
This technically moderate to very difficult ride has a great deal of variety and offers many opportunities for swimming, bombing on singletrack and a maze of 4WD, gravel and paved roads. This ride is perhaps our favorite one on the Big Island due to the many options for distance and technical challenge, as well as the ability to enjoy a secretive swimming hole or two. The ride can included stunning views of Waipio Valley, or, for the truly experienced and strong, a ride down into Waipio Valley itself.
This is a very challenging singletrack that is short but begs you to repeat its meager 1.5 mile distance over and over again, learning the ins and outs of wet root singletrack riding. It can be enjoyed along with a day on the Mud Lane options.
A very steep descent on a paved road leads to paradise. Rocky stream crossings and double track through lush vegetation can be enjoyed as an overnight in the valley or just a day spent exploring well into the backside of the steep valley walls. The beach is inviting as well, but somewhat dangerous for swimming. Surfing can be awesome down in Waipio, but carrying a board on a mountain bike down the switchbacks is pretty weird.
The scenery and historical significance of this area are spiced with moderately technical riding along Kohala's rocky coastline. Ancient Hawaiian structures stand above the deep blue waters of the channel between the Big Island and Maui. This ride is best when combined with others in North Kohala or with snorkeling in the more challenging waters of Hawaii's northwestern coast. This area is rarely visited during off season months of July and August, so it is prime during this time.
A maze of rugged, poorly maintained roads along the Puna Coast and inland present you with a variety of distance touring options that include excellent snorkeling in magical tide pools, waterfalls, a couple of boogie board beaches, a very difficult hike to the currently active volcano vent, seashore fishing, lava cliffs, black sand beaches, a farmers market on at a white sand beach, and interesting technical side spurs to explore. This is a great way to see the southern part of the island!
Great technical challenges spice up a tough climb. Scenery and wildlife are delicious in the Kapapala Forest Reserve. This ride is a good combo with surfing the black sand beaches of the south. Also a good break during a round-the-island car tour, but only for strong intermediates to expert riders. Can also be combined with riding in South Point.
4WD tracks at the southern most tip of the United States feature visits to a green sand beach and historic sites representing the earliest settlements of the Hawaiian Islands. Great for exploring in complete solitude! The water can be dangerous here, but during times of calm water this place can offer a great snorkel or two.
'Ainahou Ranch Road
This is a 5.5 mile ride over technical lava rock terrain can be combined with rides in Volcano National Park to complete a truly epic day of riding. 'Ainahou literally translates to "new land." If you utilize this road without a guide, please respect the native nene geese population that is endangered and quite sensitive to intrusion. If you spot geese on the ground, please avoid contact. Never spook the wildlife anywhere on the Big Island.
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