If you’re an active traveler, you’re going to love the Big Island of Hawaii. There are so many beautiful scenic spots to explore on the island. And one of the best ways to explore Hawaii is on a bike. Depending on which route you take, you might end up at a waterfall, on a gorgeous ocean cliff, in a jungle rainforest, or biking up a volcano. If that sounds like the perfect vacation to you, then check out these top spots to bike on the Big Island.
1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The first bike route we have to mention is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The gorgeous park goes from sea level to 13,677 feet above the water and covers two of the world’s most active volcanoes. The best part about biking through this park is that you can travel from one landscape to another. In a single bike ride, you can see volcanic craters, lava fields, and cool rainforests.
We recommend biking the “Escape Route to Mauna Ulu.” The route starts at the Thurston Lava Tubes and goes past rainforests and lava flows. Additionally, the majority of the bike route is high elevation, so you’ll stay relatively cool even on a hot day!
2. Honokaa to Waipio Valley
You can bike from Honokaa to Waipio Valley, going along Highway 240. The route is approximately 9.5 miles each way. Drivers in Hawaii are usually friendly and willing to share the road, so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
Honokaa is a small Hawaiian town with plenty of free parking, making it an excellent starting point. As you drive down the highway, you’ll pass views of lush Hawaiian forests and beautiful countryside. The ride ends at the famous Waipio Valley lookout. At the lookout, you can stand on the cliffs and see some of the best ocean views on the Big Island.
After turning around and making the bike ride back to your original stop, you can stop and have lunch or dinner in Honokaa. We recommend grabbing a meal at Gramma’s Kitchen, where the portions will definitely make up for all that biking you just did.
3. Captain Cook to Ocean View
Captain Cook to Ocean View is a challenging 35.6-mile bike route one-way. This route is best for advanced bikers as it’s quite winding and has about 20 miles of narrow to no-shoulder roads. However, if you’re experienced and fearless, it’s a beautiful route. You get to ride along ocean views for a large part of this route.
Similar to the above route, we recommend doing a loop and finishing at Captain Cook. That way you’ll be able to find restaurants and cafes to relax when you’re finished with the bike ride.
4. Kiholo Bay to Puako
The Kiholo Bay to Puako bike route is roughly 19-miles each way, going along Highway 270. The highway has few steep gradients so you can enjoy a fairly easy and smooth bike ride. The best part is that this bike ride takes you between two fantastic Hawaiin spots. Kiholo Bay is one of the best places to spot turtles on the Big Island. And Puako is a charming, small town that has great food, shopping, and is close to the beach.
This route can get quite hot during the day, so most bicyclists choose to tackle this route first thing in the morning.
5. Kohala Mountain Road
Kohala Mountain Road connects Kapa’au and Waimea. The distance is just under 23 miles each way and follows endless coastline views. If you start in Kohala, you’ll find yourself going up a bit of a hill for the first eight miles. We prefer starting off in Kohala and conquering the hill right away. This allows you to have a breezy downhill ride on the return trip from Waimea.
If you take your ride on a Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday, you can time it so you can catch the farmer’s markets in Waimea. Grab some amazing local produce or a fresh breakfast before returning to Kapa’au.
6. Kaloko Trails
The Kaloko Trails are a bit different than the other long-distance routes on this list. These trails are shorter, connecting together for only a distance of six miles. Bikers can explore the many trails of the forest reserve: Jurassic Trail, Hallway Trail, Perimeter Trail, Pig Skull Trail, and the Hao Street Trail.
Despite being short, these trails are great for mountain biking. Cyclists get to bike through the rocky up-and-down routes of the forest. The course is cool and refreshing, thanks to the shade provided by the trees.
Note that you can expect to see hikers and horses on these trails as you ride. Mountain bikers are expected to yield to everyone else and stop 30 feet from horses.
These are just six of many, many biking routes the Big Island has to offer. But, we must say, these five make the list for a reason. They all offer beautiful views and a refreshing ride that will leave you feeling great.