The Big Island is home to some incredibly scenic roadways (there’s a reason that world-famous races such as the Iron Man Championship are hosted here). The breathtaking scenery and near-perfect weather make it an ideal location for road bikers. Whether you prefer rolling hills, challenging climbs, or a ride through lush jungle landscape, there is a little something for everyone. Here is our list of the best bike trails near Kona.
Kailua-Kona to Hawi
If you’re an avid road biker, you’ll be all too familiar with the fifty-mile stretch of asphalt that spans from downtown Kailua-Kona to Hawi on the northern-most tip of the island. This is the place where world champions come to compete and earn the right to call themselves an Ironman finisher. Many people come during the off season and complete the stretch so they too can take in the scenery and experience this famous roadway. From December to March, you may be lucky enough to spot whales breaching off in the distance. Check out the route here.
Old Mamalahoa Highway
A favorite of Lance Armstrong, Old Mamalohoa Highway is a quiet, low-traffic road with some beautiful vistas. The rolling hills take you on a gentle climb to the beautiful Waipio Valley lookout that is one of the most scenic views on the Big Island, a view made all the more powerful when approached by bike. The round trip is about 41 miles making it a perfect day trip. Check out the trail here.
The Mauna Kea Climb
This next ride is not for the faint of heart. Summiting Mauna Kea by bike is one of the most challenging bike rides in the world. The 42-mile ride begins in Hilo and takes riders a grueling 13.879 miles above sea level to the summit of the dormant volcano. Bikers must be prepared to tackle the intensity of the elevation gain, rapidly-changing weather conditions, and a bit of traffic. Here is more detailed trip info.
Honaunau Jungle Ride
On the western side of the island, bikers can enjoy a shady ride through lush tropical forests that open up into beautiful, panoramic ocean views. Starting from Kailua-Kona, you’ll head south for a 47.41-mile loop that passes by two state parks. With Mauna Loa on one side and the Pacific on the other, this trip is a great way to tour the island and see a few of the lesser-known beaches that you’ll surely add to your list for a later visit.
In the heart of coffee country, Holualoa Town is the ideal destination for a day ride which culminates in a visit to this historic community. Hualalai Trail is a popular route, so be sure to arrive on a weekday or early in the morning so as not to encounter too much crowding. Here is more trip info for a suggested day trip.
If you’re new to the island or just visiting, you can rent demo bikes at several outfitters in Kona. We recommend Bike Works Kona or Kona Bike Rentals / Cycle Station for their reasonable rental packages and helpful, friendly advice about additional trip options. Have fun out there on the roads and remember to wear a lot of sunscreen!
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