Hawaii’s Best Cycling Trails
When most people think of Hawaii, they envisage pampering in a hotel spa or a relaxing day at the beach. While Hawaii is certainly home to sandy white beaches and clear waters, the islands are also home to some of the world’s most popular and picturesque cycling trails.
Mauna Loa, a volcano that makes up the entire southwest portion of the Big Island, is a top destination amongst both experienced and novice cyclists alike. The Mauna Loa trail is not overly steep or difficult and leads visitors on a 43-mile trip to the volcano’s summit.
Guests can also visit an observatory located at the top of the mountain. Mauna Kea is another dormant volcano that offers a slightly more advanced climb for anyone who is up to the challenge.
All of Hawaii’s mountainous trails are subject to unexpected rain and wind, so it’s a good idea to check the weather before heading out on your cycling excursion. You may want to bring warmer layers along for when temperatures start to drop at higher altitudes.
If you plan on cycling at night, make sure to use a light in order to increase your visibility. Traffic through the trails can get busy during tourist season, and a small light can help you to avoid hitting other cyclists or pedestrians.
A system of trails winding throughout Kalopa Native State Park and Recreational Area allows cyclists to see all of the wildlife that the reserve has to offer as they bike down steep terrain and through lush forests. You can find rare and exotic plant species that are native to Hawaii and have flourished in the area since the time of the island’s first Polynesian settlers.
The park frequently experiences heavy rainfall and cold weather, so it’s a good idea to dress accordingly. It can be easy to get lost in the thicker areas of the forest, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. You may want to bring a GPS tracking device to make sure you don’t lose your way.
The Ironman Course
The Ironman World Championship bike course is a challenging trail that will take you across the Big Island’s scenic Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to Hawi and back again. The Ironman Honu 70.3 route follows the northernmost half of the World Championship circuit.
Conditions along this trail are often warm and windy, so it’s best to go for a ride earlier in the morning. The weather doesn’t get hot until noontime, when the sun is at its peak, and wind often doesn’t pick up until later in the day. Disc wheels are not permitted on the Ironman course for this reason, as cyclists are at an increased risk of blowing across the road.