It is along the Big Island’s arid Kona Coast that, every October, elite athletes swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a full marathon to complete the world-famous Ironman Triathlon.

Chances are you’re not that ambitious. But the Kona Coast and nearby upland areas offers some not-to-be-missed spots if you’re inclined to see the countryside from the seat of a mountain bike. Quiet and at times rugged, this landscape offers scenery you will find nowhere else in Hawaii.

We recommend these routes:

  • “Pine Trees” (Wawaloli Beach Park, Kona): This coastal ride consists of two separate trails, totaling a little over six miles. Good for beginning to intermediate riders. Seven miles north of Kailua-Kona on Highway 19, turn into the entrance of the Natural Energy Lab and park at Wawaloli Beach.
  • ‘Upolu Point (Hawi): Six miles round trip, this dirt road eventually leads past both Mo’okini Heiau and the birthplace of Kamehameha I. Good for beginning to advanced riders. Take Highway 250 north from Waimea, turn left at Highway 270, turn right at the 20 marker post (also marked by the sign for ‘Upolu Airport). Park at the airport and follow the dirt road along the fenceline.
  • Mana Road (Saddle Road, Waimea): This dirt road winds through scenic pasture lands, about 40 miles one way. Suitable for beginning to advanced riders. Go east from Waimea on Highway 19; Mana Road is on the right side of the road, across from the 55-mile marker. NOTE: The elevation ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 feet; be prepared for possible extreme weather, hot or cold.