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Biking on Maui

With all of the beaches, surfing, snorkeling, diving, kitesurfing, and paddling, Maui isn’t a place that’s generally known for land recreation.

The truth, however, is that biking on Maui is better than most people expect—and a pleasant surprise for visiting cyclists who want to explore on two wheels.

The most famous ride on Maui, of course, is biking down Haleakalā, where visitors can ride over 6,000 feet down the slopes of the dormant volcano. Many of these tours are combined with watching the sunrise at Haleakalā Crater, and finish by biking all the way down to the beach at Pā‘ia Bay. Along the 25-mile route, cyclists pass through pastoral scenes of farmland, ranches, and forests, and usually stop in the historic town of Makawao for breakfast.
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There once was a time when tours would begin from the mountain’s 10,000-foot summit, but due to liability concerns inside of the National Park, tours now start outside the park around 6,800 feet. That being said, it’s still possible for independent cyclists to ride down all the way from the top as long as you provide your own transportation and bring along your own bike. It’s only commercial operators who can no longer bike from the top. So, if you visit a local bike shop and rent one for 24 hours—and then sweet talk one of your family members into giving you a ride to the top—it’s still possible to bike 10,000 feet down a dormant volcano on Maui.

Aside from biking down Haleakalā, other popular road cycling routes include circling the West Maui Mountains and riding along the 620 curves on the famous road to Hāna. On weekend mornings, groups of local cyclists gather to ride past Ulupalakua Ranch, starting from Kula and then biking back for coffee at Grandma’s Coffee House.

For visitors interested in mountain biking on Maui, the team at Krank Cycles cut seven different trails in the trees of the Makawao Forest Reserve, which offer everything from technical single track to quad-burning climbs and a skills park. Surrounded by the scent of eucalyptus and pine, riders can get their heart rate up with a 30-minute climb up the mountain before dropping down over 1,300 feet on the fast and well-groomed trails.

If it’s been raining too much in Makawao, there’s an entire network of mountain biking trails in the Kula Forest Reserve, which range from hunting roads to steep single tracks and trails through towering redwoods. The air is cool here at 6,000 feet, and by riding all the way up the switchbacks of rutted Skyline Drive, it’s even possible to mountain bike all the way to Haleakala’s summit.

biking on Maui

Photo: horspowr1001.

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