The 8 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Hawaii
Famously referred to as America’s paradise of sun, sand, and entertainment, Hawaii is an incredible destination for all things mountain biking. This spectacular State forever promises remarkable natural scenery, amazing weather, and a vast range of unique outdoor mountain biking trails just waiting to be navigated.
Hawaii’s warm tropical climate, natural scenery, oceanic surroundings, an abundance of public beaches, and many active volcanoes make it’s a famous destination for outdoor fanatics. And its vast number of unique, fascinating, and sometimes challenging trails makes it stand out among the enormous mountain biking crowd.
If you are new in Hawaii and stuck on which mountain biking trail to navigate, then you are in the right place. This piece will enlighten you on some of the most intriguing mountain biking trails in the State of Hawaii, with a brief depiction of each trail’s features and the views surrounding them.
Let’s get to it
1. Ohana Mountain Biking Trail
The Ohana mountain biking trail is an attractive singletrack system built by the International Mountain Biking Association, close to Kailua town on Oahu Island in Hawaii. This exciting, machine-built trail effortlessly flows on the even terrain. However, it also encompasses a number of roller-coasters like descents and challenging climbs.
The Ohana Trail singletrack course extends up to four miles and can be biked one way or as a section of the larger loop; the latter includes an additional 1.5 miles that connect the beginning and the finishing points. In most sections, the machine-built trail is fairly smooth, making it ideal for riders of all ability levels and ages. Throughout the trail, mountain bikers will encounter root sections and a few rock gardens, but these are slightly challenging.
Perhaps the most challenging section for beginners is over the few steep climbs along the track a—a perfect fitness testing section. Apart from the climbs, you will be thrilled by a series of descents on this breathtaking trail. Most riders opt to bike in a counter-clockwise direction in this section.
Mountain bikers are treated to some gorgeous views on the Ohana trail, including some rare-looking vegetation traversing the Hawaiian tropical nature. Most section of the ride is covered by a canopy formed by a vast number of trees. High points of the track provide some amazing sceneries of the sand and surf below.
2. Pupukea Mountain Biking Trail
Sitting in West Kauai’s neighborhood, the Pupukea mountain biking trail is one of the most maintained tracks in Hawaii. On the renowned North Shore of Oahu, this is an absolute hot spot for mountain biking. The residents have described it as a maze of a course and ideal for bikers with all skill levels. However, some of the sections are technical.
Boasting of 14 miles terrain and double the distance when ridden as a loop, the trail features a vast range of rapid downhills, open bowl areas, steady switchback climbs, and a multipurpose jeep road with roots, rocks, berms, and soft sand. For hours, mountain bikers can traverse the Pupukea Trail without getting bored as the tracks crisscross each other. Bikers have the liberty to choose from the vast array of trails, with each one offering an exhilarating and new experience.
According to IMBA, the technical rating of the Pupukea Mountain Biking Trail is intermediate. It is mostly parked during summer and weekends. The whole family, including kids, can enjoy the trail.
3. Kealia Trail
Situated close to Honolulu’s capital city, the Kealia mountain biking trail is a lengthy track and is categorized as moderate in both traffic and difficulty. The 21-mile loop is strategically located at the northwest corner of Oahu. It is one of the best due to the tricky difficulty it possesses across the entire Hawaiian archipelago.
Also referred to as the Peacock Loop, the Kealia mountain biking trail encompasses two courses: the aforementioned 21-mile technical course and a more comfortable 14-mile trail loop. The locals described the technical circle as physically-challenging and brutal and feature extended climbs grueling and steep. However, those who thrive and make it to the top are rewarded immediately with an ultra-fast descent that needs outstanding bike handling skills.
Mountain bikers can tackle a vast series of twisty and tight switchbacks as they traverse their way up the hill; on reaching the apex, they are rewarded with some spectacular scenery of Honolulu cityscape and the Oahu’s North Shore. Bikers are urged to strictly adhere to the safety rules and guidelines, such as following the right direction and wearing a helmet at all times.
Those wishing to explore this trail and test their skills as the Kealia Trail System are required to park their vehicles at the Dillingham Tower. It is an ideal place to start and finish the navigation, and it is much safe as it is patrolled regularly by airport police to prevent property crimes and theft.
4. Falls Trail
Situated near the small town of Laie, The Falls mountain biking trail is one of the most intriguing and entertaining courses on Oahu Island. The trail system is located on the renowned North Shore of the island and comprises 17 miles of well-ridden tracks. It is specially designed for all levels of mountain bikers, from novices to pros.
The main track at the Laie Falls Trail is roughly six miles in length. It is well-cleared, wide, and not overly challenging. However, the bikers may be required to negotiate some protruding roots and jutting rocks in some trail course sections. Whether going down or up, the narrow side of these trails provides a greater technicality than the main, more comprehensive trail.
Cross country mountain bikers will meticulously enjoy the heart-pounding ascent, which is very challenging, while free ride experts steadily turn out to tackle the trail course’s very fast, technical, and flowing descents.
It is a vast range of well-maintained bowls where mountain bikers can practice new tricks and skills and master more advanced expertise.
The only shortcoming of this mountain biking trail is that it has no vehicle path available for shuttling to the top, of course. Thus those aspiring to enjoy the majestic aerial sceneries of the Laie Falls must have to work for it. In terms of difficulty, this trail is rated as moderate. Mountain bikers are urged to cautious and careful as the trail used by pedestrians and runners.
5. Kulani Trail
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, just outside of the town of Hilo, the Kulani mountain biking trail is one of the premier destinations for bikers in the State. The forest in which it’s located is full of black lava rock, which makes it an amazingly challenging cross-country experience for mountain bikers.
The Kulani Mountain biking trail system is rated as an advanced and intermediate singletrack course. It’s technical and fast, necessitating mountain bikers to pay extra attention and care to the terrain beneath them. Roots, logs, wooden bridges, and rocks are, but a few of the obstructions bikers will need to negotiate as they cautiously make their way along the 10-mile course.
The Kulani Trail course is relatively unique as compared to other trails on the Big Island. There is minimal elevation gain on this trail, but the tracks have a twisty and tight design that offers more than enough challenging levels to keep the mountain biker entertained.
Laid out on black lava rock that is rough with more than its fair share of high spots and roots, the course features a few descents and quick climbs and some stunning views that represent the vast array of tropical forests in the State. This track gives you a chance to interact with nature and to forget about the busy city lifestyle.
Generally, the trails in Kulani are relatively short in distance. However, if you are not a regular mountain biker, you get yourself in a maze that is technical to navigate. On the bright side, the course is perfectly marked with signage that is colorful, and each track starts and ends at one of the various trailhead parking sections. Restrooms are also available.
6. Polipoli Springs Loop
Polipoli is a great loop that is medium-sized and is situated on the southwest slopes of Haleakala in Hawaii. A wide section of the trail is doubletracked and features a scenic view of the Manane Trail, an exciting part of the singletrack. The navigation begins at the small parking section at the top Boundary trail on Waipoli Rd at Rice Memorial Park.
In the mid-morning, the Polipoli Mountain biking trail loop is mostly covered in misty clouds; thus, you may opt to get out on time for clear skies and sun. The drive up on Waipoli Rd is long, narrow, and steep. However, it is worth the effort.
Starting from the Boundary trail access point, bike southwest along the Haleakala Ridge trail and Waipoli doubletrack is relatively flat with minimal mellow ups and downs. At the intersection, the trail sharply turns left and steadily climbs the three-way intersection. To access the Mamane, you should stay on the left side of the lane.
Proceed further to access the Skyline doubletrack, where there are grass slopes and low shrubs with lots of turns and whoops. The middle part of the Polipoli Springs Loop is challenging with some small drops and loose cobble. The tree cover also changes as you bike along, and you may get yourself biking through immense bushy pine trees.
This trail is managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Maui Mountain Bike Coalition.
7. Chuck Norris Loop
Situated around Kulima Golf Course, the Chuck Norris Mountain biking trail features elevated boardwalk bridges, tree tables, and coconut tree stumps. It is believed that when Chuck Norris was staying at the Turtle Bay Resort. He biked along this jungle area, and all the plantations moved out of the way as a result of extreme fear, and that’s how this trail was named.
From the resort, ride down the main road up to the only Stop sign. Turn left towards the Kahuku Trails Stop sign on the dirt trail proceeding to the ocean. Ride along the beachside up to the asphalt golf cart trail. Proceed with the path heading to the Turtle Bay Resort.
The Dominator Clubhouse track is the golf cart path’s starting point, and it is indicated with orange paint on two small trees. Using the main road, proceed further to the two immense shipping containers labeled as Turtle Bay.
Behind the containers begins the Boardwalk track. Proceed further to the Tree Tables to the dirt road across the concrete golf path. This trail gives you a chance to work out and evade cardiovascular diseases and obesity, among many other health benefits.
The Turtle Bay Resort manages the Chuck Norris Loop.
8. Manana Out and Back
Manana Out and Back mountain biking trail is a very technical but very attractive ride on Oahu’s southern side. The trail travels through a diverse and dense forest of eucalyptus, guava, and brush box, among many other species, to a knife-edge point that leads to the Ko’olau Range Summit.
Apart from some sections of hike-a-bike, the Manana out and back trail is technical. The second half of the track has minimal rideable sections, making the lower half the most exciting part of the trail. Bikers are required to be much keen and attentive as dogs and hunters also use the trail.
The Manana Out and Back trail begins on the doubletrack just near the gate and leads to the Komo Mai Dr., and gradually ascends through the dense forest with a number of short, steep climbs. The trail then narrows into challenging singletrack with numerous roots. This trail can be a bit perplexing around here due to the most worn part. However, it eventually joins back together.
Those who fancy challenging and extremely steep trails should consider exploring the Manana out and back trail and proceed up to the end of Ko’olau Range Summit. However, all those wishing to explore this trail are urged to be extra cautious and keen not to cause harm to themselves and those navigating the tracks.
This trail is managed by the Oahu Mountain Bike Ohana local club and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Mountain biking has gained much popularity in Hawaii due to its wide range of health benefits and recreational purposes. With a vast range of beautiful and breathtaking mountain biking trails, you can never get bored of this location. If you are a visitor in Hawaii and wondering about some of the trails to explore, the above-mentioned will be worth your time and energy.