City Escape: Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This entertaining, challenging, and supremely beautiful ride has Kahului, Maui’s largest city, as its axis. It features a short out-and-back on the island’s famed Road to Hana as well as a full loop around the beautiful West Maui region. Variety is the spice of life, and this mini-tour of Maui’s volcanic wonderland is as diverse as you will find. While riding temperatures are moderated by the ocean, you should expect and prepare for rain.

Length

Approximately 130 miles

Meetup Spot

Maui Coffee Roasters, 444 Hana Hwy, Kahului, Maui, HI 

Lunch Stop

Down the Hatch is an informal counter-serve seafood restaurant and bar. Its quaint courtyard setting is a nice, midride respite. Try the lava lava shrimp! Find it at 658 Front St #102, Lahaina, HI.

Scenery (5 out of 5)

The scenery is stunning. From waterfalls to rainforest canopies to expansive grasslands, this loop has beautiful surprises around each of its many turns. When you add the fact that the ride skirts the deep-blue waters of the Pacific for most of its length, you have the recipe for a sensory overload. 

Difficulty (4 out 5)

This is a diverse route, especially on the featured roads. The Hana Highway is replete with dozens of tight and often blind turns. A portion of the eastern stretch of the loop around West Maui narrows to one small lane, requiring vigilance, especially when approaching bridges. 

Road Conditions (3 out 5)

You will enjoy smooth, banked, and well-marked stretches of road that narrow to unmarked and often cracked tarmac. While this is entertaining, it requires a high level of rider awareness. Also, take the frequent “falling rocks” warnings seriously. There are some teetering mountainside sections with inconsistent guardrails. 

Points of Interest

1. Na‘ili‘ili Haele Stream & Waterfall
If you want to get off the bike for a beautiful but somewhat challenging hike, Na‘ili‘ili Haele is a nice option. You will get your boots wet and muddy, so alternative footwear is your best bet. For a shorter walk, just delve into the bamboo forest. www.tinyurl.com/nailiili

2. Garden of Eden Arboretum
The arboretum is a peaceful break on the sometimes frenetic Hana Highway. It is an expansive and beautiful property that features trails through some of Hawaii’s most spectacular flora. Admision: $ 15. www.mauigardenofeden.com

3. Historic Lahaina
This historic harbor town’s Front Street is lined with historic buildings, art galleries, and tantalizing restaurants. There is also a fantastic view of the harbor and the Pacific from the seaside walkway. www.tinyurl.com/lahaina-maui

4. Nakalele Blowhole
The Nakalele Blowhole or “blow-horn” is an intriguing stop on the northern stretch of West Maui. It is a short, semisteep walk to get to the blowhole, but it is well worth the jaunt. The ocean works its powerful magic as it pushes its salty brew through the eroded lava rocks. There is a heart-shaped hole in the black lava nearby that is another great photo opportunity. www.tinyurl.com/nakalele