I love this West Maui bike ride!!! My personal best time is 3:08, did it with a friend of mine Chris Mosk, who is also our Director of Sales at Boss Frog’s and also the head mechanic for our bike shop. Our Cannondale road bikes are great for this ride. He nearly killed me but I did break through a couple fitness barriers. Its great to do this ride anytime of year, however try to do it on a day when the winds are fairly tame. Leave early and be careful because the road can be a bit wet early in the morning and therefore a little slick. Like I said, just be mindful of the road conditions and you will be fine.
The beginning of your awesome bike ride
I usually leave from our Boss Frog’s location at 156 Lahainaluna rd and head North. Of course, being a loop, you can stop and start anywhere you would like to. Let me walk you through this bike ride starting from our bike shop. Head out to Highway 30 and turn left. This will get you heading in the right direction. About 10 minutes into the bike ride you will be pedaling past Kaanapali. Kaanapli with its resorts, which include the Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton, is a very popular golfing destination and there is also a really nice beach. Kaanapali Beach is great for the whole family. You can swim and snorkel or jump off Black Rock. As you head up the highway away from Kaanapali you may hit a bit of wind. Like I said earlier try to do this ride when the wind is down a bit, between 5 to 10 knots is not too bad. This is one reason you want to try and get going early. The wind tends to come up as the day progresses. You can check the wind conditions here (link). If it’s a bit windier, no worries it’s still a great bike ride.
Points of interest on the West Maui Loop
The next area of interest is Kapalua. Kapalua is know for its world class resort, The Kapalua Resort and The Ritz Carlton and its world class golfing. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions and also tournaments sponsored by Mercedes Benz have been and are held here. The highway climbs a bit in Kapalua. It’s a great warm up for what’s ahead, 4000ft total of climbing around the back side of Maui. As you swoop down the highway and end your travel on the 4 lane highway, the road will narrow to two lanes. This is a great roller coaster bike ride to our next point of interest, Honolua Bay, which is in the area of mile marker 32. It is one of the best surf breaks on the West Maui Loop bike ride and on the entire island. During the winter months professional surf contests are held here. It has one of the cleanest breaking right hand waves in the world. On what other bike rides do you go past something like this?
Continuing North about 1 mile down the road is a local surf break called Windmills. There is a bluff you can look over. There is a little turnoff on the left hand side of the road as you drop off the straight away right past Honolua. Do not get too close to the edge of the bluff as it is a sheer 200ft drop to the rocks below. Also at this point you need to be mindful on your descents of rocks that may have fallen on the road. The road can also be quite slippery so watch yourself in the turns. Windmills is in the area of mile marker 34.
Honokohau Bay, which is just past mile marker 35. You know when your at Honokohau Bay on your bike ride when you hit the infamous WALL. It is a very steep piece of road that climbs out of Honokohau Valley. There is not much of a run up to it either. This is a real leg burner. Keep a mild pace as there is still plenty of bike riding and climbing to do after the WALL. Honokohau Bay is also a great surfing spot in the winter months. It is more of a slow mushy wave, however, it has its moments. There is a right and left break. Be careful of the locals out here.
As you make your way out of Honokohau you will meander through Nakalele, which is where the Maui blowhole is. There is a cow pasture out towards the ocean and a small lighthouse. Nakalele and the blowhole are a great area to hike around. The blowhole is a neat spectacle as surging waves come up through the rock and cause a large spout of water. If the blowhole is active the day you hike to it, be careful as a large surge of water can actually knock you off your feet and drag you into the water. It has happened before. Check out this article Blowhole Accident. Lets move on. Sorry for the sad story however I thought you might want to know this type of information.
Kahakuloa Village, also the start of Highway 340 (don’t worry you can’t get lost at this point) will be your next point of interest. You will know your getting close as the road narrows into a one lane road as you enter the valley before the village on your bike ride. There is a banana bread stand there. If it is open its worth getting a small loaf. Kahakuloa is an old fishing village. As you will see they also farm Taro right off the side of the road. Do not wander off the main road however as you may be greeted by some less than happy locals. The climb out of Kahakuloa Valley is long but really nice. It’s a one lane road still you stay on the far right. It continues out through cow pastures and other fields. There are some really spectular views in this area so be sure to look up and take in the scenery. Remember you not racing; this is a scenic bike ride.
As you near the end of the back side of Maui you will past Camp Muluhia and Curly’s. The road will start a long ascent around this point. Again be careful of traffic. When you get to the bottom of the long ascent you will be in Waihee. Keep on the same route. Now, the only thing you need to know about navigating the West Maui loop is how to connect the loop in Wailuku. When you come into Wailuku on Kahekili hwy (the highway turns back into 30 in Waihee) it turns into North Market St. Turn Right on West Vineyard St and then Left on North High St. North High St turns back into Honoapiilani Hwy (State Hwy 30). Once you have navigated this section of road your home free.
Luckily at this point of most days the wind will be at your back and the highway is flat and then a long gradual ascent to Maalaea Bay. You can really fly in this section. The highway also has a nice wide shoulder so let it rip. Take it easy though because you still have 20 miles left. Just keep heading straight and do not turn at any of the traffic lights if you plan on returning to Lahaina, and of course Boss Frog’s Bike Shop. You will ride past Maalaea Bay where you will find the Quicksilver and the Malolo snorkeling boats. You will pass the Pali look out. Stop here is you like as its a great place for whale watching during whale season. Check out our Lahaina to the Pali bike ride.