Advanced Ride, 60 miles Total
I love this West Maui bike ride!!! My personal best time is 3:08. Cannondale road bikes from Boss Frog’s are great for this bicycle route. It’s 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 Resort area is a popular place to stay during a Maui vacation. There is a great shopping and dining at Whalers Village, top notch golf courses, excellent snorkeling at Black Rock and plenty of entertainment for the whole family. 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. 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 world renowned for golfing and luxury resorts. The annual Hyundai Tournament of Champions is held here. It is a very beautiful stretch of beach on Maui and one of the best places to snorkel and paddle board. 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? Honolua Bay is also an excellent snorkeling area when the waves diminish as it is a protected marine sanctuary with crystal clear waters.
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 is just past mile marker 35. You know when you’re at Honokohau Bay on your bike ride by 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, making it a real leg burner. Keep a mild pace as there is still plenty of bike riding and climbing to do after the WALL.
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 Maui hiking area. 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‘ if you don’t believe me.
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 you’re 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 one of the best banana bread stands on Maui there, which makes the ride well worth it in itself! 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 as you may be greeted by some less than happy locals. The climb out of Kahakuloa Valley is long but really nice. It is a one lane road still, stay on the far right. The road continues out through cow pastures and other fields. There are some really spectacular 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. This area is lush and green with gorgeous coastal views. 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, you’re basically home free.
Luckily at this point of most days, the wind will be at your back. The highway is flat, followed by 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! Really, you want to conserve energy 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 then pass the Pali look out. Stop here if you like as it is a great place for whale watching from November through May.
The final point of interest will be the area of Olowalu. This is a very special place, with a ton of Hawaiian historical significance. There is a short trail to view petroglyphs, a very popular fruit stand and some of the best pies on Maui at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop. The road is enclosed by a canopy of Monkeypod trees, after which it opens up to a series of surf breaks and the Launiupoko Beach Park. You can either take the old, lower road at this point which will require crossing the highway but offer flat terrain, or you can follow the Lahaina bypass up the hill. If you take the bypass, be sure to track back to the oceanside route at Lahainaluna Rd or turn left when you end up at Front Street, to get back to Boss Frog’s Bike Shop.
Other bike rides to try on Maui include the XTERRA route on the Kapalua Village Trails and mountain biking in Makawao Forrest Reserve.
Want to rent a bike for your Maui by bicycle adventures? Boss Frog’s Bike Rentals offers a variety of well maintained, high quality bicycles to suit your level of experience. They also offer expert advice on where to bike on Maui, safety tips and excellent customer service! See you soon!